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May 2009 Issue

May 2009 Issue

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  • 1. EDITORIALPrudence Needed in Promoting the RMB Published by China Newsweek Corporation Publisher: Liu BeixianO Executive Directors: n April 8, China’s State Council an- Of course, a country’s status in international Liu Beixian, Xu Zhongmin, Chok Jianming nounced a series of pilot projects to eco-politics, whether it is has an advantage or Editor-in-chief: Peng Weixiang use the Renminbi (yuan) in overseas disadvantage, can be linked to its currency’s inter- trade transactions within five coastal national status and its role in international trade in Editorial Office Chief Editor: Liu Wanyuancities – Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shezhen, Zhuhai particular. Throughout history, all large economic Advisor: Liu Dizhongand Dongguan. The announcement came on the powers have, without exception, tried to make Senior Editor: Yang Yi Copy Editors: Stephen George, Chris Gauthierheels of the debate over a super-sovereign reserve their currencies strong international currencies Editors: Shao Xinfang, Wang Yan,currency and the re-establishment of Special in order to obtain advantages in world trade and Yu Xiaodong, Chen DongyiDrawing Rights (SDRs) at the recent G-20 sum- finance, while those countries enjoying this status First Reader: Gareth George Address: 5th Floor, 12 Baiwanzhuang Southmit in London. would not want to relinquish it. Street, Xi Cheng District, Beijing, China As the US monetary authorities continue to At the same time, it is the international com- PO Box: 100037issue vast sums of money, the devaluation of the munity instead of a single nation that has the final Tel: 86-10-88395566 Fax: 86-10-88388045US dollar has become an increasingly likely pos- say in selecting a nation’s currency as an interna- Email: readers@newschinamag.comsibility. With this in mind, China’s new project tional currency. http://www.newschinamag.comto settle overseas trade transactions in yuan is A retrospective view of world economic history Art Departmentobviously aimed at steering clear of further for- reveals that nations must first become a manu- Chief Art Designer: Fa Maneign exchange risks while maintaining its current facturing power, then a trading power, before Advisor: Wang Minlevel of foreign trade. finally becoming a monetary power. Given this Photo Director: Zuo Weiwei Art Director: Xu Jie These pilot projects, to a certain extent, reflect model, it seems that strong productivity, leading Photo Editor: Chen JundanChina’s intention to expand the yuan in foreign to a trade surplus and a strong currency, are the Art Editors: Li Li, Tian Haotrade. This idea, however, is not a new one. Pilot only way to ensure a nation’s favorable status in Assistant Art Editors: Li Hui, Gao Ying, Liu Jieprojects were initiated last year in several over- world trade. Marketing Officeland ports in order to promote trade with bor- In view of this, China needs to first reinforce China Newsweek Corporation President : Peng Weixiangdering regions. This latest move signals China’s its economy by increasing its involvement in the Chief Executive : Fred Tengongoing intention to establish the yuan as a lead- world economy. At present, heated discussions on Tel: 1-212-481-2510ing regional currency. new international reserve currencies reflect the Fax: 1-212-481-2503 Address: Suite 801, 15 East 40th Street, New York, In this sense, the launch of the pilot projects declining position of the US dollar and people’s NY 10016, USAmarks the first step in positioning the Renminbi resentment over its deliberately created excessive Email: readers@newschinamag.comas an international currency. But, the path to full- liquidity. Yet in spite of this, the US dollar’s cur- Vancouver Officefledge international exchange of the yuan is long rent position as the primary international reserve Director: Lu Zhenyaand full of pitfalls. currency remains unlikely to be toppled within Address: 6326 Vivian St., Vancouver V5S 2S7, Canada For now, it is more practical for the yuan to the immediate future. Tel: 1-604-435-5180become a major currency in regional trade. Only This, however, has not stopped discussions over Fax: 1-604-435-5140after fulfilling this immediate objective can the both a super-sovereign currency and a new com- Email: canada@newschinamag.comyuan begin its move into more international bination of several powerful currencies as possible Marketing Director for China: Song Wenshengmarkets. First, the yuan must make the transi- alternatives to the dollar. Whether or not either Tel: 86-10-88395566 ext 195 Marketing Promoter for the USA: Deng Yuetion from being used in regional trade settlements of these currencies will ever fully materialize, Tel: 1-212-481-2510to international trade settlements. Then it must depends largely on the rise and fall of the world’sbecome a regional investment currency before major economies. New York Office: Jing Xiaolin Washington Office: Qiu Jiangbobecoming a regional reserve currency. Once these As a manufacturing and trading power in a Los Angles Office: Zhang Weistaged goals are completed, the yuan can then transitional stage, China needs to rely more on London Office: Li Pengmove on to become an international investment technology and science, rather than on labor to Tokyo Office: Zhu Yanhua Sydney Office: Wang Jinchangcurrency, before finally becoming a major interna- boost productivity. Paris Office: Wu Weizhongtional reserve currency. It is through interactions with other national Bangkok Office: Gu Shihong Pending this process, the country needs to currencies that a nation’s financial power rises or Kuala Lumpur Office: Zhao Shengyu Moscow Office: Tian Bingopen the capital account of Renminbi and set falls. If China is intent on breaking away from thisup a number of international as well as regional system and overeager to see immediate results, it Legal Advisor: Allen Wumonetary hubs, paving the way for Renminbi to would end up being trapped in the snares of “mon- ISSN 1943-1902become an international currency. etary nationalism.”2 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 2. CONTENTS The Revival of the Flying Tigers Due to political reasons, the Flying Tigers’ story had been buried in China for several decades. It was not until recently that their contributions to history gained notice, and efforts to preserve Flying Tigers historical sites and relics have begun. EDITORIAL SPECIAL REPORT 60 Yan Geling: Songs of Myself 02 Prudence Needed in Promoting the RMB 34 Who Should be Sent to Psychiatric Hospitals? A Journey inside the System / China’s Mental Health DOCUMENTARY TOP EVENT System: In Search of a Cure / The Argument For and 62 A Deadlock in Territorial Negotiations 10 The DPRK: A Calculated Crisis Against Involuntary Hospitalization OLUMN C COVER STORY ECONOMY 64 The Foreign Exchange Reserve Hallucination 12 The Revival of the Flying Tigers 42 China, a Safe Haven? 65 Public’s Approval Crucial in Imposing Traffic A Late Salute / A Lasting Bond with China / 44 Investment Opportunities and Challenges Restrictions My Country, My Destiny / A Piece of History in China that did not Come Easy TRAVEL international 66 The Hulunbeier Grassland: POLITICS 46 The Committee of 100: In Search of the Ancient Lele Cart 24 Questioning the 480-Billion-Yuan Defense Our Greatest Value is that We Exist Budget 50 North Korea’s Rocket and Japan’s Drama ESSAY 26 China’s Aircraft Carrier: One Step Closer 68 A Radical Remedy / ’Just Go To IKEA’ 28 Unhappy China: Nationalism Magnified VISUAL REPORT through the Media’s Lens 52 I Want to Survive 04 MEDIA FOCUS SOCIETY ULTURE C 06 NEWS BRIEF 30 Dashed Dreams of Migrant Laborers 58 High Speed Hao - Chinese Cinema’s Fastest 69 HOT PICKS New Thrill 72 ENTERTAINMENT9 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 3
  • 3. MEDIA FOCUS Nanfang People News China (Chinese Edition) April 13, 2009 Southern Weekly Weekly April 2, 2009March 20, 2009 Light Punishment for Severe Crimes being Rectified‘Super’ Old Men Questions often arise in China when convicted gov- ernmental officials are not duly sentenced. Legal Daily newspaper disclosed that 95.6 percent of the people who are convicted of derelic- tion of duty are either not Manner of Medical Reform Settled punished to the full extent of the Criminal Law or end up China’s long-expected reform of the health care system was an- with suspended sentences. nounced on April 6, which stipulated that basic health care is a On March 19, the Supreme “public service,” and the government should strengthen its role in People’s Court of China “formulating polices and plans, raising funds, providing service and and the Supreme People’s supervision” in order to ensure fairness and equality of the service. Procuratorate of China Meanwhile, market elements also have a particular role in the plan, jointly released a judicialA group of four influ- since China has achieved significant progress in market reform. An interpretation of key terms,ential Chinese singers additional 850 billion yuan (US$124 billion) from the government such as “turning oneself in”based in Taiwan – Lo will be invested to carry on the reforms in 2009-2011. But a lot of and “successfully confessingTayu, Jonathan Lee, people are still waiting to see more detailed policies and plans, espe- crimes and related activities,”Chow Wah Kin and cially regarding the impact that the market will have on how other used in verdicts that allowChang Chen Yueh – last social elements will contribute to the health care plan. corrupt officials to get awayyear formed a “Super with softer penalties. WithBand,” and they cer- the judicial interpretation,tainly lived up to their Global People April 15, 2009 it is expected that guilty of-title. The musicians ficials will find fewer ways tohave issued 70 releases escape severe punishment.and about 600 piecesand have held over 350concerts so far. Starting Oriental OutlookMarch 7, Super Bandkicked off a concert tour March 31, 2009with stops in Taipei, No Cotton in theHong Kong, Beijing, Reserve Centerand Shanghai. Super Senior Officials inthey may be, but young Their 40s There is nearly no cotton leftthey are not (except in three State cotton reserveChang, who’s in his A total of five Chinese officials in their 40s have been promoted to centers (Tieli, Shangzhi30s). Their concerts have minister or provincial-governor level: Zhou Qiang, appointed Gov- and Wuchang) in northeastattracted huge audiences ernor of Hunan at 47; Hu Chunhua, 45, Governor of Hubei; Sun China’s Heilongjiang prov-throughout China, and Zhengcai, 43, Minister of Agriculture; Nur Bekri, 46, President of ince. Since 2003, the threethey’ve become darlings the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region; Lu Hao, 41, First Sec- reserves have not receivedof the music industry. retary of Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist new stocks, although theyPart of their appeal is Youth League of China. They are regarded as valuable political as- have continued to incurthe fact that Super Band sets born in the 1960s, as they are young compared to most senior operating costs of 3 millionmight be a short-lived officials in China and also received complete higher education. In yuan (US$439,000) per year.endeavor. Insiders say addition, these younger senior officials have all had experience at The issue has raised ques-the group will disband different political posts. They have not, however, left particularly tions concerning the need towithin the year. outstanding impressions on the general public, which might have maintain the cotton reserves something to do with their age. centers.4 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 4. MEDIA FOCUS Sanlian Lifeweek New Weekly April 1, 2009 Caijing Magazine Magazine March 30, 2009 April 6, 2009 Learning From the Coca Europe: Next Stop for Cola-Huiyuan Case China’s Auto Exports China’s Brilliance Auto sold 800 automobiles in Germany in 2008. While poor from a quantitative perspective, it signified, at least, that Bril- liance has gained a foothold in Credit is the Best ID the German market. Brilliance has projected that it would sell In the past, a person was often judged by factors such as family 6,000 units in Germany this background, education and wealth. But nowadays, that stand- year, partly because there is an ard of judgment seems to be shifting to a person’s credit. While appetite for small-sized autos in some critics have deemed that China’s fledgling credit sector is Germany. In addition, the auto mired in problems such as unsound economic regulations, moral producer will further expand absence, and the cheap cost of defaulting, there is a strong push its market to Spain, Italy and to build a vibrant credit system. In light of the global economic Coca Cola’s attempt to ac- France. Following Brilliance, crisis, “confidence is more valuable than gold,” according to quire Chinese juice brand other Chinese brands like Premier Wen Jiabao. And confidence can only be built upon a Huiyuan was rejected by Great Wall, Huatai and Cherry strong basis of government credit, corporate credit, and finally, China’s Ministry of Com- all have their sights set on the personal credit. merce (MOC), resulting European market, rather than in a wide range of argu- only on emerging markets. ments around the world regarding legality of the Southern Metropolis Weekly March 30, 2009 decision. Did it represent International Herald Leader trade protectionism and April 10, 2009 local brand protection? As the MOC tried to defend Different Think Tanks in itself, its explanations Different Places did not seem compelling While the US has more than enough to answer all the 1,000 think tanks, China questions. How could only has 74, according to the MOC prove some James McGann, a professor of the accusations that it at the University of Penn- From ‘Slumdog’ to made against Coca Cola sylvania, who tracks think Millionaire regarding its potential use tanks worldwide. Recent of bundle-selling tactics? years have seen more non- Like other parts of the world, there are poor people in China The Anti-Monopoly Law government-backed think seeking the key to wealth. But it is far from reality to believe that is a new law in China and tanks emerge in China. Due wealth can only be attained through the lottery or on TV game the Coca Cola-Huiyuan to different political struc- shows like in the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.” Once, not too case is the first one to be tures between China and the long ago, some people earned their millions through a determined tested by the law, which is US, think tanks in China pursuit of wealth. Cao Dewang is such a person. The current why some people accepted might not be as diverse as in Chairman of Fuyao Group in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, which the MOC’s ruling. Mean- US in the near future, yet specializes in producing automotive safety glass and industry-use while, it is certain that they could learn from their glass, was just a poor cowboy with little education before he started China needs to learn how US peers in such aspects as working at the glass production company in 1976. But through to improve the application management and operation, hard work, determination, wisdom and a favorable market during of the law through dealing in order to improve their the 1980s, Cao became the head of his company. He says he would with such cases. financial management and like to leave more than just money to his son, he wants to impart public relations. his wisdom, too.9 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 5
  • 5. NEWS BRIEF Sino-US Relationship First Meeting between Hu and Obama C hinese President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama had their first meeting on April 2 prior to the G20 Summit in London. During the meeting, the two leaders pledged that both countries would work together to help combat the ongoing global financial crisis. Obama also accepted “with pleasure” an invitation to visit China in the second half of the year. With the meeting, relations between the two countries, described by some as the G2, appear to have got off to a good start. The countries have agreed to prioritize their relations by establishing a new strategic economic dialogue and Xinhua Photo strengthening ties at all levels.ASEAN Summit December 2008, despite strong protests after the Big Dipper Constellation. Made from China. In February, a Chinese busi- up of 4 satellites, it is experimental and hasPremier Wen Back Home after ness delegation, while on a trip to Europe, limited coverage and application.ASEAN Summit Postponed avoided France before signing US$15 bil- lion deals with other European countries. CEO Pay CurbChinese Premier Wen Jiabao returned Premier Wen Jiabao’s European trip earlierto Beijing on April 11 after the ASEAN that month also excluded France. In an CEO Pay Cuts, the Chinese Versionsummit was postponed due to Thailand’s official statement issued by France on thecurrent political situation. According to same day as the meeting between the two China has ordered pay cuts for executives atChinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Wen heads, France reiterated “the importance State-owned banks and other finance insti-had planned to make a three-point proposal and sensitivity of the Tibet issue” while tutions as public anger grows over their highat the summit for joint efforts to tackle the declaring its refusal to support any form salaries during the global economic crises.financial crisis and promote cooperation of Tibetan independence. The statement, The Ministry of Finance said in a statementamong East Asian nations. The plans would marking an apparent shift in France’s posi- released on its website on April 7 that lasthave included a China-ASEAN investment tion, was followed by confirmation from year’s pre-tax income for top executives, in-cooperation fund totaling US$10 billion, China’s Ministry of Commerce that China cluding salaries, bonuses and benefits, must270 million yuan (US$39.7 million) in spe- is initiating plans to send a trade and in- not exceed 90 percent of their earnings incial aid to Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, vestment team to France. 2007. The official China Securities Journaland 300,000 tons of rice for the emergency reported earlier that top executives at listedEast Asia rice reserve. According to previ- Satellite Launch financial institutions, earned an average an-ous plans, after the summit, China had nual salary of 604,600 yuan (US$89,000)intended to sign an investment agreement, China’s COMPASS Navigation Satel- for 2008, the highest among all industriesmarking the end of negotiations on the lite Launched and far more than ordinary workers. Mafree trade zone, which, according to Yang, Mingzhe, chairman of China’s Ping Anif established, would have a significant and On April 15, China launched its second Insurance Group, one of China’s highestfar-reaching impact on the promotion of COMPASS or Beidou-2 navigation satel- paid executives with earnings of 66.2 mil-cooperation among East Asian nations. The lite on a Long March-3III carrier rocket lion yuan (US$9.7 million), has given up hissummit will resume in August. at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in 2008 salary following the firm’s disastrous Sichuan Province. It is part of an effort to overseas investment.China-France Relationship establish the country’s independent global satellite navigation system, China’s coun- Antarctic ExplorationBeijing and Paris Back on Track terpart to the current US Global Position- ing System (GPS). Reports have suggested China’s First Antarctic Inland StationChinese President Hu Jintao met with that China plans to complete the system EstablishedFrench President Nicolas Sarkozy, on the by launching up to 30 more orbiters beforesidelines of the G20 Summit in London on 2015, with a further 10 navigation satellites Chinese scientists who returned from theirApril 1. Sino-French relations soured after in 2009 and 2010. China’s current naviga- 25th expedition to the South Pole on AprilSarkozy met the Dalai Lama in Poland in tion system is the Beidou-1 system named 10 have confirmed that China has estab-6 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 6. NEWS BRIEF lished its first inland Antarctic research sta- Star’s Comeback tion “Kunlun” on Dome A, the highest ice cap on the Antarctic at an altitude of 4,093 Liu Xiang to Get Back on Track in meters. “No scientist, from any country, September has set foot on Dome A, except us,” said Li Yuansheng, the head of the newly estab- Liu Xiang, former world-record holder lished research station. The Kunlun station, and Olympic gold medalist in the men’s with the capacity to host 20-25 persons, 110 meter hurdles, is set to compete for will allow scientists to conduct research the first time after recovering from sur- on astronomy, geology and global climate gery on his ankle. Liu, a national idol, change, important components of the In- upset a lot of his Chinese fans when he ternational Polar Year program. Kunlun is was forced to pull out of the Beijing Ol- the third Chinese research station on the ympics at the last minute due to injury. South Pole after Changcheng (Great Wall) IC Photo Liu later underwent three-months of and Zhongshan. treatment in the United States. Face of the Month Rong Zhijian: Fall of the ‘Red Capitalist’ Family R ong Zhijian (called Larry Yung Chi-kin in Hong Kong), chair- man of the CITIC Pacific, a Hong Kong-based investment house, was forced to resign on April 3 in the face of a police investigation. The company lost US$2.5 billion last year on a bungled attempt to hedge movements against the Australian dollar. The CITIC Pacific board became aware of the losses on September 7, but only disclosed it on October 20, which alerted the Hong Kong’s Commer- cial Crime Bureau. The rise of the Rong family can be traced back to his grandfather, Rong Desheng, who became one of the country’s richest men in 1930s. Rong’s elder son, Rong Yiren, took a leading role in supporting nationalization after the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949 and donated much of his property to the State. He was selected as the vice-mayor of Shanghai (1957 -1959) and later served as vice- president of China (1993 -1997), leading many to refer to the Rong family as “red capitalists.” Rong Zhijian, Rong Yiren’s son, born in 1942, moved to Hong Kong in 1967 whereup- on he founded CITIC Pacific in 1990, which turned out to be a great success. In 2007, Rong Zhijian was listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the wealthiest people in mainland China with a personal net worth of US$2.2 billion. After his resignation, Rong still remains a board member of CITIC Pacific. But with his daughter Frances and son Carl both departing the company earlier, the once mighty Rong Xinhua Photo family dynasty appears to be in decline.9 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 7
  • 7. NEWS BRIEFWhat They Say“My father always said that his primary wish was to go back to his nativeZhangzhou, Fujian Province, to pay homage to his ancestors. I have been living in the Chinese mainland for 30 years and my desire to go back to Taiwan is as strong as my father’s.” - World Bank Vice President Justin Yifu Lin, who was born in Taiwan and made his way to the Chinese mainland from Kinmen Island in 1979 by swimming across the strait, expressed his wish to go back to Taiwan to pay respect to his late parents. Taiwan authorities have yet to grant him AFP PHOTO permission to visit Taiwan.“Is there a cheaper tomb site!?”- Ms. Li, a Beijing resident, is stunned after discovering the price of a tomb site. (In recent years,tomb sites prices have skyrocketed in big cities like Beijing)“We can’t find a place to buy newspapers.”- A local villager from Xichen Village of Henan Province reveals the weakening demand for newsmedia in rural areas.“Why is it normal for Li Ka-shing to sell his company, but abnormal forme to sell mine?”- Zhu Xinli, chairman of Huiyuan Juice Group, talks about the rejection of Coca Cola’s purchase ofHuiyuan by the Ministry of Commerce.“Look at the piles of deserted furniture, paper, cans, packages… We cansee that environmental damage is caused by normal daily lives. Environ-mental protection is humanity’s most important project. It is not merelythe purification of the earth or the recycling of resources, but is the puri-fication of human souls as well.”- Master Cheng Yen, founder of Taiwan Tzu Chi Foundation, puts forward the idea that the “green-house effect is a heart-house effect” during a recent speech at the Taipei session of the SecondWorld Buddhist Forum.“A person’s life is like the flight of a plane. Onlya faultless landing rounds off the journey per-fectly. It is the same in our careers as perform-ing artists.”- Jacky Tsung-hsien Wu, a well-known performing artist from Tai-wan talks about his decision to quit the entertainment industry. Cns photo“The only-child generation is hard to teach, why have we allowed futuregenerations to turn into this mess?”- Ji Baocheng, the President of Renmin University of China criticizes China’s current family plan-ning system.“Whenever I do charity, I let the world know the very next day. ”- Chen Guangbiao, China’s “most famous philanthropist” explains that by publicizing his charity workhe can encourage more people to take part .8 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 8. TOP EVENT The DPRK: A Calculated Crisis By Zhang LianguiF uture scholars of international bate. Although the de- It appears that the politics will be drawn to the his- tails of the arguments The Democratic People’s Republic diplomats have forgot- tory of April 2009, when relevant are still unknown, we o f K orea made a provocative ten that the DPRK has parties presented their responses can tell from public announcement on April 14 saying never taken sanctionto the missile/satellite lunch by the Demo- comments made by resolutions seriously.cratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). relevant parties that that it will permanently withdraw The DPRK has alwaysThis incident provided a valuable case study the arguments focused f rom the six-party talks, restart its followed its own trackin international politics. on three questions: nuclear reactor and speed up its and neither sanction The international community had The first question is nuclear weapons development. resolution nor eco-speculated as early as February 2009 that what was it exactly that nomic compensationthe DPRK would test-fire its ballistic mis- the DPRK launched? has had any substantialsile, the Taepodong-2, but the DPRK Was it a satellite or a impact on its nuclearannounced that it would launch a satel- missile? Under current plans, whether theylite instead. On April 5, the DPRK made circumstances, the answer to this question were within the frame of six-party talks orthe launch as promised, while the US and cannot be obtained. Though diplomats not. The DPRK, with its nuclear tests andJapan monitored from various locations. from different countries have held onto missile launches, has never shown concernAt one point before the launch, Japan had their respective positions, none of them for “the security and stability of East Asia.”threatened to intercept the rocket, but it have been able to provide concrete evidenceeventually backed down. to answer this question. A Slap in the Face After the launch, the DPRK immediately The second question is whether theannounced that it had used its “Galaxy 2” launch was in contravention with Security Some Americans believe that the DPRK’srocket to send the “Kwangmyongsong-II” Council Resolution 1718 or any other inter- potential nuclear weapons will not posesatellite into orbit, and that the satellite was national laws? Unfortunately, this question serious threats to the US until North Koreabroadcasting revolutionare songs in space. is pointless without the first question being possess the technology to produce long-But the US, the UK, Russia and the Inter- answered. range missiles. The Chinese and Russians,national Telecommunication Union (ITU), The third and final question is whether on the other hand, believe that the DPRK’sall better equipped, never located the satel- a new resolution of sanctions should be nuclear ambitions are targeted at the US,lite in orbit, which led them to claim that passed. The parties supporting sanctions and use this belief as leverage. As a result,the rocket failed. The launch, they said, argue that by manifesting the international the North Korea nuclear issue has lasted forviolated UN Security Council Resolution society’s determination against nuclear a long time, and none of the major powers1718. In an emergency session, the UN proliferation, new sanctions will pressure have set a concrete bottom-line in terms ofSecurity Council debated a response. In and warn the DPRK and deter it from time or ultimatums, nor have they takenreturn, the DPRK threatened to withdraw further missile launches and nuclear tests. any serious and effective actions to preventfrom the six-party talks if negative actions On the contrary, those who opposed said the DPRK’s nuclear proliferation. Onlywere taken against it. that a new resolution will anger the DPRK Japan and South Korea, under the govern- In the UN Security Council, diplomats and jeopardize the six-party talks, therefore ment of Lee Myung Bak, have realized thefrom the five permanent members plus Ja- posing a threat to the peace and security of severity of this issue, and have made neu-pan entered into 10 days of contentious de- East Asia. tralization of North Korea’s nuclear weapon10 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 9. TOP EVENT a top priority. between the North Koreans and the Ameri- party talks have “lost the meaning of their In the meantime, the DPRK has taken cans directly. To the DPRK, the other par- existence.” However, should the DPRK advantages of the powers’ disagreements ties are all third parties. Only after Saddam need another 1 million tons of heavy oil, it to buy time and move forward its nuclear Hussein’s regime was overthrown by the would no doubt be happy to return to the plan. US, did the DPRK, in fear of becoming six-party talks. The same scenario has once again repeat- the next target, reluctantly agree to attend a In reality, North Korea’s boycott of the ed itself. While the Security Council de- multi-lateral talk that the US has insisted. six-party talks and its efforts to strengthen bates, North Korea has already prepared its Many people have since forgotten that its “nuclear deterrence” are not unnotice- next move. On April 13, the powers finally in the wake of the first meeting of the six- able. After its nuclear test in Oct. 2006, in reached a consensus after compromises, and party talks in August 2003, North Korea face of a possible strike, the DPRK managed the Security Council adopted a cautiously openly said that the six-party talks were to prevent Resolution 1718 including clauses worded “presidential statement.” However, more harmful than beneficial. Even in the of “use of force.” It later returned to the six before the diplomats could celebrate their meetings that followed, it insisted on a dual party talks, which generated two joint docu- hard work, the DPRK released a provoca- approach, whereby key issues be determined ments with limited compromises from the tive statement, condemning the Security by bilateral negotiation between the DPRK DPRK. In the meantime, the DPRK has Council’s statement and declaring that it and the US, and six parties ratify the final won more than two years in time and much would permanently withdraw from the six- agreement. more in materialistic benefits. Now, with party talks, as well as restore its disabled When the idea was later raised that the the possibility of a surgical strike from the nuclear facilities and speed up its nuclear agenda of the talks should not be limited to US seemingly removed, it can once again weapon programs. It is a slap in the face of the nuclear crisis alone, but that the talks proceed with its nuclear objective. all parties, and it is a hard one. should also provide “a package solution” to The DPRK’s nuclear plan has two objec- all relevant issues in the Korean Peninsula, tives: the adaptation of nuclear weapons to The Fate of the Six-Party Talks North Korea got its first opportunity to fit on warheads and improving its capability subvert the process. It set up two objec- in nuclear power projection. The six party Following the DPRK’s statement, the media tives as the six-party talks proceeded: first, talks, along with its agreements are obsta- and scholars alike started to talk about the it planned to use delays to pursue nuclear cles of the two objectives. Taking the criti- fate of the six-party talks and the impact of research, and second, it aimed to maximize cism from the Security Council’s “presiden- the statement on the security in the region. its benefits with limited compromise. Now, tial statement” as an excuse, North Korea Diplomats, on the other hand, started the it has fulfilled both objectives. After 6 years can now eliminate these obstacles. We can pointing fingers, blaming the other parties, of six-party talks, the DPRK has become expect the DPRK to conduct a new mis- and asking the DPRK to calm its anger and a nuclear power, and has obtained at least sile test within the year, and a new nuclear come back to the table. Once again, they 800,000 tons of heavy oil as “compensa- test within two years. Unfortunately, this is are surprised by the DPRK’s strategy. tion.” It has had its cake and eaten too. likely to be just the beginning. Actually, the DPRK’s withdrawal from North Korea had hoped to obtain the the six-party talks was predicted. From the 20,000 tons of heavy oil Japan had prom- (The author is a professor from the International very beginning, North Korea has been re- ised in compensation too. But it now seems Strategic Studies Institute, the Party School of luctant to attend the six-party talks, repeat- unrealistic given Japan’s strong reaction the Central Committee of the Communist Party edly stressing that the dialogues should be to its “satellite” launch, and hence the six- of China. Translated by Yu Xiaodong)9 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 11
  • 10. COVER STORYThe remains of Lt. RobertHoyle Upchurch, picturedhere, a Flying Tiger pilot inWorld War II, were laid to reston April 8, 2006 at High FallsUnited Methodist Churchin High Falls, N.C. Upchurchwas killed when his planecrashed into a mountain inChina on Oct. 6, 1944. (Photoby Stephanie Bruce/AP) 12 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 11. COVER STORY The Revival of the Flying Tigers Between 1941 and 1945, over 2,000 American pilots and support staff arrived in China as part of the Pacific theater of World War II. The shark-faced fighter planes they flew were regarded by local Chinese as fierce “Fei Hu, or Fl ying Tigers. These young American pilots ” f ought alongside their Chinese comrades against the Japanese. Some paid the ultimate sacrif ice, or went missing into the skies over China. Due to political reasons, the Flying Tigers’ story had been buried in China for several decades. It was not until recently that their contributions to history gained notice, and eff orts to preserve Flying Tigers historical sites and relics have begun. As more monuments and museums are being erected to commemorate the Fl ying Tigers, the legend is experiencing a revival. And now that a Flying Tigers theme park is under construction, the legend is becoming so popular that it is moving beyond the history books and into contemporary entertainment.9 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 13
  • 12. COVER STORYA Late SaluteBetween 1941 and 1945, over 2,000 pilots, known as the “Flying Tigers” f rom the US Air Force diedfighting Japanese forces over the skies of China. Many of these men vanished deep in the mountains ofsouthern China, or were buried in small villages, never to be heard f rom again. Sixty years later, relativescontinue to search for them, hoping for the day that their loved-ones can be properly put to rest. By Staff Reporter Wang YanF our days after Second Lieutenant After the Second World War broke out, that day, and visibility was low. When the Ernest W. Garner Jr. sent a Moth- Ernie, like millions of other young, com- mission was over, Lt. Garner’s plane did not er’s Day V-Mail (Victory mail) let- petent, enthusiastic young men and wom- return to the airbase. ter to his mother Mrs. E. W. (Lela) en, devoted himself to the Allied cause. Nine days later on April 23, Robert A.Garner back home in Ashburn, Georgia on As a fervent American patriot, Ernie had Clendenin, Lt. Garner’s commanding of-April 10, 1945, he disappeared, never to be a strong desire to defend his nation, so ficer of the 528th Fighter Squadron sent aseen again. At the bottom of the V-Mail on in February 1943, he left his industrial letter to the lost pilot’s family. In the letterwhich “A traveling son is thinking of his management studies to join the Army Air addressed to Mrs. Garner, Major Clendeninmother” was printed in both Chinese and Corps.English, the 22-year-old’s smooth hand- Ernie trained for a year at Napier Air-writing read, “All my love to the bravest field in Alabama before receiving his pilotmom in the world.” certification - his wings - on February 8, Mrs. Garner would have never expected 1944. Six months later, he was on his waythat days after receiving the letter, the joy to Calcutta, India to join the 14th divi-she felt would be crushed by a hand-deliv- sion of the US Air Force, lead by Generalered, typed letter from her son’s command- Claire Lee Chennault. With this, Lt.ing officer. The letter said Lt. Garner went Garner found himself in the middle of“missing in action while flying as part of a the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater of The location of the burial site for Lt. Garner’s remains.bombing and strafing mission over enemy- World War II. (Photo Courtesy of Patrick Lucas)occupied China.” On December 23, 1944, the day before After that, the only news of Ernie his he would fly over the “Hump” (the supplymom and dad ever received came in the route Allied pilots flew through the south- A Bouquet of flowers with Lt. Garner’s photograph onform of hand-written letters Ernie wrote be- eastern Himalayas from India to China) to the site of his grave. (Photo Courtesy of Patrick Lucas)fore his disappearance, and letters of condo- a base in China, he shared his longing for alence from the air force. When Mrs. Garner Christmas at home in a letter to his mother:thought about him, the memories of Ernie’s “I can see the little tree on the table by thepresence and personality were interwoven window and the wreath in the door. Re-with his last words. She never gave up hope member the many times we’ve all crowdedthat Ernie would some day come home. through the French doors on those Christ- mas mornings. Wonderful days, wonderfulMom’s Unfulfilled Wish times.” Ernie arrived in China on ChristmasErnie was born on March 7, 1923, the sec- Eve, 1944, amid a heated battle for Chinaond of five children, in Ashburn, Georgia. between Japan and the Allied forces, and heAs the oldest son, he was given his father’s soon began flying in missions over the area.name, and he became the most revered On the morning of April 14, 1945, hechild in the family. Upon graduating from was piloting a P-51 “Mustang” fighter planeAshburn High School, he entered Georgia during an attack on a Japanese column ofTech in 1940. supplies and personnel. Skies were cloudy14 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 13. COVER STORYwrote, “When Ernie was last seen, he was Chinese made every effort to aid him andclimbing into the clouds to join the other return him to an American base. Major Mission Continuedplanes on the mission. Since he did not Clendenin wrote, “There is a possibilityjoin the others, he must have been lost in that [Lt. Garner] was able to bail out of his Lt. Garner’s nephew, Allen Garner, nowthe clouds.” On May 15, a month after the plane, and may be in the hands of Chinese in his forties, grew up a few blocks fromaccident, Mrs. Garner received a sympathy guerillas.” But as time went on without his grandmother. As a child, Allen came toletter from Major General C. L. Chen- word from Ernie, hope for his recovery di- know his lost uncle through the stories hisnault, which offered more details about the minished. grandmother told and through the lettersdisappearance of Ernie: “He was last seen Ernie’s mother spent years after the war she kept all those years. What he remem-five miles south of Taiku, Shansi Province, actively seeking additional information bers most is the wistful way she talkedChina, but no word has since been heard from the US government, the military, and about her son, and how her eyes filled withfrom him.” people who knew him. She pleaded with sadness every time she thought about him, By this time, Chinese civilians, along officials to do more to recover her son, but even as the decades went by.with Chinese guerilla forces, had estab- it was impossible Spurred by his grandmother’s devotion tolished a relationship with the US military Mrs. Garner died in the early 1980s find Ernie, Allen took up the cause of find-operating in the area. Whenever a lost or without ever having fulfilled her wish to ing his uncle’s remains after she died. In lateinjured Allied soldier was discovered, the find her son. 2007, Allen was introduced to American Garner family in Daytona. Lt. Ernest W. Garner Jr.NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 15
  • 14. COVER STORYfounded “Remembering Shared Honor” old Cai Jingxiu, who remembered the exact mand (JPAC), stated that more than 1,365(RSH), a nonprofit group dedicated to time and place she saw a destroyed military US servicemen went missing in the CBIrecording the history - especially the oral aircraft on the ground in 1945. Theatre during the war. JPAC is chargedhistory - of the CBI Theater of WWII. “The dirt road was destroyed by the with recovering the remains of soldiers lost Lucas has been in China for over 10 plane,” said Cai. “The plane broke into two at war; it is currently conducing opera-years and became interested in helping large parts scattered over the nearby grain tions in the Asian Pacific region, but suchpeople find missing American soldiers in field. In one part sat a young foreigner, not operations are costly and time consuming.China after he got to know Air Force veter- moving. He looked dead.” Private organizations like RSH play a largerans and the local Chinese people who came Later, another witness came forward who role in the ongoing mission to find lostin contact with them. Through researching claimed to know where the pilot’s body was military personnel; other groups includehistorical documents and military files, Lu- interred. Xie Sancun, a 77-year-old said MIA Recoveries, Missing Air Crew Project,cas has been able to help families searching locals buried the remains in a field, now the BentProp Project, and BentStar Project.for loved ones who went missing in China. location of the Shanxi Fuel Filter Factory. In the past decade, searches for wreck- But the search for Lt. Garner was not When Lucas arrived in Yongji, he spent age and remains US Air Force pilots fromeasy. Allen provided Lucas with a few two full days researching and recording WWII have been frequently conducted indocuments, including the letters sent home sites with his video camera. With the help China. People have found debris of Flyingby Ernie, but these offered limited help. In of local media, seniors from the village and Tigers aircraft in the provinces of Guangxi,order to get more information, Lucas vis- the US military report, he found a small Guizhou, Guangdong, Hunan, Sichuan,ited the US National Archives and Records yard adjacent the Shanxi Fuel Filter Fac- Yunnan, Henan and the Tibet Autono-Administration (NARA), where he was tory, where Lt. Ernest W. Garner, Jr.’s body mous Region.able to obtain the secret intelligence report was believed to be resting. However, his Chinese people understand the desireregarding Lt. Garner’s last mission in 1945. grave was not found. families have to find the remains of missingThrough this report, Lucas was able to On April 14, 2008, the 63rd anniversary pilots and to pay a final visit to where theyacquire more information about that day, of Lt. Garner’s death, a group of Chinese lie, according to Lucas. “People at every stepincluding approximately when and where and Americans visited the spot to com- the way, whether officials or average folks,Lt. Garner’s plane went down. The report memorate the sacrifice he made. Mourners were supportive, interested, respectful andstated, “Pilots participating in Mission buried 63 cents in US currency in a tiny sympathetic,” he said. There were also timesNo. 145 observed what they believed to be hole in the earth as a symbol of the culmi- when Chinese witnesses could not help buta plane burning in the warehouse area of nation of the search for answers that his burst into tears when recalling stories aboutYungcheng. Possibly the Mustang piloted mother began so long ago. US pilots.by Lt. Garner.” Ernie’s last surviving sibling, his youngest “Without the support of local people, With this information, Lucas journeyed brother, Everett (Allen’s father) received the media and ordinary villagers, we couldto Shanxi Province in search of Lt. Garner’s news from Lucas. On his 78th birthday, Ev- never find the final resting places of thosefinal resting place. He was at first skepti- erett’s family gathered at his home to read the lost spirits,” Lucas added. He, along withcal that his trip would produce any results. report and examine the photographs from the seven other members in RSH, have soMany names of the places have been altered Lucas’ trip. Although the family was unable far found over 10 different places in Chinaover the years and historical facts were dif- to travel to China themselves, they took com- where the remains of 20 Flying Tigers areficult to verify due to a lack of information. fort in the Lucas’ explanation of Ernie’s story buried.Lucas said he took the trip mainly to as- and the possible location where he rests. In China, local governments and expertssuage the family, rather than expecting to Now in spite of difficulties, the effort is from the US have joined together to con-find Lt. Garner’s grave. still being made to locate the grave of Lt. duct searches. The US Central Identification Garner. Laboratory in Hawaii in 1996 dispatchedLucas’ Find specialists to Mao’er Shan, a mountain ra- Bring Them Home vine in Guangxi Province where wreckageBefore going there, Lucas contacted the from a US B-24 bomber had been found.local media in Shanxi to alert them of his On the official Flying Tigers website, a page The remains of all 10 crew members werejourney and to enlist their help. The Shanxi dedicated to the men of the 14th division recovered, identified and returned to theirEvening Post newspaper on April 4, 2008 of the US Air Force asks visitors to “Pray families. And in 2001, officials from thepublished an article about Lucas’ search. for Their Safety and Safe Return Home to Pentagon’s POW/Missing Personnel Office,Three days after “Searching for the Burial Families and Friends”. accompanied by a group of Chinese localsSite of a Flying Tiger” appeared in the news- Unfortunately, many young airmen, that included soldiers, mountaineers andpaper, a man from Yongji city called the including Ernie, did not return home. In medics, visited two crash sites in the Hima-Post saying that he knew of an eyewitness to reports online, Rear Admiral Donna L. layan Mountains in Milin County in thethe crash who lived in Matsun village. Crisp, commander of Joint Prisoner of Lang Gong region of Tibet. The witness was a local villager, 73-year- War/Missing in Action, Accounting Com- The search continues.16 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 15. COVER STORYAn American military plane lands in southern China during WWII. (File Photo)A Lasting Bond with ChinaThe legend created by the Flying Tigers over 60 years ago is once again arousinginterest and bringing back memories of an unforgettable past. By Staff Reporter Wang YanI n the last decade, American World Volunteer ‘Shark-Faced’ Fighters Chennault began to lay the groundwork War II veterans, in particular Air for the American Volunteer Group (AVG) Force veterans, have frequently The Japanese invasion of China started by building runways and ordering planes revisted China and the battlefields in 1931. It quickly became apparent that from the US. He spent the winter of 1940where they once fought the Japanese. the Chinese Air Force was too vulnerable in Washington, supervising the purchaseMany of these former airmen are known against the Japanese, so the Kuomintang, of 100 Curtiss P-40 fighters (diverted fromas the legendary “Flying Tigers.” The then the ruling party of China, decided to a UK Royal Air Force order). The planes,Flying Tigers, commanded by General strengthen its air force. In 1937, Madame painted with the signature shark-face in-Claire Lee Chennault, were young, dar- Chiang Kai-Shek (Mei-ling Soong) invited signia, were shipped into China throughing airmen who gained a reputation as Claire Lee Chennault, a retired US Army Burma.some of the bravest pilots of the Second Air Corps captain, to act as an advisor to On April 15, 1941, before the US for-World War. the fledgling Chinese Air Force. mally declared its participation in WWII,NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 17
  • 16. COVER STORYFlying Tigers crew members fish during their spare time in Hengyan, Hunan Province in 1943.US President Roosevelt officially author- nia for AVG – a winged tiger flying through participation in WWI, he realized that airized military service personnel of the US a large “V,” for victory. The name “Flying supremacy was essential for all operations.Army to participate in the war in China as Tigers” became the common moniker of He dedicated himself to modernizing thevolunteers. Chennault was given the com- the American Volunteer Group (AVG) of concept of fighter tactics at a time whenmand of about 100 US combat pilots and the Chinese Air Force in 1941-1942. mainstream thinking among his peers fa-250 ground-crew volunteers, chosen from Later after the US officially entered the vored bombers.different branches of the US armed forces. war, the AVG was replaced by the US Army From 1937 through 1945, ChennaultThey were trained in Burma and by 1941, 23rd Fighter Group, which was eventually spent eight years helping China gain airslipped into China, posing as musicians, absorbed into the US 14th Air Force. supremacy against the Japanese. Duringstudents, bankers, artists and missionaries. his early days in China, he wrote a letter The volunteers signed on for a one-year A Hard-Nosed Leader to a newspaper in Alabama, in which hecontract at triple their normal pay ($600 declared his disapproval of the US govern-per month), and were guaranteed $500 for Born in Texas in 1893, Chennault was com- ment’s indifferent attitude towards China.every Japanese airplane they destroyed. missioned as an officer in the Army when In 1941, President Roosevelt decided to The shark-faced fighters that fought the the US joined World War I in 1917. He was back a group of American volunteers.Japanese bombers were regarded by local soon transferred to the aviation section of The AVG officially merged with theChinese and the media as fierce “Fei Hu,” the Army Signal Reserve Corps with whom Army Air Forces (AAF) on July 4, 1942or “Flying Tigers.” Based on this common he served with for the duration of the war. and Chennault stayed on as a brigadiernickname, Walt Disney designed the insig- Through the experience gathered by his general. When the force became the 14th18 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 17. COVER STORYA “Hump” pilot plays with his pet jaguar. (File Photo) Memebers of the Flying Tigers. (File Photo)Air Force, Chennault was selected as com- There are also many stories about Chi-mander, and his tactics continued to be nese villagers helping injured US pilotsemployed in the war for China’s skies. escape from the Japanese, which could have He was known for his abrasive style. “As put entire villages at risk.Fighter pilots, you need to have complete Within the 14th Air Force, several Chi-belief in yourself and in your ability to nese aviators were assigned to the Chinese-handle anything that walks, swims, flies, or American Composite Wing under Generalwears skirts,” General Chennault once said Chennault’s command. These were Chineseto the Flying Tigers under his command. Air Force fighter and bomber pilots trained During the war, Chennault had a con- in the US, who fought alongside theirtentious relationship with his commanding American counterparts.officer, Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell. His style of “I still clearly remember the old days,” re-leadership conflicted with his AAF superi- calls Jim Dumas, 92, who served in the firstors, and instead of remaining in command group of the 14th Army Air Force to arriveuntil V-J Day as he had ultimately hoped, in China. “I was not the one to make thehe was replaced before the war ended. decision to join the AVG. I was in the Air Chennault was eventually promoted to Force, they sent me there…Everybody hadlieutenant general, one day before his death homesickness. But when we were in China,in 1958. He is buried at the Arlington Na- we were treated as royals, we enjoyed that.”tional Cemetery. KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek and Madame Chiang Kai-shek In 1945, 10 former AVG pilots decided (center), pose for a photograph with Flying Tiger Commander General Claire Chennault (right) in July 1942 (AP Photo). to establish the Flying Tiger Line (originallyBond with the Chinese called National Skyway Freight), which was Documents show that large, heavy stone the first scheduled cargo airline in the USDuring their days in China, the Flying rollers were used by local villagers to level and soon became the world’s leading air-Tigers were wildly successful against the and pave runways during the construction freight company. On August 7, 1989 Fed-Japanese air forces: 2,908 enemy aircraft of airfields, part of painstaking efforts to eral Express acquired the Flying Tiger Line.destroyed or damaged against 193 combat- build up facilities for the Flying Tigers. In China and the US, various aviationrelated losses of its own added to approxi- In a photo from 1944, dozens of Chinese associations have organized Flying Tigersmately 59,500 Japanese troops killed in villagers are seen pulling a stone roller at reunions, and museums and monuments toclose air support engagements. The Tigers a Kunming airfield. Whenever an airfield commemorate the Flying Tigers have beenearned the full support of Chinese offi- was bombed, destroyed or damaged by set up all over China.cials and civilians. During the war, when Japanese planes, locals would risk their livesChinese civilians sighted Japanese planes, rebuilding the field. Several Chinese were (With reference to “Flying Tiger General Chen-they did not hesitate to report the cities injured during these attempts; an accident nault,” book written by Li Jianfeng (2005) andto Chennault’s headquarters over the tel- once killed dozens of Chinese people when article “Flying Tiger, Hidden Dragon” by Rebeccaephone or ham radio. Grant (2002). Staff reporter Li Jing contributed the giant stone rolled over them. to this report.)NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 19
  • 18. COVER STORY Zhang Ning, 64, lives in an eastern suburb of Beijing. (Photo by Staff Photographer Liu Zhen)My Country, My DestinyAs a “Baby Tiger, the son of an American Flying Tigers pilot, Zhang Ning has ”spent all of his life as a Chinese person, living through the turmoil and triumphof a nation in constant transformation. By Staff Reporter Wang YanW hen this reporter first China, by a Chinese general in a Chinese by people around him. As a child, he once met Zhang Ning in his family. overheard somebody say that he was not home in Beijing in April It was his special identity, as a “Baby Ti- his mother’s son, so he went directly to his 2009, the 64-year-old man ger,” that has given Zhang Ning an extraor- mother for an explanation. His mother, Liseemed more Chinese than American, the dinary destiny. Lianfang, explained to him, “When I wasonly difference was that his nose was not so pregnant, I used to drink too much vinegar,Chinese, and his eyes were much paler than Mystery of the Blond Hair so that’s why you were born with goldenmost. When he spoke, however, it was pure hair.”Mandarin with a strong Beijing accent. In late 1950s, when Zhang Ning was a little During those days, his golden hair and But Zhang Ning is indeed American. boy, his blond hair and blue eyes made him pale complexion garnered comparisons toHis biological parents were American stand out from everyone else. He was nick- stars in the Soviet and Albanian films thatFlying Tigers, stationed in China during named, “Xiao Huang Mao” (little golden were popular in China at the time. ZhangWorld War II. But he was brought up in hair) or “Xiao Yang Ren” (little westerner) Ning felt flattered when people said he20 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 19. COVER STORYlooked like a Russian or Albanian. Zhang was born on June 16, 1945, to-wards the end of the Second World War,which brought thousands of Allied soldiersto China. He was brought up in a Chinesefamily whose patriarch was a general duringthe war, and the family was considered partof the upper-middle class. Family membersstill call him “Xiaodi,” or “little brother,”with affection. He told this reporter that hischildhood in Sichuan was happy, and hisfamily was quite rich. “We had a garden,a tennis court, around 20 maids and fourcars,” he said. After the People’s Republic of Chinawas founded, General Zhang Zhihe, hisfather, was appointed to the State Councilin Beijing. So, in 1950, the family leftSichuan for the capital, where life was alsoas good for the Zhangs. Young ZhangNing received the best education of theday, and was given free reign of Zhong-nanhai, the Chinese equivalent to theAmerican White House. Zhang Ning pictured here while he was a baby with his foster parents and sisters. Everything seemed perfect for ZhangNing until 1957, when his father wasbranded a “rightist” during the Anti-Rightist Campaign launched by the Party. adopt her son. Li said to Zhang Ning, “IGeneral Zhang was sent to Sichuan for “re- heard that your mother went back to theeducation,” and the political turmoil turned US with the air force after the war. Butthe family’s life upside down. since then, we haven’t heard anything One day when Zhang Ning was 15, he about her.”stumbled upon his father’s diary, in which Though he knew that he was indeedGeneral Zhang wrote: “My son, Ning, American, he was unable to look for hiswas adopted from a hospital.” Zhang Ning biological parents because at that time, thecould not believe what he saw; he burst into political environment was quite intense. It A photograph of Lt. Col. William Norman Reed.tears and ran into his mother’s arms, asking was during the Korean War (1950 - 1953),if he was really adopted. His mother held and American soldiers were being depictedhim and revealed the truth about his birth. as cruel and merciless in their battles with his chance for further education after he the Chinese army. Zhang was frightened of graduated from junior middle school at theSearching for Roots what people would say if they found out he age of 16. He was assigned to work in a Bei- was American. jing light bulb factory, where the labor was“Xiaodi, you were sent over to us on the day Since his adopted father was sent away, tedious, and the environment was severe.after your birth,” his mother, Li Lianfang, the family suffered, people around them, Zhang worked in the sweltering furnaceexplained. “We didn’t mean to hurt you by including friends and classmates, made him room for a grueling 35 years.keeping you in the dark during these past feel inferior, and his relationships with them In 1979 the government declared thatyears; we just thought you were too young turned frosty. Things got worse several years the “rightist” accusations brought againstto know this. ” later when the Cultural Revolution (1966 – Zhang Zhihe were false, and his “re-educa- From Li, Zhang learned that his parents 1976) brought even more hardships to the tion” was over. By this time the reform erawere both Americans. His father was a family. “Our family was labeled ‘capitalists,’ arrived, the political struggles in the coun-renowned Flying Tiger, who died during a so the topic of who my birth parents were try had ended, and Zhang Zhihe was givenmission in Sichuan, and his mother was a became taboo,” he said. “I then gave up my the opportunity for a new life.nurse in the air force. plan to search for my roots.” After so many ups and downs during his Zhang was born after his father’s plane Because Zhang’s Chinese parents were life, and given the loving way in which hewent down, so his mother asked doctors affected by the political turmoil caused by had been accepted and treated by his adopt-to find a more suitable family who could the Cultural Revolution, Zhang Ning lost ed family, by then Zhang Ning’s desire toNEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 21
  • 20. COVER STORYfind his real parents had dissipated. In 1997, Zhang Ning joined the Beijing It was not until 1984, when his dying Aviator’s Association (BAA), which exposedadopted mother encouraged him to look him to Flying Tigers reunions and air forcefor his biological mother, that his desire was veterans.reignited. Zhang Ning, now 64, showed a picture of a young American soldier wearing a gar-Impending Answer rison cap to this reporter and said, “This man is quite possibly my biological father.”With the reform and opening-up of China The back of the picture reads, “Lt. Col.in early 1980s, more and more Westerners William Norman Reed (Jan. 8, 1917 - Dec.came to China, which gave Zhang Ning Zhang Ning and his 9-year-old grandson. (Photo by Liu Zhen) 19, 1944).”the courage to face his real identity. This General Xu Huajiang, a former Fly-open environment also provided him with him to the Zhang family, said Zhang ing Tiger from the Chinese-Americanmore opportunities to solve the mystery of Ning’s birth father was a lieutenant colonel Composite Wing (CACW) affiliated withhis birth. that died between December 1944 and General Chennault’s 14th Air Force used to Dong Bingqi, the doctor who had taken March 1945. fight alongside Reed, so he knew quite a lotA Piece of History that did not Come EasyOn March 23, construction began of a 42-acre park in southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang AutonomousRegion to commemorate the US Flying Tigers air squadron. By Staff Reporter Wang YanC onstruction of a Flying Tigers Chinese and the Americans during WWII. Heritage Park began on March From then on more monuments have been 23, 2009, in Lingui County of built by local governments and individuals southwestern Guangxi Zhuang in China, and the Flying Tigers HeritageAutonomous Region, drawing broad media Park in Lingui is the newest project. It is be-attention from across the world. ing built at the old Yangtang airfield, which The Lingui project is one of many monu- once housed a Flying Tigers air base and thements and museums built to commemorate cave where General Claire Chennault’s com-the Flying Tigers. Most of these monu- mand office was located. The local govern-ments, however, had not been established Veterans from the Flying Tigers and their families pay a visit to ment in Lingui has invested US$23.4 million China in 2005 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of theuntil recently because in China, a country end of WWII. (CFP Photo) in the park, which will cover an area of 42that has experienced so many ups and acres, and the US-based non-profit Flyingdowns over the last century, recording his- na National Aviation Corporation “Hump” Tiger Heritage Organization plans to donatetory has never been easy. pilot James R. Fox, Jr., an American who US$40,000 and more than 50 items related Due to historical differences regarding lost his life in early 1943 while flying sup- to the Flying Tigers to the park.America’s perceived support of the then plies into China. In late March, News China interviewedruling Kuomintang Party and the sub- Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who Larry Jobe, President of the Flying Tigerssequent breakdown in relations between presided over the ceremony, authored this Historical Organization, Inc., who is oneChina under communist rule and the dedication: “This was an American pilot of the main people behind the project. AUnited States, the Flying Tigers’ contribu- who died a martyr’s death in the battlefield retired captain with United Airlines, Mr.tion to the eventual victory over Japanese of China during the resistance war against Jobe, shared with us his story about the Fly-forces was rarely mentioned. Japan. The Chinese people will remember ing Tigers park. But things changed since the late 1990s, forever this martyr’s name, James R. Fox Jr.” News China: Why did you start this projectas China’s efforts for more openness led One year later in November 2003, while in the first place?people and officials to soften their views of being interviewed by the Washington Post, Larry Jobe: In 2006, we [board membershistory, and the story of the Flying Tigers Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reignited the from the Flying Tigers Historical Organiza-became better known. On October 22, conversation by confirming the role of Fly- tion] stood on the rock in front of the cave.2002, China erected a statue to honor Chi- ing Tigers and the cooperation between the The same rock that Mme. Chennault put22 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 21. COVER STORYabout him. He is the one who gave Zhang mother, but nothing has come of it yet. at the factory. He now lives a peaceful lifeNing hope that Lt. Reed could be his un- Zhang continues to hold on to Lt. Reed’s with his wife and a 9-year-old grandson inknown father. portrait. Sometimes he gazes at the photo- an eastern suburb of Beijing. Immediately after General Xu told Zhang graph for hours, pondering the possibility Zhang told this reporter that his fate hasNing about the Lt. Reed, Zhang asked a that the American man in the picture might been always linked with the ups and downsjournalist to help him write a letter in Eng- be his father. Although there has not been of this country. World War II initiated thelish to Edward Reed, Lt. Reed’s nephew. any progress towards solving his mystery in story of his phenomenal destiny; the yearsEdward responded to the letters, but was the past few years, Zhang expects the truth of political turmoil and the confusion ofdoubtful of the assumption. After a few let- will someday be revealed. “I’ve always felt youth brought questions about his identityters back and forth, Zhang Ning sent DNA that I lacked a sense of belonging, ever since and the burden of being ostracized; andresults to Edward with the expectation of I was a little boy,” he explained. “So I re- reform and opening allowed his story tothe same. But the Reed family did not re- ally want to find my roots, my real identity, come out from underneath the covers.spond, and has not written since. during my lifetime.” With the normalization of Sino-US rela- The initial excitement was replaced by Zhang married a Chinese woman, and tions, he has been given the chance to seekdisappointment. Zhang has tried to ask together they raised a son and a daughter. answers to a question that has upset himothers for help with finding his biological In 2000, Zhang retired from his position his entire life.an inscription on says that it was the rock far beyond our expectations. is a new movie on the Flying Tigers in pro-on which General Chennault stood. He News China:Are the Flying Tigers well duction. But to give you an example of howcould stand on this rock and watch the air known among American people? my country has forgotten: Ken Burns [thecombat. When we stood on this rock and Larry Jobe: They are better known here in famous director] did a documentary serieslooked out at that vast expanse, it was ex- China than in my own country right now. on WWII, and he covered all of Europe,actly how it had been in 1945. The runways China has done much better job remem- and all of the Pacific campaign, but in hiswere still there. bering them than my country has. In the documentary he only mentioned the China- Earlier we had seen this great big billboard US, my generation all knows the Flying Ti- Burma-India Theater one time.showing the development that was going to gers, but two generations beyond me does News China: Why is that?take place, so if we didn’t do something to not. But it doesn’t mean it is less important. Larry Jobe: Politics. Because General Chen-protect the cave, it would be gone forever. That’s one of the reasons why we want to nault was considered a rebel and he was so When we first talked to the authority in do the project in Guilin. radical. He embarrassed the higher ranks.Guilin about doing something, we didn’t Indeed there is research interest in WWII The 14th Air Force under his command hadmean to make a grand project. We sug- in the US. Right now as far as I know there set a record that has never been surpassedgested they make a plan to save the cave. and yet it wasn’t recognized until 1995,They came back to us with a beautiful plan when they finally received the presidential citation for their record in China during WWII. So it’s taken our country that long to recognize what the Flying Tigers did. News China: Have you received any sup- port from the US government in regards to the heritage park project? Larry Jobe: Yes we have. The government has approved our organization to collect tax-free donations. It took us almost two years to get that. I think my government is proud of the Flying Tigers now and I think they are willing to push the relationship with China as much as we are. There was a bond formed between the Flying Tigers and the Chinese in WWII, a very strong bond of friendship. The history that we shared, and the good friendships we had can be utilized and enhanced today. (Special thanks to K.C. Ma for his assistance in (Graphics/ Ye Xueming) this interview)NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 23
  • 22. POLITICS Questioning the 480-Billion-Yuan Defense Budget Nearl y ever y year, f oreign governments and media organizations scrutinize China’s mil it ar y bud get , cl aiming a l ack o f transparency regarding the amount of money that is spent and why the spending continues to increase by over 10 percent ever y year. China is responding by off ering evidence that its military spending is fair. By Yao JiaweiA Chinese soldier gets tangled up in a flag whilepreparing for a welcoming ceremony  in BeijingsTiananmen Square . (AP Photo/Greg Baker)24 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 23. POLITICS T he annual National People’s limited spending of the previous decade, those nations. Congress (NPC) in March an- instead of “making a strong army stronger.” nounced China’s 2009 defense “When asking if a country is adopting What Oversight Measures is China Taking? budget would total 480.7 billion a ‘bellicose’ military strategy, it is impor- yuan (US$70.1 billion), a 14.89 percent tant to determine whether its armed forces Under the military budgetary system, every increase over last year. policy is offensive or defensive in nature,” PLA unit from the regiment level above is While Western governments and media, said Wen. “It’s also important to determine required to submit budget requests based on which regularly question the transparency of what proportion of a country’s economy is projected spending for the upcoming year. China’s military spending, voiced concerns being spent on its military.” The requests are collected by the PLA Gen- over the proposal, many Chinese people, eral Logistics Department, which calculates especially those who support the purchase of How Will the Money Be Used? the overall budget needs for the entire mili- military hardware, praised the double-digit tary and reports these figures to the Central increase. In 2008, China officially spent 417.8 billion Military Commission. Once the commis- Unsurprisingly perhaps, critics have yuan (US$59 billion) on its military budg- sion approves the budget, a draft is sent to raised questions concerning how the money et. Wen told News China that two thirds the Ministry of Finance for examination. is likely to be spent, and why such an in- of this went to personnel training, salaries From there, it is factored into the overall na- crease is necessary. and living costs; the remaining third was tional budget and sent to the State Council, spent on the purchase and maintenance of the central government. Once the council Is China Pursing a ‘Bellicose’ military hardware. This is nearly the same approves the national budget, it is debated Defense Strategy? ratio as the US. at the NPC. The defense budget is finally According to the 2008 China National approved along with the national budget According to Germany’s Die Welt news- Defense White Paper, China spends 4.49 during the yearly NPC meeting in March. paper, China is one of the only two major percent of what the US does per solider, To ensure procedures are followed prop- world powers that have proposed a double- 5.31 percent of Britain. erly, and budgets are accurate, all PLA units digit increase in military spending this year. When the 2009 budget was released, from the division level above have auditing The other is India, which is poised to in- NPC Spokesman, Li Zhaoxing, said a large offices that examine the requests. Addition- crease this year’s budget by 24 percent. The portion of the added expenditure would go ally, each unit is obligated to document article went on to say that China’s military to improving the situations of soldiers and how the money is spent for future reference. spending has maintained the same growth officers. The average salary for a low-ranking When requests are made for military hard- rate for over a decade. officer is about 2,500 yuan (US$365) per ware, the system is even more meticulous. For Numerous US based non-governmental month. For a young person serving his or example, if the Air Force wants to purchase policy groups linked the 14.89 percent her country, like 28-year-old Lieutenant Liu, 10 J-10 fighter jets from the manufacturers, increase to an expansion in China’s overall this seems paltry in comparison to what the expenses will be scrutinized by the PLA procurement of more sophisticated forms others his age are making. Liu is planning General Logistics Department as part of the of military hardware. Such a move, they a wedding this year, and he supports the general budget allowance for the Air Force. suggested, would pose a direct threat to se- promised increase in personnel spending. Each line has to be reviewed and approved curity in the Asia-Pacific region. Wen Bing pointed out that the 60 billion before the entire budget is approved. But Wen Bing, a researcher with the Peo- yuan (US$8.8 billion) added to this year’s ple’s Liberation Army (PLA) Academy of budget would mainly be used in salary rais- Hidden Military Expenditure? Military Science and one of the drafters of es for officers, in research and development, China’s defense white papers, defended the and to improve infrastructure – in particu- The issue of transparency of China’s mili- increases. According to Wen, the expan- lar to improve facilities in remote military tary budget is always a concern of Western sion should be viewed in context of China’s outposts. In addition, the military’s disaster countries. During the most recent Sino- overall spending since the late 1970s. At relief programs, anti-terrorism efforts, and US defense conference, David Sedney, US that time, the country’s attention shifted international peacekeeping operations will Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for from “class struggle” to focus on economic also receive more resources in 2009. East Asia, stated that the US is not against growth, thus resources were channeled Despite the fact that China’s military China’s military modernization, but he away from other sectors, including defense. has advanced missile guidance systems said, Washington desires more transparency In fact, according to Wen, between 1979 and submarine technology, there are many regarding China’s intents and purposes and 1989, when the Consumer Price Index technological areas in which China’s armed with the increases in military spending. rose 7 percent, the country’s defense spend- forces lag behind other developed nations’, When China’s 2009 budget was an- ing actually declined. Wen acknowledged according to Li Dacheng, a weapons ex- nounced, US media reported that the that military spending started rising by pert. Therefore, funds from the proposed actual figure could be twice the size of the large margins in the 1990s, but, he said, the increase will be channeled to bridging the official figure, and a London-based strategic extra spending was meant to augment the technological disparity between China and affairs think tank claimed the actual figure9 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 25
  • 24. POLITICSmight be 70 percent higher than what theChinese told the public. On one hand the Chinese governmentrefutes these exaggerations, but on the oth- China’s Aircraft Carrier:er it has been making efforts to make moreinformation about its military available tothe international community. One Step Closer A significant part of this effort started in Debate surrounding the possibility of China building an aircraf t carrier,1998. Since then, China has released a na- a topic that continues to gain worldwide attention, has sharpened in recenttional defense white paper every two years.Colonel Chen Zhou, who has been in- months af ter statements f rom a number of high-ranking Chinese militaryvolved in drafting these papers, told News personnel appeared to off er clearer, more assertive indications of China’sChina that the first white paper, released in intentions regarding the matter.1998, for example, when mentioning theseven major military areas in the country By Staff Reporter Chen Jundid not give their specific names. In 2000,he said, the paper released more detailsabout the locations of military headquar- Dters, services and military areas. The 2002paper described the structure of China’s uring a March 20 meeting Conference (CPPCC) sessions in Marcharmed forces, including information about with the Japanese Defense 2009, representatives from the PLA foundthe army, navy and air force as well as Minister Hamada Yasukazu, themselves besieged by journalists, foreignmissile and armed police forces. And the China’s Minster of Defense, and domestic alike, with questions concern-report released in 2006 was the first to give Liang Guanglie, commented that China ing China’s carrier plan.an account about China’s nuclear strategy. would not remain the only major world On March 5, the Xinhua News AgencyStill, many countries have not been com- power without an aircraft carrier. Foreign reported that Hu Yanlin, former Politi-pletely satisfied. press remarked that this was the first time cal Commissar of the People’s Liberation Criticism from the rest of the world is that a military leader in China had con- Army Navy (PLAN), had made a series ofconcentrated on the assertion that China firmed the country’s intention to build an comments detailing China’s security needis hiding large amounts of military spend- aircraft carrier. for aircraft carriers and concerns over itsing, especially with regards to expenditures lengthy coastal border. “As China’s com-that are not reported in the formal defense A Real Signal prehensive national strength has increasedbudget, such as investments in aviation greatly, we now possess the economic andand space exploration. Canada’s Kanwa As of mid-2008, the People’s Liberation technical capacity to build aircraft carriers,”Defense Review magazine declared that Army (PLA) began releasing a series of said Hu.China’s recent space missions, including statements detailing China’s ongoing air- Perhaps the most assertive statementthe launch of the Shenzhou VI and VII craft carrier plan. came from Wu Huayang, Deputy Politicalspacecrafts, should be considered “hidden In early September, 2008, the Liberation Commissar of the PLAN. Frustrated withmilitary expenditures.” Army Daily reported that the first 50 pilot the media’s apparent fixation with specifics, Military expert Li Dacheng, counters cadets, chosen for a four-year carrier-based Wu made clear the Chinese position, “Manythis argument by claiming that the United aircraft pilot training process, had arrived at journalists ask me when China will beginStates’ National Aeronautics and Space the PLA Dalian Naval Academy (DNA) to to construct an aircraft carrier, but I don’tAdministration (NASA) spends millions begin orientation. Global military analysts think it’s reasonable to focus on an exactof dollars every year in what could be con- Jane’s Defense Weekly magazine interpret- time, all I can say is we will have carriers insidered military spending. One program, ed the move as the beginning of China’s the near future.”which is in the process of developing pas- training program for future carrier pilots. Throughout the last few years, officialssenger planes capable of flying in outer In the meantime, Russian media report- from the State Commission of Science andspace, could be directed towards military ed China’s purchase of 50 Russian Sukhoi- Technology for National Defense Industryoperations if such a craft were carrying a 33 carrier fighters, leading a number of (COSTIND) have expressed, during bothpayload of bombs and missiles instead of observers to speculate that China was look- formal and informal occasions, that Chinapeople. “Isn’t this research and develop- ing to increase the payload capacity of its has both the capacity and motivation toment spending also a ‘hidden military ex- carrier-based aircrafts. build a carrier. What is different now, how-penditure?’” asked Li. Hence, it was no surprise that during ever, is the frequency of such expressions. the National People’s Congress (NPC) and The subject of aircraft carriers has been(Translated by Chen Dongyi) the Chinese People’s Political Consultative a topic of discussion in China for many26 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 25. POLITICS years. Prior to the interest sparked by recent trade routes. From a strategic point of view, in full to neighboring countries. reports, China had purchased four decom- carriers provide the most effective means Despite China having yet to actually missioned carriers from foreign navies. Two for controlling these waterways. possess a carrier, Japan has used China’s carriers, the Soviet Kiev and Minsk, arrived Actually, China has long sought to count potential plans as an excuse to build sev- in China in 2003 and 1998 respectively, aircraft carriers among its naval fleet. On eral quasi-carriers of its own. Last month, and are now theme parks in Tianjin and October 25, 1973, Zhou Enlai, the then Japan commissioned the destroyer Hyuga, Shenzhen. The former Australian ship, Premier, discussed China’s need for a carrier capable of accommodating large military HMAS Melbourne, was bought in 1985, during a meeting with foreign guests. “The helicopters. Weighing 13,950 tons, the 197- but was later scrapped. While the fourth Nansha islands (the Spratly Islands) and the meter-long (646 ft.) Hyuga is considered to ship, the ex-Soviet /Ukrainian Varyag, pur- Xisha Islands (the Paracel Islands) are now be a small-size aircraft carrier. chased in 1998 is now stationed in Dalian. occupied by southern Vietnam. Without “It’s obvious that the Hyuga is targeted Aspirations among ordinary Chinese carriers, our Navy would have to resort to at China. We have long planned to build to have their own domestic built carriers bayoneting (to take back the islands),” said carriers, but we have yet to take substantial have always been strong. On the Internet, Zhou. “I have engaged in military and po- action, while Japan started to build its own military enthusiasts and common netizens litical affairs my whole life, and I just can- as far back as 2004. Now after 5 years, they alike, have initiated various campaigns rais- not be reconciled the fact that we don’t have have finished the first, while the second one ing funds and soliciting names for future a carrier.” is intended to be launched in 2011,” said carriers. Diagrams and interpretations of Liu Huaqing, former Vice-President of Zhang Zhaozhong. “Actually, many of possible carrier designs are also widespread Military Commission of the CPC Central our neighboring countries also have similar on military fan forums. Committee, wrote in his memoirs that the programs. India is expected to finish its first Sections of the media have also begun to PLAN had reasoned on building carriers domestic carrier by 2011, and even South speculate on the nature of China’s future as far back as the early 1970s. However, as Korea is working on carrier. If we don’t carriers. the “China menace” theory grew in promi- speed up, China will be in a disadvantaged “There are a number of different meas- nence in the years that followed, Beijing be- position.” urements for classification. The simplest gan to worry over possible adverse publicity. Some experts believe that Japan’s ulti- one is to classify different carriers into su- Recently, the naval standoff between mate objective is to build carriers similar in per, large, medium and small carriers. Cur- China and the US, and the Philippines’ size to China’s under the acquiescence of rently, only the US possesses the capability moves to consolidate its claim over several the US. However, Jin Canrong, professor of building super carriers. For countries like disputed islands in the South China Sea has of Renmin University of China, said that China and India, it’s more realistic to de- unsettled China’s leadership. in spite of the alliance relationship between velop medium or large carriers at the most,” For Professor Zhang Zhaozhong, it is a the US and Japan, the US, who has warred Zhang Zhaozhong, professor with the PLA military necessity for China to build air- with Japan and now has military bases on University of National Defense told News craft carriers given the stronger economy Japanese soil, will not allow Japan to go too China. and the advances in relevant technologies. far in its carrier development. Nevertheless, on April 12, Huang Qiang, “All other UN Security Council permanent Liu Jiangyong, professor of Tsinghua spokesman for COSTIND declined to member states have aircraft carriers, as well University told News China that it is vital confirm recent media speculation that as the world’s major powers. China has for a rising China to have its own carrier China was set to build a carrier. “I have been talking about carriers for years, and and increase its sea power. Japan has always nothing new to release regarding China’s now it is time to put this talk into action,” been very sensitive towards any military aircraft carrier plan,” said Huang. While said Zhang. build-up within China, such developments, Jin Yinan, a professor at PLA’s University of Not surprisingly perhaps, China’s carrier however, will be unlikely to have a funda- National Defense, dismissed earlier reports, plan has created unease abroad. Officials mental impact on Sino-Japanese relations. claiming that “the media has exaggerated inside the US, however, have so far re- According to Liu, each country’s military China’s carrier plan.” mained relatively aloof regarding the issue. should look to increase its levels of commu- Analysts have pointed to the US Navy’s nication to avoid any strategic miscalcula- Strategic Consideration strong confidence regarding its carrier fleet tion or misunderstanding. and its focus on submarine rather than car- Lu Guangqian, rear admiral and a mili- From a purely geopolitical perspective, rier development in China. tary strategist of the PLAN, said that even China has a coastline of more than 18,000 Currently, the most serious concerns over with equipped carriers, coastal defense kilometers (11,200 miles), with more than a possible Chinese carrier are emanating would remain China’s core naval strategy. 4.7 million square kilometers (1.8 million from Japan who has claimed that a Chinese “China’s carriers, if built, are not intended square miles) of maritime territory, in ad- carrier would pose a threat to Asian securi- to assist in expansion, but to defend dition to a number of disputed islands and ty. Tsubaki Yuichi, the Japanese Embassy’s China’s long coastline, to protect China’s waters. These offshore and coastal areas are first secretary, recently told Chinese media legitimate interests, and to secure China’s home to both major energy supplies and that China needs to explain its carrier plan vast land areas.”9 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 27
  • 26. POLITICS INTERVIEWUnhappy China: NationalismMagnified through the Media’s LensFar f rom being representative of a consensus view, the opinions expressed in the controversial book“Unhappy China” are just one of many, of ten opposing views, currently being debated throughoutChina. This particular view, however, has been somewhat magnified by an overzealous media, whichinevitably has led to a certain degree of misinterpretation. By Staff Reporter Chen XiaopingT he success of a controversial new Xiaobo and Song Qiang, a lot of energy into the book’s book titled “Unhappy China: two of the contributors to promotional campaign. A Our Times, Goals and Internal “China Can Say ‘No,’” the part of this campaign was Troubles and the Threat from Beijing Olympics demon- targeted at foreign media,Overseas,” has led to a widening debate, strated a rising patriotism. with almost every knownafter several domestic and international Galvanized by the suc- international media outletmedia reports drew attention to the book’s c e s s of t he Oly mpic s , in Beijing receiving andivisive content. Zhang, a poet-turned pri- advance copy of the book. The book, a collection of essays by five vate book publisher, and his “So far, 30 to 40 overseasauthors, advocates that China, as a rising close friend, Song, recruited media organizations havepower, should “do business with others Wang Xiaodong, assistant contacted us in an attemptwith a sword in hand.” The book’s central research fellow at the China to interview the authors,” explained Lipremise promotes the idea that China Youth and Children Research Center, and Ying, the book’s promotional executive.should break with the West conditionally, vocal advocate of “anti-reverse racism,” With over 47,000 copies of “Unhappyrather than ingratiating itself more closely Song Xiaojun, editor-in-chief of the “War- China” being sold, it is estimated that fivewith the developed world. The book also ship Knowledge” and guest military com- authors have received a total of 1.4 millionlashes out at a number of economists, writ- mentator with China Central Television yuan (US$250,000) in remuneration (baseders and scholars for their apparent liberal- (CCTV) and Phoenix TV, Huang Jisu, on the standard 10 percent author share ofleaning ideas and attitudes. sociologist and deputy editor-in-chief of the total income). In addition to the ongoing debate sur- the “International Social Sciences Journal,”rounding the book’s content, commentators and Liu Yang, senior editor at the China Who Is Unhappy?have also drawn parallels to another simi- International Continental Communica-larly themed book, “China Can Say ‘No,’” tions Center. Together they intended to The “Unhappy” authors believe that rela-first printed in 1996. produce a coherent argument to promote tions between the West and China have While “China Can Say ‘No’” has proved their views on nationalism. reached a critical point, whereby a show-popular, going on to sell 6 millions copies in On October 3, 2008, the five authors down is anticipated. The authors cite both13 years, “Unhappy China” has become an set up in a farmer’s courtyard near the the Tibet issue and ongoing disputes overundeniable success. Since first going to print Shangzhuang Reservoir in Beijing. Over energy resources in Africa as expressions ofin March, a further eight more batches of the following three days the group spent these conflicts. The West, the book goes onthe book have been printed, with the total much of their time engaging in conversa- to conclude, is stepping up its containmentnumber of copies sold reaching 470,000. tion. Recordings of these discussions were of China. later transcribed, forming the greater part The book, however, also lashes out atUnhappiness Cooked of the book. It was through this method of “domestic wrongs,” claiming that the Sanlu recorded conversation that the five authors poisonous milk powder scandal not onlyThe spectacle of the 2008 Beijing Olympic were able to produce a completed manu- poisoned babies’ bodies but also the soul ofGames helped create a new sense of prestige script in a relatively short period of time. China, shaking the very foundations of theamong many Chinese people. For Zhang The publishers of “Unhappy China” put core values that China should look to up-28 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 27. POLITICS (From left) Song Xiaojun, Wang Xiaodong, Liu Yang, Zhang Xiaobo, Huang Jisu, Song Qiang. (Photos by Li Ying) hold. The book also points a critical finger government patronage.” in response to varied perceived affronts at the country’s “intellectual elite,” arguing to China, most notably disturbances to “that they are cutting at the roots of the Behind the Unhappiness the torch relay, asserted a new, more vocal Chinese national spirit.” strain of nationalism. With these problems in mind, the au- After 1989, when China was experiencing According to the history Professor Xiao thors offer a series of hard-hitting solutions: political turmoil, the Chinese intelligentsia, Gongqin of Shanghai Normal University, China, they argue, should stand up to once a uniformly cohesive group, under- the nationalism prevalent throughout the West more forcibly. In addition, social went a process of divergence, dividing into “China Can Say ‘No’” is inexperienced justice ought to be vigorously enforced two distinct factions known today as “the and sensitive, whereas “Unhappy China,” throughout the country, while internation- new left” and “the liberals.” Those who are while outwardly audacious, possesses little ally, China should look to assert its own self against liberal market reforms but favor real substance. “The books are intended to interests. Finally, they argue, a set of grand strong social welfare and a more assertive activate nationalist principles when external strategic goals should be formulated, in or- foreign policy are called “the new left,” pressures are agitated,” he explained. “But der to help mold China into a more power- which is the camp to which most of five once that stimulation fades, so too will the ful nation. “Unhappy China” authors are considered book’s central proposition. Since the mid-1990s when “China Can to belong. “I think the nationalism of ‘Unhappy Say ‘No’” was first printed, the Chinese At the same time, the Chinese public China’ will come to dominate mainstream economy has continued to accelerate, help- had become frustrated with the diplomatic representations of nationalism in the fu- ing the country’s Gross Domestic Product games between China and other major ture,” Xiao added. “In the long run, for- (GDP) rise to third in the international countries in the world. In addition, the eigners will need to learn how to deal with GDP index, behind only the United States Chinese government continued to cultivate this type of Chinese nationalism.” and Japan. The huge trade surplus enjoyed a stronger national consciousness among Xu Qingquan, Chief Editor of Yan- by China has also significantly expanded Chinese citizens in order to reinforce its huang Chunqiu, a magazine renowned the country’s foreign exchange reserves, legitimacy. As a result, Chinese nationalist for its focus on large events and people of while the purchase of large amounts of US sentiments have begun to run high. great influence in Chinese and world his- treasury bonds has positioned China as the The success of publications such as of tory, said, “The ‘Unhappy’ people’s radical United States’ largest creditor. All of this “China Can Say ‘No’” and “Unhappy Chi- and intolerant attitudes, coupled with their combines to help to boost the confidence of na” can easily be seen as a barometer of “ris- sweeping statements, are anything but Chinese nationalists. ing Chinese nationalism,” which, perhaps moderate and reasonable. The media’s ex- That’s why Song Qiang, who was in- unsurprisingly, elicits concern in the West. tensive covering of and commenting on the volved in writing both “China Can Say ‘No’ Professor Steve Tsang from the Chinese book has caused a variety of misinterpreta- and “Unhappy China,” asserted that while political science department of Oxford tions. But nationalism will never become “China Can Say ‘No’” advanced the idea University explained, “Chinese people, a mainstream ideology, taken into account that China was ready to lead itself, “Un- especially those in their 20s, have been the peaceful co-existence principles and happy China” advocates that China now brought up in an age after the Tiananmen the idea of a ‘world in harmony’ advocated has the capability to lead the world. Square incident in 1989, in an environment by the Chinese government. Moreover, Wang Xiaodong, one of the “Unhappy” that has been intentionally infused with a world history has long passed judgment writers, has since been labeled “a staunch new nationalist ideology.” over which is inferior and which is superior nationalist.” Wang himself, though alleging This “new nationalist ideology” was - ‘war and revolution’ or ‘peace and devel- that the label has been imposed on him by brought to the fore in 2008. Dubbed opment.’ As a society matures, nationalism the Western media, sees “Chinese national- “the torch generation” or “the bird’s nest will be countered by mainstream moderate ism” as a “spontaneous patriotism with no generation,” these young 20-something’s, and rational voices.”9 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 29
  • 28. SOCIETYDashed Dreams of Migrant LaborersEvery year tens of thousands of Chinese citizens leave home and travel the world with hopes of landingbetter-paying jobs. But the recent economic downturn and rising unemployment has dashed those dreamsand forced many of them to return home. By Li Heran and Staff Reporter Yan DongxueI Now, Chinese laborers n the repatriation house of the Chi- themselves in the same situation. These nese immigration inspection station workers spent a mere 48 days in Europe at the Beijing Capital International before returning to China. During their can be found in 180 Airport, Guo Fubo awaits his fate. He time away from home, they had earned countries around thenervously asks to make a phone call to his about 300 euros each (US$396), a dropwife back home in Tieling, Liaoning Prov- in the bucket compared to 85,000 yuan world, particularly inince in northeastern China. His request is (US$12,000) they each paid to an illegal places like Brazil, Mexicodenied: The station is too busy. intermediary agency to help them move. and Canada, in addition Hours earlier, Guo was on a plane, return- They arrived in Poland in December lasting from Spain where he spent the past sev- year, equipped with legal working visas. to old destinationeral years trying to earn money to support Upon their arrival in Warsaw, however, the countries such as thehimself and his family back home. When hearrived in the morning on March 6, 2009, laborers discovered they had been cheated by the agency. United States, Japan andthe immigration authorities were unable When they were taken to the slaughter- South Korea.to find the visa page on which the Spanish house mentioned in the contract, it hap-stamp should have been. Without this, Guo pened to be the Christmas holiday, and thewas suspected of being overseas illegally, and factory was closed. Nobody had bothered US, and South Korea and they made a lottaken into custody for questioning. to make arrangements for them, and for of money there,” said Guo. Encouraged by As Guo’s story unfolded, the authorities three days, they ate almost nothing. When his friends’ successes, Guo scraped togetherlearned that the 38-year-old worked illegally the factory reopened, the workers found 80,000 yuan (US$16,700) to pay an agencyin Madrid, but had lost his job four months themselves working for half of the salary that was supposed to help him find a jobago. When he called his wife from Spain, they were guaranteed. overseas.she tried to comfort him, to tell him that The angry workers lodged complaints In the beginning, it was fairly easy forit was not his fault; the economy all over with the fraudulent agency back in China, him in Madrid. A fellow Chinese ex-patthe world was bad. Guo felt ashamed. As a which eventually arranged to send them to helped him land a job at a Chinese restau-man, he thought, he should have money for another factory. But, on February 20, when rant, where he was hired as a dishwasherhis family. But without a job and dwindling the 14 men set out for the new factory in and paid 300 euros (US$396) per month,savings, he was forced to return home. a heavy snowstorm, they were stopped by the minimum anywhere in Europe. But, Guo’s story is common, but compared to Polish border patrol officers. Fifteen days because of his status as an illegal laborer, heothers, he was lucky. later, eight Polish policemen escorted them could not obtain official paperwork, such Mainly due to increased efforts of for- back to China. as a health certificate, residence permit oreign governments to crack down on illegal employee card.migrant labor, Beijing’s Exit and Entry Fortune-seeking Dreams Another overseas laborer, Wang Xusen,Frontier Inspection Station last year alone who was repatriated at the same time asprocessed 5,042 individuals caught work- Guo Fubo once operated a lathe in a Guo has a similar story.ing illegally abroad. That is a 10 percent State-owned factory in his native Liaoning Both Wang and Guo hired representativesincrease from the previous year, according Province. After he and his wife were laid from underground agencies to help themto officials, and that does not include those off in 2005, they ran a small restaurant, but go abroad. Also known as “snake heads,”illegal emigrants who returned undetected. the couple were forced to shut it down due the representatives called themselves “tour Days after Guo’s detention at the airport’s to big losses. guides,” and were actually part of organiza-repatriation office, 14 workers from Ping- “At that time, several of my old classmates tions that specialize in illegal emigrations.tan of southeastern Fujian Province, found went to foreign countries like Japan, the Would-be emigrants pay the snake30 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 29. SOCIETY A Chinese worker covered with a plastic bag shelters from the snow as he camps outside the Chinese embassy in Bucharest, Romania, February 19, 2009. (Photo by Daniel Mihailescu/AFP)9 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 31
  • 30. SOCIETYA women who has been repatriated from France in BeijingExit and Entry Frontier Inspection Station on March 7, 2008.(Photo by Zhen Hongge)heads a commission for a passport and him there,” explained Wang. “But he never the 1990s,” said Man Juyou, head of thetourist visa. Once the “tourists” arrive in showed up again.” immigration inspection station at Beijinga foreign country, the “guides” take the Over the next few years, Wang worked in International Airport.emigrants’ visas back to China and to the various manual labor jobs. He was last em- Now, Chinese laborers can be foundappropriate embassies to have them can- ployed at a Chinese restaurant, but he was in 180 countries and regions around theceled. This process makes the tours appear fired six months ago. By March 5, 2009, his world, particularly in places like Brazil,authentic. Then, the snake heads tear the options had run out, so he boarded a plane Mexico and Canada, apart from old desti-visa pages off and return the incomplete for home. nation countries such as the United States,passports to the poorly informed owners Regardless of stories of failure, there are a Japan and South Korea.by mail, thus clearing the agency of any few illegal emigrants, such as Chen Youre,responsibility. who succeed, and their stories inspire oth- The Dream, Shattered Wang Xusen’s “tour” group spent several ers to take the chance. Chen, a 46-year-days visiting Europe. In every city they old from Pingtan, Fujian Province, earned During his stay in Spain, Guo Fubovisited, the group got smaller, until the between 600,000 and 700,000 yuan found it extremely difficult to work at theremainder of the group was deserted on a (US$86,000 – 100,000) in six years while restaurant. He frequently had to workstreet in Madrid. working in Israel. overtime and was constantly hounded by “The guide told us that he would be away “The export of Chinese labor, which his boss. He was homesick and could onlyfor a few moments and asked us to wait for grew in the 1980s, reached its height in take comfort in a family portrait, taken32 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 31. SOCIETY A Chinese worker gets out from an improvised shelter as he camps outside the Chinese embassy in Bucharest, Romania, February 19, 2009. (Photo by AFP) on the eve of his journey, showing his any employer in Spain found hiring illegal jobless Chinese immigrants committing smiling wife and son. immigrants faces up to 36 hours in deten- suicide, and the crashing Spanish real estate As time went by, Guo Fubo’s monthly tion and could be fined as much as 60,000 market. But he refused to give up, and hit salary rose from 300 euros to 700 euros, euros. the pavement in search of work. Nobody which not only helped him pay back debt, Spain is not alone. Since the financial would hire him, however, because he did but also kindled hope in him for a better crisis began, the unemployment rate in Po- not have a residence permit. future. But one day in October, 2008 his land rose from 8.8 percent to 10.5 percent. “During the early days of my stay in hopes were dashed when he lost his job. In August, the Polish government revised Spain, I somehow managed to get through Many other illegal laborers also suffered the regulations on labor management in order the hardest times,” he said. “But now, it same misfortune. His abrupt unemploy- to crack down on the one million illegal is the Spanish economy that has failed to ment was a harsh lesson in the reality of the laborers in Poland. bounce back. financial crisis. The prospect of this severe punishment “For me, six months of unemployment With 350,000 unemployed, Spain, with and the occurrence of frequent surprise was six months of starvation,” said Guo, a population of 40 million, has the highest inspections had driven Spanish employers, now back home. “I will never go abroad unemployment rate in the EU. In order to including Guo’s, to fire illegal laborers. again.” guarantee job opportunities for Spanish Guo began searching Chinese-language citizens, the government has cracked down newspapers for other opportunities. He (Rewritten and translated by staff reporter Shao on illegal labor. Since the end of last year, found none. Instead, he read news about Xinfang)9 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 33
  • 32. SPECIAL REPORT A Chinese petitioner takes a two-hour ride to Beijing to air her grievances on March 3, 2009. (Photo by Elizabeth Dalziel /AP) Who Should be Sent to Psychiatric Hospitals?In Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, a young woman human rights.named Zou Yijun claimed that she had been involuntarily When we examine the current role of China’s mentalhospitalized a f ter a domestic quarrel. In Shandong health institutions, we f ind that they too are trappedProvince, Sun Fawu, a local farmer, was deemed mentally in an entangled , of ten di f f icult situation. With theill and forcibly hospitalized af ter he became involved in a rate of mental illness in China increasing f rom 0.27land dispute with the local government. Across the nation, percent in 1950s to 1.35 percent in 1990s, the lack ofthere have been more than 20 such cases of involuntary standardization in treatment has become an urgenthospitalization reported by the media; the combined eff ect problem for the whole of society.of such attention has hel ped spark a series of debates In this series of articles, News China explores the currentconcerning the f uture of the nation’s mental healthcare state of the mental health system in China, where its mostpolicies. pertinent problems lie, and how, through a systematic Psychiatrists argue that involuntary hospitalization is approach, the diagnosis, hospitalization, treatment, andthe safest means of protecting mentally ill patients, while monitoring of the mentally ill, as well as the managementlegalists maintain that involuntary hospitalization should and operation of mental institutions could be both medicallybe applied with caution since it violates f undamental and legally regulated.34 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 33. SPECIAL REPORTA Journey inside the System childhood was a seemingly unremarkable one, and her family life was typical of many of those who live in Guangdong.Prejudice, intolerance and a lack of regulation continue to undermine the Yet in 2005, any semblance of a normalrights of millions of suf ferers of mental disorders in the country. For former life was shattered when Zou’s father diag-involuntary psychiatric patient Zou Yijun, the creation of a mental health law is nosed with terminal cancer. The news, aside from devastating thevital in protecting the lives of future patients. family, set in motion a bizarre chain of By Staff Reporter Zhou Hualei events, which according to Zou, would eventually culminate in her involuntaryO hospitalization. n the morning of October 21, out to her brother for assistance, only to be Immediately after her father’s diagnosis, 2006, 27 year-old Zou Yijun, ignored. As the van doors closed, she felt family members began devising a ritual a website operator from the a short sharp pain as a cold needle was in- they hoped would “drive away the evil spir- southern province of Guang- serted into her bare behind. She later woke it” that had led to her father’s cancer. Thisdong, was brutally kidnapped by a gang of up to find herself imprisoned in a secure ritual, as still customary in some parts ofmen while out visiting her father’s grave in psychiatric facility. China, took the form of a hastily arrangedShenzhen. family marriage. Zou, as the only eligible In an incident that would mark the ‘For Her Own Good’ female sibling, was expected to honor herbeginning of several terrifying years, Zou, family duty.who at the time of the incident was ac- Over two years later, Zou, freed from her Unwillingly to risk further distressingcompanied by her brother, was stuffed into ordeal, successfully sued several of her fam- her expectant family, Zou went ahead withthe back of a waiting van, handcuffed and ily members and two different hospitals for the marriage. Unfortunately, her father diedstripped from the waist down. illegal detainment. exactly one month later, rendering her mar- Humiliated and desperate, Zou screamed The youngest of four children, Zou’s riage meaningless. Zou Yijun, now renamed herself “Guo Shi,” or “Fruit” after becoming a Buddhist nun. (Photo by Zhen Hongge)NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 35
  • 34. SPECIAL REPORT After protracted and painful negotia- or trying to kill anyone,” explained Zhang Madhouse Diarytions, Zou finally divorced her husband Yanchi, a senior doctor from the Baiyunwhereupon she received a settlement of Psychology Hospital. Once inside the Buhu Hospital, another300,000 yuan (US$44,000). round of misery began. An older facil- According to Zou, having learned of Law Vacuum ity, conditions in the Buhu Hospital arethe payout, her mother and siblings for- considered inferior to those at the Baiyunmulated a plan to force Zou into a psy- A few days prior to her involuntary admis- Psychology Hospital. Originally designedchiatric institution and assume control sion to the Baiyun Psychology Hospital, to accommodate 320 patients, by the timeof her wealth. Zou wrote an authorization letter to Huang Zou arrived, patient numbers had reached Her family, however, later offered a very Xuetao, her lawyer, enabling Huang to take 760, over twice its capacity. As a result, liv-different account. in a public statement action on her behalf should anything hap- ing space was small, crowded and poorly lit,released in October 2007, her relatives pen to her. while the bed linen was often unwashed.claimed that Zou had become mentally Yet despite the letter of authorization, the “It was like living in hell and we wereunstable in the months after the divorce, at- lawyer was denied access to Zou. The hos- treated like animals,” Zou later wrote. Ac-tempting suicide no fewer than eight times. pital claimed that mental patients have no cording to her reports, the hospital patientsInvoluntarily hospitalization was, they legal capability and therefore Zou’s authori- were required to take showers in bathroomscountered, “For her own good.” zation was deemed invalid. with faeces strewn across the floor. There Sources close to the family have since “No legal capability? It means all your were no dividing curtains and staff mem-revealed how Zou converted to Buddhism opinions are meaningless, everything you bers were able to casually watch femalein late 2005. In a move that apparently led say is considered untrue and you don’t patients shower naked. It was a cold winter,to criticism from her mother over concerns know how to look after yourself,” explained and after their showers, patients would bethat Zou was, “mixing with bad company,” Huang, adding, “Even convicts enjoy better left shivering, often for extended periods ofher conversion aroused suspicions among protection. In prison, you can complain, time, while waiting for their clothes to befamily members that Zou was “possessed but in a mental hospital you are just an handed out.by evil spirits.” idiot.” Everyday, Zou was prescribed various Unsurprisingly perhaps, Baiyun Psychol- Huang pointed out that since there is drugs often leaving her in a permanent stateogy Hospital in Guangzhou, where Zou no law in China in regard to accepting or of lethargy. After three months, Zou waswas held for some time, remains uncon- refusing hospitalization, people like Zou released on account of being “in stable con-vinced by Zou’s “money grabbing” allega- Yijun find themselves in a vacuum. Under dition” and was taken home by her mother.tions. According to the hospital, 300,000 such circumstances, mental hospitals ap- One month later, having regained heryuan is a relatively small amount in a pros- pear to be accountable only to those who strength, Zou left the confines of her familyperous city like Shenzhen. In addition, they pay the bills. “The ultimate responsibility of home and immediately released a statementpoint out, both Zou’s sisters and brother a hospital is to protect its patients. If a hos- disowning her family.had stable government jobs with above av- pital forsakes this basic duty, then it is no Haunted by her ordeal, Zou began toerage incomes. longer a hospital,” said Huang. write about her experience as a patient According to Zou Linfeng, an official at Confined and denied access to an ap- inside the murky world of psychiatric insti-Baiyun Psychology Hospital, “She (Zou) peal procedure, Zou turned to the media tutions. This writing eventually became ashowed no self-control, and talked endlessly for help. The media publicity generated by 100,000-word autobiography - “The Mad-about her family’s private affairs. No nor- Zou’s case quickly led to an unprecedented house Diary.”mal person would do that.” public outcry. Pressured by public opinion, Having found closure through her writ- According to the hospital, Zou was the Baiyun Psychology Hospital finally al- ing, Zou decided to remove herself perma-suffering from bi-polar affective disorder lowed Zou to return to her home on Octo- nently from the modern world and becomeotherwise known as manic depression, a ber 24, 2006. a Buddhist nun. “Becoming a nun has beenclinical disorder that has been linked to nu- Yet shortly after her release from the Bai- something of a rebirth,” explained Zou.merous historical figures, including Vincent yun Psychology Hospital, Zou was again Throughout China, many sufferersvan Gogh and Earnest Hemingway. forced by her family into another hospital, of mental illness continue to encounter Despite its taboo status, mental illness is the Buhu Hospital in Zhongshan City. prejudice and intolerance. Many are fight-in fact fairly common throughout China. In an attempt to free Zou, Huang again ing to restore their reputations and returnAccording to statistics released by China’s filed repeated complaints with the relevant to normal lives. Using her lawsuit as anCenter for Disease Control and Preven- authorities, including the community police example, Zou now hopes to revive ef-tion in early 2009, more than 100 million station, district procuratorate, city police forts to push forward the formulation ofChinese are thought to suffer from various department and the Guangdong Provincial a mental health law. A move, she believes,forms of psychological disorders. “The men- People’s Congress Standing Committee, all that would ensure cases such as her owntally ill are not necessarily running amok to no avail. are never repeated.36 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 35. SPECIAL REPORTChina’s Mental Health abandoned on the street. What precisely has gone wrong with the country’s mental health system? And whatSystem: In Search of a Cure can be done to fix it? Mental HospitalsAn increasing number of domestic media reports linking mental illness, once a According to a report released by thecondition rarely discussed in China, to a variety of prominent social issues, have Shanghai Mental Health Research Centerled to a renewed public interest in the laws and procedures governing the subject. in 2002 - the latest figure available - there are 969 mental health hospitals in China, among which 712 are public mental health hospitals. The remaining 257 are either operated by the military, state-owned corporations or large comprehensive hospitals. The 712 public hospitals can be further classified into three types. The first type is operated by the Ministry of Civil Affairs as part of the social security network. Their main purpose is to provide food and shelter to patients who are unable to care for themselves. To some extent, these institutions are more like asylums than hospitals. These institutions numbered 123 by 2002. The second type is intended to treat the varying forms of mental illness. Run by the Ministry of Public Health, these hospitals form the backbone of China’s mentalMental patients in a mental insitution in Sichuan doing health system. In 2007, there were 568 suchsome exercises. (Photo by Yuan Dongping) hospitals, accounting for almost 80 percent of all public mental health institutions.M The third type falls under the jurisdiction e nt a l i l l ne s s , a br o a d his pursuit of the issue. of the Ministry of Public Security. Their term covering a wide and Other reports, however, have discussed establishment can be traced back to 1954, often complex variety of less revelatory, but equally damning when a mentally ill person in Xi’an broke conditions, has long been accounts of China’s current mental health into the convoy of the then Vietnameseconsidered a taboo subject by many inside system. In 2008, Hong Kong’s Phoenix President Ho Chi Minh during his stateChina. To change this, issues surrounding Weekly magazine reported the death of a visit to China. After this event, variousthe condition have traditionally been mental patient in Hunan Province, believed institutions were established across thet y pif ied by dispa raging notions of to have occurred after he was denied country to take in mentally ill persons“craziness.” treatment and social welfare by the relevant believed to be hazardous to public security. However, in recent years, the ongoing local organizations. Other accounts have In 1987, the Ministry of Public Securityand controversial practice of involuntary focused on the continued neglect or squalid decided to put all of these institutions underhospitalization for sufferers of mental illness conditions often faced by patients. one identical title of “Ankang” or “Safetyhas helped spark a new, more open debate. According to the Center for Disease and Health,” to distinguish them from Recently, the New Beijing newspaper Control and Prevention, among the 100 other mental hospitals. There are currentlyreported on the case of Sun Fawu, a farmer million people thought to be suffering from 22 Ankang hospitals nationwide.from Shandong Province, who, after a various forms of psychiatric disorders in Theoretically, all the three types oftrip to Beijing to raise awareness of a land China, about 0.5 percent are considered institutions assume a distinct set ofdispute with his local authorities, was to be in a serious condition. However, 70 responsibilities that are complementary toinvoluntarily hospitalized for 20 days by his percent of those in serious condition do each other: The asylum-like hospitals arelocal township government. Sun was only not have access to organized or efficient responsible for taking in patients who havereleased on the condition that he signed a treatment. Some believe that most are no guardians, no source of income and nolegally-binding document agreeing to cease either kept at home by their families or working capacity. The hospitals run by theNEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 37
  • 36. SPECIAL REPORTInside a mental hospital inSichuan Province in the 1980s.(Photo by Yuan Dongping)Ministry of Public Health are obligated to health checkups nationwide. provides another, no less equal, problem.provide regular mental health services and These hospitals, despite a nationwide According to the loca l governmenttreatment. While the Ankang hospitals, reach, are generally overwhelmed by initiative, the city government will pick upunder the Ministry of Public Security, patient numbers. Dr. Chen explained the bill for the patients sent to the hospitalhave the power to implement involuntary how the current 320 beds at her hospital by the 110 Emergency Call Center. Everytreatment to patients deemed hazardous to were significantly fewer than the required month, the hospital has to provide thepublic security. number. According to Dr. Chen, it is government with detailed information However, this seemingly sound system common for patients to share beds. “Yes, the on the costs incurred for reimbursement.does not work as it was originally intended, patients should be categorized. But given the However, the government has yet to paylargely because very few cities contain all cramped circumstances, we have to cook the hospital in full.three types of hospitals. Most cities have everything in the same pot,” said Chen. In 2008, with an unprecedentedonly one mental hospital of any kind while Prompted by the need to maintain the high budget, the hospital received 5.3a large number of small cities have none. city’s appearance, the city government, million yuan (US$770,000) from the cityAs a result, most mental hospitals are in coordination with departments of civil government, yet personnel costs aloneforced to take on multiple responsibilities, affairs, public security, finance, social that year had already totaled more thanadministrated and financed by a complex security, construction and health, launched 6 million yuan. With limited financialweb of government agencies, a system a new initiative in 2006, aimed at providing resources, the hospital is forced to remainwhich, not surprisingly, often leads to secure residency for homeless sufferers understaffed. On one floor, for example, 18confusion. of mental illness. Under the scheme, Dr. nurses have to take care of 87 patients. Chen’s hospital is obliged to take in any To make matters worse, payment fromOne Hospital, Multiple Functions prospective patients collected from the city’s regular patients is not guaranteed. For streets by the 110 Emergency Call Center. Dr. Chen, the most important questionDr. Chen, 47, a senior psychiatrist at a However, shortly after the initiative came following concern over the hospital’smental health hospital in Fujian Province, into effect, Dr. Chen found the hospital capacity is: Where do the patients comehas nearly 30 years experience in the had become packed with homeless or from? Where are their family members?field. Like most of China’s mental health mentally retarded patients who were not Will they pay the bill?institutions, the hospital she works for is “mentally ill” in the strict sense. These Since the hospital, under the city’s newone that is managed by the health ministry. types of “patients” often refused to leave the initiative, is obliged to accept patients sent In 2007, the health ministry, via its hospital even when they were deemed to by the emergency call center, Dr. Chennetwork of 568 mental health institutions, be in stable condition, further straining the revealed how family members have beentook in a combined total of 12.8 million hospital’s already limited resources. known to leave patients on the streetpatients and conducted 540,000 mental Aside from patient numbers, funding before dialing 110. When the patient38 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 37. SPECIAL REPORTarrives in the hospital, the doctors contact Ankang hospitals can take in such patients, during five decades of operational existence,the patient’s family, but the family simply while the other hospitals have no authority have taken in 214,000 mental patients,denies everything. In the end, the hospital to employ involuntary treatment. However, among whom a mere 50,000 fit the aboveis forced to treat the patient for free. since there are only 22 Ankang hospitals descriptions. in the entire country, other mental health Why have the Ankang hospitals takenWho’s Words Count? institutions are also allowed to administer in so many patients outside of their remit? involuntary treatment. The reason is largely financial. Among all According to current policy, hospitals He Tian, Associate Professor from 22 Ankang hospitals, only those in Beijing,under the Ministry of Public Health, such Southwest University of Political Science Shanghai and Heilongjiang Provinceas the one Dr. Chen works at, should only and Law, told News China that according have their budgets covered by the localaccept patients sent by their legal guardians. to Britain’s Mental Health Law, if a mental governments. Hospitals in other parts of the However, in reality, such a procedure is patient is not undertaking activities that country have to create sources of revenuetime consuming and involves additional threaten public security, he or she should by providing services to patients. Therefore,staff. Dr. Chen explained how the hospital not be hospitalized against his or her will. while other government departmentsusually assumes those who send the patients In China, however, according to and hospitals are assuming the practiceto the hospital are, in fact, the patients’ investigations conducted by Jia Xijin, a of involuntary hospitalization, Ankangguardians. Additionally, if a person is medical and social scientist, involuntary hospitals are stepping out of their originalsent to the hospital by certifiable family hospitalization is widespread. areas of responsibility to explore extramembers, they often take it for granted that Involuntary hospitalization can be sources of income.the person is mentally ill. enforced via a diagnosis from a registered The result is that many mentally Dr. Chen admitted that she herself has doctor and the consent of the patient’s ill patients who have the potential toexperienced several cases in which people family or even his employer. No legal threaten public safety are let loose into thewere sent to the hospital by their family procedure is required. There is no mental community. In 2004, Xu Heping, a formermembers because of domestic disputes. health law governing issues in this regard, psychiatric patient, was released withoutIn one case, a wife, with her hands tied, while the Criminal Law only stipulates effective surveillance and went on to stabwas sent to the hospital by her husband. that the government can enforce treatment 15 children and three teachers with a knifeScreaming and struggling, the woman when “necessar y.” However, “when in a Beijing kindergarten, killing one.exhibited all the symptoms of mental illness necessary” lacks clear definition and can Some scholars have argued that Ankangand was hospitalized accordingly. However, therefore be easily stretched to suit a variety hospitals are no longer relevant and shouldDr. Chen later found out that her husband of needs. be shut down. Professor He Tian arguessent her to the hospital after she discovered Dr. Chen’s hospital has been repeatedly that Ankang hospitals should be kept toevidence of his extramarital affair. requested to provide clinical evidence in treat only patients of acute mental illnesses While some family members force regard to those who have lodged complaints who have already committed an offense,a “patient” into hospitalization as a concerning issues of rights encroachment while the incurable and dangerous mentalresult of domestic discord, involuntary by the Office of Letters and Visits, a patients should be kept in the psychiatryhospitalization is often authorized by government agency responsible for handling sections of existing prisons. These prisons,government agencies. China Youth News citizens’ complaints and appeals on various in his view, should also be staffed withreported on October 31, 2007 that Jiang issues. Not wanting to defy the agency, the psychiatrists.Fan, who had been diagnosed as mentally hospital has to dispatch a doctor to the office Perhaps the most important step inill and hospitalized seven years before, to conduct a separate diagnosis there. “If the solving this host of problems is to launcheventually found out that the legal appraisal hospital becomes an agent of government, a mental health law, which at it minimumon her illness was actually issued in the form both the hospital and government will lose should stipulate the rights of mentalof executive order by the Party leader of their credibility,” said Dr. Chen. patients to receive or refuse hospitalization.her native Kaifeng, a major city in Henan Deng Haihua, director of the InformationProvince. Ankang Hospitals Office of the Ministry of Public Health, So who is supposed to have the final said on April 10, 2009 that the draftingsay in deciding if a person is mentally ill As mentioned previously, there are now process of the mental health law hasand should therefore be hospitalized? The 22 Ankang hospitals in 18 provinces, already been initiated. It remains to be seenhospital? The family members? The police intended to take in mental patients who whether such a law will be able to provide aor the court? The question remains largely have committed “murder, arson, rape, or systematic cure for the symptoms of China’sunanswered. have carried out explosions,” and who are mental health system. Theoretically, by the current policy, only “hazardous to public security and threatenthe police have the authority to enforce the social order.” In reality, however, this (Wang Jing, Li Xiang and Li Jia contributed toinvoluntary treatment to those who are policy is not strictly followed. According to the article. Rewritten and translated by Yu Xiao-regarded as a threat to the public, and only statistics released in 2002, Ankang hospitals dong. )NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 39
  • 38. SPECIAL REPORT Chinese petitioners throw written accounts of their grievances in the air at a busy shopping street, near Tiananmen square in Beijing on March 3, 2009. (Photo by Elizabeth Dalziel / AP )The Argument For andAgainst Involuntary Hospitalization By Intern Reporter Wang QianT he practice of involuntar y Appraisal Office at Peking University and to being mentally ill and hence actively seek hospitalization for sufferers of Liu Baiju, Associate Professor of judicial treatment. mental illness has long been one studies from the Chinese Academy of News China: In recent years, there have of controversy. Social Sciences (CASS). been a number of reported cases of mentally The most commonly asserted views are healthy people being subject to involuntarytypically counterpoised between those held “Involuntary Hospitalization is for the hospitalization. What is your opinion onby members of the psychiatric community, sake of the patients’ own protection.” - Sun this issue?who claim involuntary hospitalization Dongdong. Sun:I have very little knowledge aboutserves as a means of protection for both News China: What types of mental illness these particular cases. In the overwhelmingthe patients and the public-at-large, and qualify for either voluntary or involuntary majority of cases, however, it is the patients’legalists, who argue that the practice should hospitalization? And what is the distinction? relatives who initiate the treatment.be applied with caution since it violates Sun: Involuntary hospitalization should What’s wrong with sending a familyfundamental principles of personal freedom. be, strictly speaking, applied only to those member to the hospital if he or she has a News China has spoken with leading who threaten the interests of the public. problem that is preventing him or her fromproponents from both sides of the debate; In reality, however, not one patient inside living a normal life? In my opinion, it’sprinted below are interviews with Sun of a psychiatric hospital is voluntarily no different to sending someone sufferingDongdong, Director of the Judicial hospitalized, as no patient would ever admit from appendicitis to the hospital for an40 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 39. SPECIAL REPORToperation. If neither the relatives, nor the of the patients are upheld? that a number of individuals have beengovernment send those in need to hospital Sun: Patients are not only dangerous to forced to enter the hospital by their relativesfor treatment, it is likely they would end others, but also to themselves. Hospitalization who, out of a variety of ulterior motivations,up alone wandering the streets. Is this itself is a means of protecting their rights. do so with the connivance of the hospital.“protecting the rights of the mentally ill?” What is your view on such reports?News China: Many patients appear to “Those who refuse to receive involuntary Liu: Some family members may indeedexhibit what we might describe as normal treatment are likely to be mentally sound be driven by malevolent motives. What Ibehavior, especially those patients who have individuals.” - Liu Baiju would like to stress is the more serious issuerepeatedly issued complaints and petitions News China: By what standard does a of a widespread failure to conduct seriousconcerning a perceived violation of their doctor determine whether a person should diagnosis. Some psychiatric hospitals arerights. Is it right to force them to receive receive involuntary treatment? willing to hospitalize anyone so long as thetreatment? Liu: There is only one national-level fees are paid. Worst of all, some psychiatrists,Sun: Mental illness does not necessarily r e g u l a t ion re g a rd i n g i nvolu nt a r y driven by personal interest or pressure fromresult in insane behavior; patients do not hospitalization: The appendix document external political forces, will knowinglyalways have disheveled hair and a dirty to the Circular on Strengthening the provide a false diagnosis. These individualsface. Many mentally ill patients may appear Management of Mental Hospitals, issued are guilty of illegal confinement.quite normal. by the Ministry of Health on November News China: In the General Provision (For example,) those complainants and 23, 2001, which stipulates five conditions of the Civil Law it is clearly stipulatedpetitioners should themselves be subjected under which a person can be subject to that family members should exerciseto forced hospitalization, due to the involuntary hospitalization. guardianship over the mentally ill. Isdisruptive effect they have on social order. One of the conditions is “refusal to this guardianship being abused if theAs a matter of fact, their so-called problems receive treatment.” A ridiculous condition, family then chooses to initiate a period ofare either non-existent or have long been as any mentally sound individual would of involuntary hospitalization?solved. Yet still they continue to complain course “refuse to receive treatment,” and Liu: Actually, the General Provision ofwhile at the same time turning a deaf ear what’s more, he or she has every right to do the Civil Law does not mandate that theto any offers of an explanation. Such acts so. Making “refusal to receive treatment” a guardian has the right to send an individualinevitably catch the attention of the media criteria for forced hospitalization is gangster to the hospital against his or her will. Fromwhich, having little knowledge of mental logic. This in reality deprives those who both a legal and human rights perspective,illness, become concerned that the patients’ are involuntarily institutionalized of their involuntary hospitalization limits patients’rights are in some way being encroached. personal rights. personal freedom, harms their physical This problem is not unique to China. News China: Some psychiatrists claim that health, and violates universal principles ofIt is a headache haunting many countries involuntary hospitalization is intended to human rights.throughout the world. protect the mentally ill. What do you say to The mentally ill, as citizens, have the rightNews China: In China, involuntary this? to enjoy their personal freedom as conferredhospitalization is not only enforced by the Liu: Psychiatry is still an empirical by the Constitution, and their rights shouldpolice departments, but also by both the science. Hence, it can be highly subjective. not be deprived and limited without legalcivil affairs and the health departments. In real life, psychiatrists, under the sway procedure. In most countries, mental healthCan you elaborate on this? of numerous human prejudices, often laws are enacted to regulate issues related toSun: In essence, China’s Criminal Law take it for granted that the individuals involuntary hospitalization. If the individualonly grants the police the authority to sent to hospital by their own relatives are suffering from mental illness does not feelenforce involuntary treatment. The public mentally ill. that the illness is doing him or her harm,security departments run their own mental It is only natural that any healthy nor does he or she pose a threat to the safetyhospitals. But the civil affairs and the person, caught in such a situation would of others, he or she should not be subjecthealth departments have no legal authority vehemently dispute being hospitaliaed. to forced treatment. An individual’s rightin this regard. However, there are only 23 This, however, only serves as evidence of to refuse hospitalization is widely acceptedpsychiatric hospitals under the authority of their perceived “lack of self-consciousness.” internationally. Unfortunately, this right hasthe Ministry of Public Security nationwide. If an individual resists forced treatment yet to be legally recognized in China.In places where there are no such hospitals, violently, he or she would be proven tothe health and civil affairs departments, be hysterical. If an individual talks about (Editor’s Note: The above interview first publishedwhich have their own psychiatric hospitals, being wrongfully prosecuted by their in the Chinese Edition of News China, resulted in a torrent of criticism directed at Professor Sunare forced to step in. As long as involuntary relatives, he or she would be taken as being Dongdong. Under mounting pressure, Sunhospitalization is first authorized by the paranoid. Whatever the situation, once in issued an apology to the general public on Chi-local government, there remain no legal the hospital, the individual is doomed to be nanews.com on April 6 for his comments on theproblems. diagnosed as mentally ill. mental state of complainants and petitioners.)News China: How do you ensure the rights News China: Various reports have claimed (Edited and translated by Yu Xiaodong)NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 41
  • 40. economy GDP growth. In the wake of the economic downturn, people in advanced economies are inclined to save more and spend less. This is bad news for China’s export sector, where a long slowdown is expected before demand from overseas markets recovers. Mr. Zhang Ming, Deputy Director of the World Political and Economic Institute with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, recently suggested that it is likely that China will see zero growth in foreign trade. The Chinese government, in response to falling levels of foreign trade, announced a stimulus package worth 4 trillion yuanOverlooking Hong Kongs Victoria Harbor and business district, tourists take a rest at a coffee shop. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) (US$585 billion), and adopted a series of policies designed to favor the export sector.China, a Safe Haven? Among these policies are tax rebates for items such as textiles, clothes, metals, steel and petro-chemical products. However, they areAmid global economic uncertainty, the Chinese economy remains one of easy targets of anti-protectionist sentiment. Since the first G20 summit last fall, 17 outthe few financial markets that may post positive growth in 2009. of 20 attending member nations have taken By Staff Reporter Sun Chunyan a variety of protectionist measures to defend domestic industries, leading China to take aT number of concrete steps to demonstrate its he ongoing financial crisis has oped markets, are relatively absent in China. determination to fight protectionism. dealt a heavy blow to the world’s This absence has helped position China as a A purchasing group recently toured Euro- major economies, resulting in one safe haven for foreign owned banks. pean counties to sign contracts worth US$ of the worst economic downturns On November 18, 2008, both Société 13 billion, while another group is preparingin living memory. Although any notion of Générale, one of the world largest banks, and to tour the United States.de-coupling is misplaced, due largely to the Singapore’s largest bank, DBS, set up their Recent comments by Zhou Xiaochuan,intertwined nature of world markets, China first branches in Beijing. Governor of the People’s Bank of China, con-remains one of the few economies that may The widespread presence of foreign owned cerning possible reform of the internationalpost positive growth in 2009. banks in China and the relatively loose reserve currency have led to an unprecedent- One such indication can be found in monetary policy has helped the market to ed amount of controversy. In Zhou’s view thethe continuing number of transnational maintain a plentiful credit flow. Since last international community should take steps tocompanies currently expanding operations November, newly issued loans have increased switch from the current US dollar-dominatedin China. In Beijing’s Yizhuang Economic considerably. The aggregated amount of monetary system to a super-sovereign mon-Zone, Nokia, the world’s leading mobile newly issued loans in the first two months of etary system.phone handset producer, is expanding its pro- 2009 totaled 2.67 trillion yuan (US$390.78 Zhou’s suggestion was put forward againstduction capacity to meet increasing demand billion), a record high since statistics were the backdrop of a depreciation of the US dol-from Chinese consumers. first introduced in 1998. An official from lar and rising fears over the safety of Chinese In addition to expanding operations, a Chinese central bank commented, “We’ve foreign reserves. Despite that, however, thenumber of transnational companies are also got abundant liquidity.” internationalization of the Renminbi (RMB)considering establishing new projects in the Such confidence perhaps explains the is unrealistic in the short term. More practi-Yizhuang Economic Zone. Combined, these Shanghai Composite Index’s recent surge cal is its introduction as a regional currency.examples create the impression that China is from 2000 to 2500 points. Additionally, In Guangdong Province, the Yangtze Riverperhaps immune to financial meltdown while many institutional investors, including Delta and some border areas, the RMB is al-large companies, seizing the opportunity, are UBS Securities, are considering building ready used in trade transactions. In addition,taking advantage of the crisis to increase their up their positions in China. the Chinese government has done severalinvestment in China. The World Trade Organization projects monetary swaps with some countries, includ- Ironically, the relative isolation of the Chi- that the global trade volume will decline by 3 ing Argentina, Indonesia, South Korea, Ma-nese financial market has served as a cushion percent this year, the worst contraction since laysia and Belarus.against the financial crisis. Highly leveraged the onset of World War II. In 2008, the ex-finance models, widely adopted within devel- port sector contributed 2 percent to China’s (Rewritten and translated by Huang Shan)42 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 41. economyNEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 43
  • 42. economyInterview with Malcolm Robinson, Senior Portfolio Manager-Avenue Asia Strategy:Investment Opportunities and Challenges in China“China will benefit if it opens its capital market a bit more. ” By Staff Reporter Chen DongyiA venue Capital Group arrived in China in 1999. While it has been around for a decade, the private equity (PE) fundis hardly known by the general public inChina, despite claiming that it may be thelargest foreign investor in China’s non-performing loans (loans in default). Avenue Capital was established in NewYork in 1995 and manages total assets ofUS$16.1 billion (January, 2009). In Chi-na, Avenue has made significant privateequity investment in around ten compa-nies. On April 11, Malcolm Robinson, SeniorPortfolio Manager-Avenue Asia Strategy,spoke with News China from his Beijingoffice. Mr. Robinson revealed that thiswas his first interview in about five years. Malcolm RobinsonHe talked about the many investment op-portunities and challenges in China. and alternative energy. have been more opportunities now than inNews China: You are in charge of manag- The third is we invest directly in fixed- the past. It is actually the foreign investorsing a fund worth US$3.4 billion in Asia. income bonds and notes. A lot of investors who are facing a crisis, not investees, theWhat investment opportunities you are that do direct investment either focus on target companies. During the Asian finan-interested in China? private equity investment or fixed-income cial crisis that happened in 1997, it wasRobinson: We are among the few groups bonds, but we do both. Asian countries that experienced the crisis,in Asia who actually do the following type And the fourth thing we do is what not foreign investors. Again, in this case,of investments. Usually, an investment we call mezzanine investing, which is be- foreign banks and countries are feeling thefirm only does one of these, maybe two, tween pure debt and pure equity. It’s very crisis, not necessarily China itself.but we do four. important because it gives us a lot of flex- At the end of 2007, I became very nerv- First of all, we invest in non-performing ibility when talking to a company. We can ous about the global situation so we decel-loans. As a matter of fact, we think we give them different types of capital, like erated new investments in Asia. We onlyhave invested the most foreign capital into equity or loans. made small number of investments in theChina’s non-performing loans in the past News China: What percentage of your first ten months of 2008. This puts us in athree or four years. Asia fund is allocated to China market? very strong position, which, coupled with Second, we also invest directly in Robinson: Approximately half would be our flexibility, and the fact that China’scompanies and help them grow. We have invested in China. economy is still growing, although at ainvested approximately 1 billion dollars News China: Given the current economic slower pace, means that it remains a gooddirectly into China just in the last three environment and global crisis, do you still opportunity for us to invest in China.years. We have invested in about 10 com- have confidence in investing in China? Investment is a function of two factors:panies. We have invested in health care, Why or why not? how profit grows, and the price for thateducation, infrastructure, financial service Robinson: The short answer is yes. There potential growth. We think there are pros-44 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 43. economypects for growth in China, the price for commercial contracts. To enter into a the financial crisis will affect China’s re-which is falling. commercial contract is quite lengthy and form of its financial system. What do you Of course there are risks. There are sec- complicated, and to ensure that it will be think China can learn from the turmoiltors in China that are having a hard time, interpreted and enforced in the proper on Wall Street?such as the textile and toy industries. manner is a key concern for a lot of people Robinson: The Wall Street model is clearlyNews China: What sectors in China are investing in China. To be fair, it’s also a failure. The question is what shouldyou interested in now? a major concern around the world. You change. China could improve its financialRobinson: Agricultural companies can be need to have a proper legal framework. sector and be more open, but should notquite interesting in China, I didn’t realize China has been making an effort to create follow Wall Street or London.this until a year ago when I learned about a network of laws to make business more The key factors for the failure of Wallseveral seed companies. China is leading transparent. Street can be summarized in this way:the development of seeding technology, My second concern is access to high- interest conflicts, compensation that is notwhich is now being used in China. But quality people. Five or ten years ago, the tied to long-term performance, and irre-there are a lot of countries like India, the first thing a company would do after re- sponsible spending of others’ investments.Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, who ceiving an investment is expand capacity, All the three reasons counteract the theoryhave not reached the same level. We were but now it goes after more qualified peo- that the market can self-regulate.trying to invest in Chinese seed companies ple. That’s a phenomenal change. There are These factors always existed, but the oneto help them expand to other countries. a lot of good people in China, but there key difference is the amount of leverage.There is huge opportunity in this field. are also a lot of companies that want those The easiest way to regulate the market is Unfortunately, it is not easy for us to people. That’s why we invest in education to make sure the banks do not have tooconvince the companies to expand, as they and training services. much leverage. When I entered into thewant to continue focusing on China. But The third thing is taxes, not only for industry 20 years ago, the leverage ofI think such technologies have already China, but also for the changing world. banks on average was 8 to 12 times theirmatured in China and their potential for Investors are concerned about changes to net worth, but I was very concerned infurther growth is low. tax laws. 2008 when some banks’ leverage rose to Another example is pharmaceutical The fourth issue is how to get capital 30-33 times, caused by changes in regula-companies that make traditional Chinese into China. There is a very straightforward tion.medicine. We will try to convince them to and descriptive way of getting money into I do believe China will benefit if itexport more. Heavy equipment manufac- China. That is not the issue. The issue is opens its capital market a bit more, but Ituring in constructing and mining sectors, the nature of the money in China. If there believe the slow pace of this process willand train locomotives are also a huge ex- is much more flexibility in China regard- prove to be the right answer. China willport market. ing capital (equity or debt), it would be learn lessons from the mistakes in the US.News China: What are your major con- helpful. The real problem in the US was leverage incerns when investing in China? News China: What happened on Wall the system and conflicting interests in theRobinson: Well, the number one issue Street has taught China a lesson. Now ex- market, not the fact that the market wasis the consistency and enforceability of perts and observers are talking about how opened up.NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 45
  • 44. internationalThe Committee of 100:Our Greatest Value is that We ExistThe Committee of 100 was founded in 1989 by a group of concerned Chinese Americans who recognizedthe need to bring a Chinese American perspective into discussions surrounding US-China relations. NewsChina sat down with the four governors of the Committee of 100 to discuss the group’s history, currentissues and insights into US-China relations on the eve of the group’s 20th anniversary. By News China StaffI t has always been a tradition for of renowned Chinese Americans to create from Columbia University, along with overseas Chinese to establish vari- a strong voice for the Chinese American Henry Tang and I.M. Pei, all participated ous organizations to facilitate life for community. in establishing the Committee of 100. newly arrived fellow countrymen and Former President of the Committee, And from the very beginning, the Com-women. Many of these organizations have Henry Tang, who is a successful Wall Street mittee required its members to be capabledeveloped into important social forces in investor and also a good friend of I.M. Pei, of handling sensitive issues.their communities. recalled that Pei was the leading Chinese “We invited people to join the Com- The Committee of 100 is no different American to express his opinion on Sino- mittee and we cultivated their interests init this regard, but when it was founded in US relations and other issues, and so I.M. Sino-US relations and their competency in1989, its focus was to bring together elite Pei was the right person to lead such an or- dealing with sensitive issues,” noted Henrymembers of the American Chinese com- ganization. “He clearly was the most widely Tang.munity. Twenty years later, some members recognized Chinese person in the West,” At first, the group had 40 members, whoof the Committee have become senior of- recalled Tang. all had extraordinary relations with China,ficials of the US government. A total of six people: Shirley Young including T.Y. Lin, a renowned structural The Committee of 100 is non-partisan, (Vice President for China Strategic De- engineer and bridge designer, who was alsonon-profit organization committed to sev- velopment and Asia Pacific Counselor for a personal friend of former Chinese Presi-eral goals: to provide a platform for Chinese General Motors), Oscar Tang (Trustee dent Jiang Zemin.Americans to take part in policy discussions of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Although non-partisan, the Committeeand bicultural exchanges; to encourage New York), Yo-Yo Ma (Grammy Award- has never hid its explicit political stance.constructive relations between the peoples winning composer and cellist), and the But, it is the Committee’s guiding principalof US and Greater China; and to promote late Chien-Shiung Wu, a physics professor – to seek common points while respectingthe full participation of Chinese Americansin all aspects of American life. It is not easy to become a member of theCommittee, as membership requirementsstipulate that a candidate must have a cer-tain level of US or worldwide prestige inhis or her career, and must possess a strongpersonal character. In addition, the candi-date must receive recommendation lettersfrom three members, and be reviewed andapproved by a special committee. The history of the Committee of 100dates back to the 1989 incident in Tianan-men Square. At that time, I.M. Pei, afamous Chinese American architect wasinundated with media enquiries about hisresponse to the incident, which led him tocome up with the idea of gathering a group Governors of the Committee of 100 - (from left) Oscar Tang, Henry Tang and Shirley Young - spoke with News China on April 2 in New York46 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 45. international The Committee of 100 members and guests attend the 16th Annual Conference in San Francisco in 2006.NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 47
  • 46. internationalArchitect I. M. Pei, center (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)differences – that gains public admiration. mittee, where the committee sees itself Locke, who was the Governor of the StateIt is not easy to uphold with such a large, now, and what the future holds. Below is a of Washington and now the Secretarydiverse group. The Committee now boasts transcript from that interview. of Commerce; and Steven Chu, a recenta membership of around 150 elite Chinese News China: What is different between the member. The Committee is full of peopleAmericans, such as Chen-Ning Yang (No- Committee of 100 today and the Commit- like that. We sort of knew that it wouldbel Prize-winning physicist), Jerry Yang tee of 100 twenty years ago? In 1989, what eventually expand, but we didn’t know how(founder of Yahoo!), Kaifu Li (President were the conditions that made forming the large it would get.of Google China), Dr. David Ho (pioneer organization necessary? Why “100?” Shirley Young: In the last 20 years theAIDS researcher), Gary Locke (US Secre- Shirley Young: First of all, today we have Committee of 100 has started a numbertary of Commerce) and Steven Chu (US 150 members, when we started we didn’t of initiatives, such as: The corporate board,Secretary of Energy). even have 40. With “100” in the name, it Chinese language classes, opinion surveys, During the past twenty years, members means we were not looking for thousands. and mentoring. They all have the sameof the Committee have often traveled It was meant to be a fairly small group, and theme, which is to serve as a bridge.between the Chinese mainland, Taipei it was not going to be a grassroots organiza- Henry Tang: And to make sure that Chi-and Hong Kong. In 1994, I.M. Pei led 30 tion. Of course we are trying not to be just nese people in America participate in allmembers of the Committee to visit former ten, either. We want to be at least signifi- aspects of American life.Chinese President Jiang Zemin in Beijing, cant enough to have a voice. Oscar Tang: Another thing that hasand in the same year he visited Lee Teng- We originally focused on US-China rela- changed is the environment in China.hui in Taipei. tions, but it quickly became clear that we Twenty years ago, the Committee was cre- The group celebrates it 20th anniversary also had to address issues relating to Chinese ated in the midst of crisis, a very negativeamid vast changes in China, the relation- Americans living in America. And besides event for China. Since then, the relationshipship between China and the US, and the increases in the number of members, mem- between China and the US has becomerelationship between China and the world. bership in the Committee of 100 has become very important. Therefore the interest in,News China recently sat down with the much broader, with people from different and the need for the Committee, I think,four governors of the Committee of 100 – walks of life and different backgrounds… has increased.Shirley Young, Oscar Tang, Henry Tang, Henry Tang: …who come from many News China: The Committee of 100 releas-and Yo-Yo Ma – to discuss a range of different sectors of Chinese American es regular surveys on American attitudes to-topics, including the history of the com- life – Leroy Chow, an astronaut; Gary ward Chinese and Asian Americans. What48 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 47. internationalis the main purpose? whose administration has three cabinet Yo-Yo Ma: Since the election of PresidentShirley Young: We started the survey members of Asian descent? Obama, people have been talking aboutin the 1990s. The first study was about Oscar Tang: I think it is a significant step on America as a post-racial society. I believeAmericans’ attitudes towards China. We a continuum of change. Who would have there is truth to that idea, especially forpresented the report to leaders in China, thought 20 years ago that the US would younger generations. That being said, Iand they showed a lot of interest. We have have an African American president? But think the insider/outsider relationship,done this ever since. When the study was gradually through different programs and or the experience of being “the other” isdone about the American attitude towards initiatives, this country came to make posi- present in all our interactions every day. Inthe Chinese Americans, I remember Sena- tive decisions to incorporate and include any given day or week, anyone of any eth-tor Diane Feinstein was very concerned the African American community. When nicity or identity will experience being onthat there were still negative stereotypes, it starts in the level of leadership, if you will, the outside as well as being on the inside.like, “The Chinese are very smart and it gradually becomes accepted within the News China: When it comes to unfair treat-they are very capable, but I am not sure I general public. But I don’t think this type of ment of Chinese people in America, howtrust them because they may be disloyal.” acceptance is fully realized yet. does the Committee of 100 help? Why was itI think these studies have made significant Shirley Young: I don’t think it ever will necessary for the Committee to be involvedcontributions. be. While we have an African American in cases, such as Wen Ho Lee, the Chinese-Henry Tang: I think the survey serves president, there will still be racial discrimi- American citizen accused of spying?many purposes. One is that each survey nation in various pockets of society. I think Henry Tang: I think institutions can domakes comparisons to ones that came the key is that we have a model to aspire much more than individuals, no matter howbefore. Experts say that, in order to make to, where Chinese Americans and Asian capable the individual is. Institutions canvaluable comparisons, you need five to ten Americans are accepted in those leadership reach out farther, have longevity, and are ableyears of surveys like these. The newest sur- roles. Of course, it does not mean we won’t to mobilize and galvanize. The greatest valuevey asks questions that people were reluc- see crimes on occasion or discrimination of the Committee of 100 is the fact we exist,tant to discuss, but by making it somewhat against Chinese or Asian Americans. and that we have a sustained a fairly clearanonymous, we can understand it better in I also think there is a difference between mission over twenty years.the context of a societal issue rather than an Chinese Americans and Chinese in China We need to make sure that the Commit-individual one. in terms of people’s perceptions, unfortu- tee continues to exist as part of the Ameri-Shirley Young: The most recent study sur- nately, and this is part of the Committee of can society that tries to create bridges ofveyed the general population and Congres- 100’s role, to create a bridge of understand- understanding so that we don’t have moresional administrative assistants. We found ing. The view of China is still highly stere- problems that are based on misunderstand-that there was a relatively improved attitude otypical, even among educated people and ings, like case of Dr. Wen Ho Lee.toward China among the general population, journalists, who still hold stereotypes about The problem with his case was the waysomewhere near fifty percent was positive, “Communist China.” In this way, I think it led to misunderstandings among thebut the number among the Congressional Chinese Americans are different, so we can public. In March of 1999, a New Yorkassistants was somewhere near nineteen per- serve as a bridge help people understand Times article reported that a “Chinesecent. That is a huge gap. It means we have a that China is not a monster or the future scientist” was found to be spying. Shirleylot of work to do, especially in a very impor- enemy. Young and I took issue with the Newtant segment of our country. Henry Tang: I think it is encouraging York Times’ usage of the term “ChineseYo-Yo Ma: I think of a survey as a mo- to compare what is happening now to 20 scientist,” because, in fact, the person ac-mentary snapshot of public opinion, and years ago. Now, there are young Chinese cused of spying was an American citizenrepeatedly releasing a survey gives everyone Americans as well as Asian Americans working for an American laboratory. Thisthe opportunity to see how public opinion who have always wanted a career in is how things get messy. The Committeechanges and evolves over time. Its wonder- politcs. Twenty years ago it seemed that pulled together six or seven members whoful that the Committee of 100 makes this Chinese Americans thought political ap- questioned how and why he was publiclysurvey available to give people the oppor- pointments were the only way to get into named, but not charged. Some of ourtunity to see how complex views are, and politics. But now, Asians can get elected, members come from the best law firmsthat any single stereotype is an admission to like the Governor of Louisiana, Bobby of this country. The government’s casebeing ignorant of “the other.” Jindal, or Congressman David Wu. Port- began to weaken, and because of the legalNews China: In an upcoming conference land, Oregon is not exactly a hotbed of challenges [the Committee helped bringsponsored by the committee, one of the Asian American population. But there he up], a lot of the evidence did not standmain topics of discussion is how public is, now in his sixth term in office – that’s up in court. The judge apologized andattitude towards Chinese and Asian Ameri- 12 years! In Cupertino, California, there the New York Times published a retrac-cans as “the other” has changed. How has have been more than six Asian mayors in tion. When the environment is right, theit changed, and in particular, how is this the last 20 years. Political participation is Committee can rise to the occasion andreflected in the election of Barack Obama, improving. access its huge network.NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 49
  • 48. international J apan was arguably busier than the Democratic People’s Republic of KoreaNorth Korea’s Rocket (DPRK) in the days leading up to the DPRK’s launch of a multistage rocket.and Japan’s Drama What might have been a normal week- end during the season in which the beauty of Japan’s cherry blossoms reach their peak wasThe North Korean rocket launch put its neighbor Japan into a state of panic. far from normal. Blaring loudspeakers, ten- sion within the government and an overly- By Zhang Liangui excited media seemed to suggest clouds of war gathering over the island nation. Nevertheless, the drama-filled days came to a sudden halt when the DPRK fired its rocket. Preparing for War On February 24, the same day Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso met with US president Bar- rack Obama at the White House, a spokesman for the DPRK Committee of Space Technolo- gy announced that the DPRK was preparing to test the Kwangmyongsong-2, an experimental communications satellite to be launched on a Galaxy-2 rocket, at its East Sea Space Launch- ing Base located in Hwadae county in North Hamgyong Province. In the days following the announcement, officials from Prime Minister Aso’s cabinet scoffed at the notion that the DPRK would launch a communications satellite, claiming it was more likely an attempt to restart its failed ballistic missile program. In 2006, the DPRK attempted to launch the Taepodong-2 missile, a ballistic missile capable of carrying a warhead. The attempt garnered a UN Security Council resolution forcing the DPRK to suspend activi- ties related to any ballistic missile program. If the DPRK was to go ahead with the pro- posed Galaxy-2 rocket, the Japanese threatened to intercept the rocket with its Missile Defense System and impose further sanctions on the DPRK if the rocket flew over Japan. The DPRK government responded by de- claring that any attempt to intercept the satellite by Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), or the United States would be viewed as an act of war. On March 27, the Japanese Defense Min- ister Yasukazu Hamada ordered Japanese In front of a Self- Defense Force base Self-Defense Forces to be prepared to destroy in Akita Prefecture, the DPRK’s rocket if the launch failed and several Japanese fragments fell into the Japanese territory. After people observe the deployed PAC-3 the order was made, the Patriot Advanced Ca- ground-to-air missile pability-3 (PAC-3) missiles deployed at the Air launchers on April 4. Self-Defense Force’s Hamamatsu Air Base in50 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 49. internationalShizuoka Prefecture were transported to theGround Self-Defense Force’s stations at AkitaPrefecture and Iwate Prefecture. Japan’s Aegisdestroyers “Kingkong” and “Chokai,” armedwith sea-based interception missiles (SM3s)moved from their base in Nagasaki into theSea of Japan. Another Aegis destroyer, “Ki-rishima” left its Yokosuka base in KanagawaPrefecture for the Pacific Ocean to track therocket on radar. As the Japanese central government pre-pared for the worst, so too did the local gov-ernments of Aomori and Tottori, cities that A group of South Koreans watching news of DPRK launching Satellite image of the launch site at Musudan-ri, DPRK. rockets at Seoul Station on April 4.would be on the front lines if a war betweenthe DPRK and Japan broke out. Prepara- rocket from the DPRK. projectile’s trajectory and where it ended uptions included high-level meetings, air-raid Critics lambasted the government, accus- was needed before confirming whether or notdrills, and civil safety procedure reviews. ing it of making “a big show and upsetting it was Taepodong-2 missile. When the Tae- The competition between Japanese me- the nation just because a bird flew by?” podong-1 missile was fired in 1998, it tookdia to reveal shocking details and breaking The criticisms subsided, however, with Japan about two months for sinilar analysis.news from the DPRK further stoked the the DPRK launched its rocket. Japan’s reaction towards the DPRK’stense atmosphere. Stories surfaced claiming At 11:30 a.m., Tokyo time on April 5, launch is not irrational. The two countriesthe DPRK had successfully fitted nuclear the Galaxy-2 multi-stage rocket lifted off. still have unresolved issues, including the is-warheads on its 1,300 kilometer-range (800 Its first stage of separation occurred 7 min- sue of Japanese hostages being held in Northmiles) No-Dong missiles, and that a few of utes after, and the first wreckage fell into Korea, and both Taro Aso and his predeces-these missiles were ready to be deployed. The the Sea of Japan 280 kilometers (173 miles) sor are always quick to gain political capitalmedia could not substantiate these stories, west of Akita Prefecture. At 11:43 a.m., the when using harsh words with the DPRK.but because Japan is within this range, the Galaxy-2 rocket successfully passed over Ja- Additionally, a recalcitrant DPRK offers apublic panicked. pan and the second stage wreckage fell into good pretext for Japan to develop its military the Pacific Ocean. strength, for example, Japan started to buildOne False Alarm The later investigation showed that the its Missile Defense System in response to the projectile did no harm to Japan, nor did it DPRK’s launch of the Taepodong-1 missileOn Saturday, April 4 at 10:00 a.m. Tokyo leave any debris within Japan’s domain. in 1998.time, the Korean Central News Agency of Yet Japan’s harsh stance on the DPRKthe DPRK aired news that the satellite was Japan on the Outside is not echoed throughout the internationalready for a launch, causing the tension in community. Indeed, both the US and theJapan to intensify. Once the DPRK rocket launched, the Japa- ROK have endorsed sanctions on the DPRK, At 12:16 p.m., the Japanese central gov- nese government condemned it as “a grave but neither has been as severe as Japan. In ad-ernment sent a message to all levels of lo- provocation” and insisted that the launch had dition, both China and Russia, as permanentcal governments and media claming “the violated the UN Security Council’s 2006 res- members of the Security Council have ad-DPRK has launched a flying object.” The olution. Japan demanded the Security Coun- vocated a more discreet attitude. On several152 outdoor loudspeakers at Tottori started cil take further measures including adopting occasions, high-ranking Chinese officialsbroadcasting to all its residents; the Akita a new resolution regarding the DPRK. have called on the international communityPrefecture published the message on its gov- Soon after the launch, the DPRK an- to remain calm and exercise restraint towardsernment’s homepage and sent text messages nounced that it was a success, and that their DPRK’s attempt to launch satellites.to the entire mobile phone system. The Japa- Kwangmyongsong-2 experimental commu- To make matters worse for Japan, it feltnese Prime Minister Taro Aso, who had just nication satellite had entered its scheduled neglected during the entire episode. Whilereturned from the G20 Summit in London, orbit. Shortly after, the ROK and Russia con- the DPRK informed China, the US, andrushed from his residence to his office in or- firmed there was indeed a satellite attached to Russia about its time of launch, and theder to prepare an address to the nation. the DPRK rocket. Japan, however, was not ROK also got the message from the US, no But five minutes later, the message was immediately willing to accept this. The Japa- one told Japan, the only six-party nation tocanceled. It seemed to be a false alarm. The nese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada be left in the dark. As a result, Japan hasFPS-5 radar deployed by Japan’s Air Self- stated on April 6 that it would take time to been left in an awkward position regardingDefense Force at Asahikawa city in Chiba confirm what the DPRK had launched. Ac- the DPRK and this latest incident.Prefecture had mistaken an unidentified cording to sources from the Defense Minis-object flying over the Sea of Japan for the try, comprehensive analysis to determine the (Rewritten and translated by Li Xiaoming)NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 51
  • 50. CULTUREHigh Speed Hao -Chinese Cinema’s Fastest New ThrillThe success of the Ning Hao’s “Crazy Racer” off ers hope to a new wave of Chinese talent lookingto achieve box office success on a tight budget. By Liang Zhenhua Film posters for Crazy Racer by director Ning Hao.D irector Ning Hao, frequently rare for films of its kind, and made over nese directors have yet to successfully tackle referred to as “China’s Guy 100 million yuan (US$14 million) at the the style of films like “Pulp Fiction” and R itchie,” is perhaps best box office. “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” known for his 2006 black Compared with his last blockbuster, But Ning Hao is different. Throughoutcomedy “Crazy Stone.” Ning Hao’s latest release wrestles with a the fast-paced “Crazy Racer,” the intricate Depicting assorted attempts to protect, more ambitious and convoluted plot. The relationships between the large numberssteal and rob a priceless piece of jade, “Crazy film focuses on the adventures of an express of characters are thoroughly explored - theStone’s” nonlinear story proved immensely delivery man, Geng Hao, a silver-medal cy- plot develops naturally through six parallelpopular with moviegoers. The 3 million clist banned for life after mistakenly taking storylines, carefully interwoven despite theyuan (US$490,000) production raked in performance-enhancing drugs and failing many plot tangents and turns. The sheerover 20 million yuan (US$2.9 million) in a drug test. His coach is shocked by the ac- number of twists can test even the mostrevenue, making Ning - then a young, as- cusation, and is unable to mount a defense. engaged audience member, so much so thatpiring director with only two independent As the story unfolds, the audience is intro- viewing every minute of the film is crucialfilms and several music videos to his name - duced to an assortment of hapless charac- to understanding the whole movie.a cinematic icon. ters including murderers, drug traffickers, a Far from the handsome, strong supermen With a 20 million yuan investment and salesman and his radically overweight wife, that one would expect to play the leadingsupport from the countrys flagship movie a successful Thai boxer, and two unlucky roles in such blockbusters, Ning Hao prefersproduction company, China Film Group, cops, all carefully interwoven in complex leading men that are nondescript - ordinarythe 32-year-old director’s follow up picture, but convincing ways. Joes, men of seemingly little value or influ-the similarly-titled, “Crazy Racer,” arrived Enthusiasts of Western cinema are ac- ence. These regular guys, overlooked byearlier this year. First screened during the customed to films with multiple main society, have unique desires and come fromSpring Festival holiday, the film has since characters and interconnected storylines, diverse backgrounds. They struggle to findgone on to commercial and critical success, which are rare in Chinese films. Few Chi- their places in large cities, and their attempts58 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 51. CULTUREat success are beset with challenges and pit-falls. Both “Crazy Stone” and “Crazy Racer”were made with relatively tiny budgets.Neither movie features dazzling stunts noran all-star cast. But both made millions atthe box office and earned acclaim from au-diences and critics alike. Thanks to Ning Hao’s unexpected suc-cess, movie-goers now have the opportunityto enjoy big screen comedies that breakaway from tradition. Ning Hao’s blackhumor goes beyond the punch-line ladenfeatures of Chinese mainland directorFeng Xiaogang and the slapstick routinesof Hong Kong director Stephen Chow’s.With his unique style, Ning Hao seems tobe telling the viewers that comedies are notnecessarily just a series of funny skits piecedtogether or face-to-face verbal battles, butthat they can also be well-narrated storiesteeming with human emotion. In the “Cra-zy” series, the audience finds that beneath acharacter’s mad behavior lies a deep rootedsense of dignity and morality. It is worth mentioning that Ning Hao,with his dark comedic techniques, aban-dons the stereotypical ideas of dualistichuman nature, which habitually view com-plex characters in terms of black-and-white.In his movies, honest men are often badtempered and have bad habits, while thebad guys are sometimes charming or naive,causing audiences to sympathize with thesecharacters. Ning Hao’s movies seem to abide by thecommonly accepted belief that good deedsare rewarded, and evil is punished. The nar-ration style might be considered novel or“strange,” but the development of the plotand the unfolding fates of the charactersare not supposed to counter to the expecta-tions of the audience. This is a formula thatmainstream Chinese commercial movieswould not deviate from. The director’s tal-ent is only part of the reason for the popu-larity of the “Crazy” series. It is also becausehe conforms to the magic “formula.” In asense, the return to this formula will helpsave the Chinese movies from being stag-nant.(The author is a professor from Beijing NormalUniversity. Edited and translated by Shao Xin-fang.) Director Ning HaoNEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 59
  • 52. CULTURE Yan Geling at her home in Beijing. (IC Photo)Yan Geling: Songs of MyselfAuthor Yan Geling’s popularity has increased in recent years. But literary critics believe that this prolificwriter’s best years are yet to come. By Wan JiahuanA uthor Yan Geling’s career seems she has been living for 20 years. During a She arrived in 1989 and attended Colum- to be going very well at the recent trip to her native China, where her bia College in Chicago, pursuing a master’s moment. Her prize winning popularity affords her very little privacy, she degree in fiction writing. For three years novel, “Little Aunt Tatsuru,” has was inundated with requests for interviews Yan was constantly under surveillance bybeen produced into a movie; she wrote the with media, and pestered by photographers the FBI. It is unclear why the American lawscreenplay for the 2008 blockbuster “Forever nearly everywhere she went. enforcement agency was interested in Yan,Enthralled;” her book “Nanjing” is being “In China, I find it impossible to concen- but some believe it has something to doadapted into a movie directed by Zhang trate on writing,” Yan said. “I’m haunted by with her years as an officer with the ChineseYimou; and she has just published another the intrusions of people I do not know, and People’s Liberation Army, with whom shemajor novel, “The Host.” bombarded with questions.” served in Tibet and as a correspondent dur- “Yan Geling, in my opinion, is the best While Yan is fond of peace and quiet, but ing the China-Vietnam border conflict. Butfemale author writing in Chinese right her soft-spoken demeanor is at odds with the investigations seemed to end in 1992,now,” said Chen Xiaoming, professor of the fiery emotions that spill from within her when the 33-year-old Yan married AmericanChinese Language and Literature at Peking onto the pages of her books. diplomat, Lawrence Arthur Walker.University. “Given her literary creativity Although she was no longer being pur-and strength, her popularity has yet to Self-Discovery in a Lonely World sued by the FBI, she still found it difficultreach its peak.” to assimilate into life in America. Her work Yan travels often, but now calls the A sense of alienation has plagued Yan became known for its sense of alienation.United States home. She enjoys the relative Geling ever since she first set foot in the One of the first pieces she wrote while liv-tranquility of her life in America, where United States. ing in the US, a short story titled, “The60 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 53. CULTURELandlady,” offers a glimpse into her life as the implementation of in a state of fluid motion, nota Chinese woman living abroad. The story, the Reform and Opening confined by boundaries,” com-hailed by critics for its subtle expression of policies during the 1980s. mented Li Jingze. “Yan Gelingemotion and sense of isolation, went on to “All that I have expe- finds unique inspiration andwin first prize in short fiction from Taiwan’s rienced has far exceeded vision in the experience of dif-Central Daily Newspaper in 1994. what I should have experi- ferent cultures.” To this day, Yan still deals with issues of enced,” Yan said. For her part, Yan Geling,loneliness and alienation described in “The Such complex experiences, tries to avoid pretense and cli-Landlady.” She often uses the words “in fraught with uncertainty, ché. “I would not easily let my-vain,” and “pain” to describe her attempts informed Yan’s development self follow the general trends,”to integrate herself into Western society. into the writer she is today. she said. “In both Chinese andBeing married to a diplomat did not help. Since 1985, Yan has American literary circles, peopleThe family was forced to move frequently, published 15 novels and often come up with things thatcompounding the difficulties of forming 7 novellas, along with nu- are fashionable and sellable. Oflasting friendships and settling into social merous articles, essays and course there are also ‘chic’ trends.networks among neighbors. other pieces in magazines But I try to be sober and remain Fortunately, writing offered Yan a way and journals. Her goal is noncommittal. It is unlikely thatto express her frustrations and disappoint- to keep a steady pace of I will ever fall for what’s consid-ments, and she learned that writing was her producing one novel every ered ‘literary chic.’”way of discovering her own identity. year. While she dedicates the According to Li, the fact “I think that a person is most ignorant necessary time to conduct that Yan Geling has drawnabout him or herself,” she said. “That’s why research and collect material, such wide attention indicateswe have art, which helps people get to know she spends most of her wak- that Chinese contemporarythemselves more completely.” ing life writing. literature needs more diversity. During her first years in America, Yan, “I have in my head a vast “Chinese writers’ visions are soafraid that choosing the wrong words would reservoir of ideas from which similar that everybody seemscause misunderstandings or invite ridicule, to write stories,” said Yan. “I to look at the world and at lifewas extremely careful in her conversations feel that my best work has not from exactly the same angle,”with native English speakers. Nonetheless, yet been produced, so I’m try- said Li. “It’s no wonder that Yanshe came to the realization that there was ing to write as much as pos- Geling, with her distinct voicean invisible wall of cultural difference and sible in the prime of my life.” and incredible style, has stoodracial prejudice between her and many of the Professor Chen, who praised out from this monotonous lit-people she met. Some Americans went so far Yan’s work so highly, believes erary background.”as to mock the accent of Chinese English- that many Chinese writers are While some Chinese writersspeakers and make jokes about incorrect not good at writing full-length are “going global” by publish-pronunciation. Such treatment reinforced a novels. They often stretch the ing English versions of theirsense of arrogance in the way in which some fiction as long as possible, in works, Yan Geling remains tem-Americans treated the Chinese. order to gain the distinction, perate about the influence of Once, after an interview with the Voice of “novel.” But Yan Geling is her novels abroad. She knowsAmerica, the host, a former cultural attaché different, said Chen. that she is merely a “minorityat the US embassy in Beijing, said of Yan’s “Her novels often have author” in the United States,move to America, “The child in the cradle a ‘nucleus’ around which no matter how well her workshas been carried by water onto our shores.” the plot unfolds,” he said. “The sell. “His words were poetic and he said it in a narration is so good, and the “If I try hard to become avery tender way,” said Yan, “But I nonethe- protagonist is often pushed into mainstream writer, it wouldless sensed a trace of superiority in his tone.” extremely dangerous situations. be very painful,” observed Perhaps this is due to her Yan. “So, I’d better be contentStay Outstanding but Marginal training in fiction writing at as a marginal writer.” an American university.Yan was born in the late 1950s, and grew “Regardless, her trans- (Rewritten and translated by staffup during the Cultural Revolution (1966- cultural experience gives her reporter Shao Xinfang)1976) and during the initial stages of a unique perspective,” Chen“Reform and Opening” in the late 1970s. added. Since 1986, Yan has published a total of 22Later, she witnessed and became part of the “Thanks to her unique books, her prolific output has helped expandwave of modern emigration brought on by experience, her stories exist her reputation at both and abroad.NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 61
  • 54. DOCUMENTARY A Deadlock in Territorial NegotiationsAlthough damaged by years of ideological diff erences, the relationship between China and the Soviet Union inthe early 1960s seemed to be headed for revitalization due to progress made during territorial negotiations. Butall that changed with a few words uttered in July, 1964. By Staff Reporter Han YongD uring the late 1950s, bilateral with the Soviet Union. the Chinese ambassador to Russia, and relations between China and Three days later, parts of Mao’s talk were worked as an interpreter during the ter- the Soviet Union began de- leaked to three mainstream Japanese news- ritorial negotiations, disclosed during an teriorating, triggering several papers and instantly spread throughout the interview that one of China’s main goals foryears of radical controversy over differences world. the talks was to force the Soviets to admitin ideology between the world’s two largest The head of the Soviet Union’s delega- that the old treaties were unfair. The Chi-communist parties. tion found Mao’s words to be outrageous. nese wanted their counterparts to admit By the first half of 1964, however, the By the time Mao made his comments, this, and in exchange, would agree not tostrained relationship appeared to ease, as the Soviet Union leader Khrushchev had reclaim ceded lands.encouraging signs emerged from bound- already agreed to meet some of China’s While this requirement seemed contra-ary negotiations between the two nations. demands to reset the boundary line ac- dictory, it was indicative of the relation-Talks were going so smoothly, that Zhu cording to relevant agreements. This was ship between China and the Soviet UnionRuizhen, the Russian translator for the a significant concession made by the So- during those years. Since 1960, when theGeneral Office of the Communist Party viet Union at the time. polemic began, the two parties argumentsof China (CPC) Central Committee at When asked 45 years later, Zhu Ruizhen involved ideological issues, rather than sub-the time, felt confident that they would still believed the concession was remark- stantive interests.reach an accord that would satisfy both able. “Khrushchev was really generous back The Chinese expected the Soviets wouldparties. then,” he said. quickly agree to their request, given the fact But a few words during a talk by Chinese The agreements included new bounda- that the Chinese were not seeking land.Chairman Mao Zedong sent the negotia- ries along their shared eastern border. Ac- “After all,” they said, “we only want to savetions into a state of limbo. What did he say? cording to the book “The History of Sino- face, while you [the Soviet Union] will getThe entire text of the speech was classified. Soviet Union Relations,” the negotiations the real benefits (land).” The talk was declassified in November led to China claiming 400 disputed islands Li Danhui, a veteran researcher of Sino-2008, together with other diplomatic docu- and about 600 square kilometers (303 Soviet Union relations told News Chinaments. News China investigated the docu- square miles) of disputed waters along the that at that time “to save face” was of greatments to get a better understanding of what Heilongjiang and Wusuli Rivers. importance to China because it would nottook place. Officials were so confident about the ne- only placate its nationalistic public, but also gotiations that they failed to notice the trea- safeguard the authority of Chinese leader-Before the Talks Broke Down ties signed nearly a century before, between ship. China’s Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) and The Soviet Union’s delegation, however,According to the declassified documents, Czarist Russia, would become the crux of was “shocked” at and bitterly opposed toon July 10, 1964, when a Japanese Social the argument. These treaties, including the the request. Zhu Ruizhen came to the con-Party member asked Chairman Mao Treaty of Nerchinsk, the Treaty of Kyakhta clusion that the Soviet Union regarded theZedong for an opinion on Japan’s effort and the Treaty of Aigun, determining the request, to agree that the old treaties wereto reclaim the Kurile Islands from the borders between the two nations had never unfair, as a trap, and that agreeing to theSoviet Union. Mao answered by saying he been canceled, even after the Soviets took request would invalidate the treaties, thusbelieved the Soviet Union occupied a ter- control of Russia and Mao Zedong became giving China the legal right to reclaim overritory too large for its small population of leader of China. 1.5 million square kilometers (580,000200 million, so the Kurile Islands should square miles) of land from the Soviets. Thisbe returned to Japan. Then, he added that The Deadlock was completely out of the question.China also had territorial claims, and that With the Soviet Union refusing to ac-these claims were also part of a land dispute Li Fenglin, who later went on to become knowledge the unfairness of the old treaties,62 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 55. DOCUMENTARY “Is it possible that their troops would seize China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions, Heilongjiang Province, or even Inner Mongolia?” asked Mao. “We should be prepared for such attacks,” he asserted. Between September and November, 1964 the Chinese showed keen interest in the offensive movements of the Soviet Army in the Far East. Meanwhile, China reinforced its defense along the western border. There is another interpretation of Mao’s talk, however. Li Danhui argued that Mao Zedong might have been against focusing on concrete problems instead of sticking to the ideological struggle. Li said that Mao believed his vice chairman, Liu Shaoqi and the premier at the time, Zhou Enlai, were inclined to make concessions with SovietsZhu Ruizhen. (Photo by staff photographer Zhen Hongge) on some important issues. He did not want to let this happen, therefore, he decided tothe third and fourth rounds of negotiations of Taiwan. As a countermeasure to such provoke Khrushchev in order to teach thebecame even more explosive. According to a crisis, direct relations were established Chinese leaders a lesson, and prevent them“The History of Sino-Soviet Union Rela- between China and the US, which later from making concessions.tions,” Zeng Yongquan, who was then the developed into ambassador-level talks in Prior to the boundary negotiationsvice foreign minister of China and head of August 1955. with the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong hadthe Chinese delegation at the negotiations, In later meetings with foreign leaders, revealed on many occasions that he wasapproached the negotiation table and in- Mao Zedong acknowledged that his origi- anxious about revisionism developing indignantly proclaimed, “Come and take our nal speech was aimed at antagonizing the China.land if you are bold enough! You can even Soviet Union. On October 9, 1964, dur- Experts therefore concluded that as thepress onward to Beijing or Guangzhou and ing a meeting with the Albanian Defense Soviet Union refused to recognize theentrench yourself there. But never imagine Minister Barlow, he was quoted as saying: inequality of those treaties, Mao Zedongthat we would acknowledge the legality of “Such empty talks were meant to make thought it was better not to reach a consen-your seizure of our territory!” Khrushchev feel nervous so that we could sus with Moscow and keep the border issue In spite of the agreements reached on the make the boundary issue more reasonable, strained and unsettled in order to boost theeastern boundary, the negotiations, under in addition to making boundary treaties Chinese anti-revisionism movement thatthe direct leadership of Chairman Mao, more rational.” was already brewing.failed to step over “the threshold,” namely, Khrushchev was angry. On September In October, 1969, border negotiations be-to get the Soviet Union to recognize that 15, 1964 when he met with Japanese del- tween the two countries resumed in Beijing.the old treaties were unfair. Many experts egation, Khrushchev responded to Mao’s Ratification documents were exchanged onin Sino-Soviet Union relations later asserted July 10 talk by saying, “Chinese emperors June 2, 2005, in which both sides wouldthat Mao’s speech was aimed at “pushing” from different dynasties were worse rob- have an equal share of the remaining 375the issue at a crucial moment. bers than Russian czars, they illegally oc- square kilometers (233 square miles), bring- cupied Korea and seized Mongolia, Tibet ing an end to 40 years of negotiations.Mao’s Strategy and Xinjiang.” Khrushchev went on to say In July, 2008, China and Russia signed a that if any country were to open fire on protocol agreement to end the decades-longMao Zedong was the proud designer of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Army would territorial dispute and finally determinedthe diplomatic strategy to produce tension go all out in launching a counter-attack their borders. Finally, on October 14, 2008,between the two countries with aim of nor- using the might of its arsenal of destruc- Russia transferred a stretch of river islandsmalizing bilateral relations. tive weapons. to China, where both countries’ flags were One example, according to Li Dan- Khrushchev’s words irritated Chairman raised and new border markers erected nearhui, is Mao’s attempt to establish direct Mao, who, according to “The History of Chinas far northeastern tip.diplomatic relations with the US. In Sep- Sino-Soviet Union Relations,” repeatedlytember 1954, Mao ordered the bombard- asked visiting foreign officials if the Soviets (Rewritten and translated by staff reporter Shaoment of coastal islands under the control would attack China. Xinfang)NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 63
  • 56. COLUMNThe Foreign ExchangeReserve Hallucination By Dang GuoyingForeign exchange reserves should be viewed as bank loans rather than fiscal revenue. Giving each Chinese citizen a share ofChina’s huge foreign exchange reserves, as some economists have suggested, would threaten the foundation of the economy.C hina’s foreign exchange reserves have reached a stag- in order to facilitate its operations. Furthermore, when domestic gering US$2 trillion, twice the size of the world’s firms require imported goods or services from abroad, they must second largest foreign exchange reserves, held by Japan. exchange their domestic currency for the foreign currency that isHowever, under the delusional influence of this colossal figure, held in the foreign reserves in order to proceed with the transac-a number of prominent economists have suggested that the tion.reserve be invested in production, which, they argue, would In other words, the foreign exchange reserve is a “creation” ofincrease the GDP by 3 the State. Consequently, the State has accumulated a mammothtrillion yuan (US$438 reserve of foreign exchange over the years. It should be notedbillion). Other analysts Holding excessive that while the reserves represent a form of the country’s foreigngo further, advocat- foreign exchange assets, the reserves were originally produced by domestic firmsing distribution of the reserves only exercises doing business with foreign interests. It is State control that hasmoney among Chinese turned domestic companies’ production into State reserves.citizens in an effort to inflationary pressure But the material wealth denominated by this process has inboost consumption. on the domestic reality found its way overseas and, in view of this, huge amounts Dumbfounded by of foreign exchange reserve constitute an inflationary factor, andsuch fallacy, I ask my- economy, thus having can only be offset by the introduction of overseas investment toself, “Are these people a negative impact. balance out its influence.really economists?” How then should this gigantic forex reserve be properly When Premier Wen Jiabao was asked why China spends huge used? The purchase of enormous amounts of US treasury bondssums of its foreign exchange reserve buying US treasury bonds certainly has its detractors, but it remains my opinion, however,rather than investing in production, he explained that foreign that the foreign exchange reserve be turned into profit makingexchange reserves are actually a type of bank loan rather than financial investments. Buying foreign treasury bonds remainsfiscal revenue. one relatively safe way of doing this. But I believe many people remain unclear about the differ- So we can now draw conclusions.ence. First, the size of foreign exchange reserves ought to be kept at In return for exporting goods or services abroad, Chinese en- a proper level. Holding excessive foreign exchange reserves onlyterprises receive hard currency from overseas clients. In China, exercises inflationary pressure on the domestic economy, thusthe foreign exchange control system requires domestic enter- having a negative impact.prises and companies to sell their foreign exchange to designated Second, foreign exchange reserve should never be recklesslygovernment agencies at a fixed rate. squandered. Policies such as giving each Chinese citizen a share In essence, this exchange acts as a guarantee for future goods of foreign exchange reserve to stimulate consumption are tanta-or services from overseas. By holding on to these guarantees, mount to the re-issuance of the Renminbi. Such moves will onlyand not “cashing” them in for foreign goods or services, the act to undermine the economy as a whole.government agencies create a reserve in which foreign exchange The right thing to do is to attract more overseas investmentis held. If this situation continues indefinitely, it would lead to so that the negative influence of the excess foreign exchangeshrinking consumption and, eventual economic slowdown. reserves can be reconciled. In addition, imports need to be ex- Thanks to the “barriers” erected by the State, only domestic panded to increase effective supplies and bring down prices.currency is permitted to circulate inside the country. When acompany is paid in foreign currency for exported goods or serv- (The author is a research fellow from the Rural Research Institute underices, it is required to change the currency into domestic currency the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.)64 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 57. COLUMNPublic’s Approval Crucial inImposing Traffic Restrictions By Qiu FengThe measures worked out and imposed without being debated on by the public and going through a legislative procedure,will ultimately harm the government’s credibility.O n April 10, the Beijing Municipal Government an- restrictions are necessary. nounced that the city’s partial traffic restriction measures However, it seems that the relevant government departments would remain in force for one more year until April 10, have overlooked the importance of democratic procedure. The2010. government-imposed traffic restriction seems to be based on two During the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, a traffic control things. The first is a so-called “scientific conclusion” drawn frommechanism was introduced under which automobiles with odd and investigations aimed at improving Beijing’s traffic. The second is theeven numbers on their li- result of online polls which show that 85 percent of the respondentscense plates were allowed support the idea of “driving six days a week.”onto the city’s roads Exclusive vote However, it is not enough to base the restriction measures onalternately, or every other counting would lead these two factors alone. To begin with, “scientific conclusions” areday. After the Olympics, us nowhere aside from insufficient in supporting public policy because behind the datathe restriction still holds, are people with different interests. When the adjustments in publicbut in a more moderate a “dictatorship of the policy bring inconvenience to some of these people, they will natu-form – each automobile majority.” rally resent the changes. Secondly, the credibility of online polls isis disqualified from us- questionable due to inherent gap between the attitudes of Interneting the city’s roads for users and people in real life.one day in a week. It is estimated that the restriction brings down What remains important is the government’s commitment toBeijing’s everyday traffic volume by 8 or 9 percent while raising the ensuring that the core of democracy lies more in debate than inautomobile speed by 10 percent. voting. Democracy is not simply vote counting. The real value of Debate over the effectiveness of the scheme has since divided democracy lies in the rational debate that comes before the count-local opinion. While those in support of the restriction favor its ex- ing of votes. Only through reason-based debate will people in thetension, those opposed, mainly car owners, argue that it encroaches minority accept the opinion of the majority. Democracy means theupon individuals’ property rights. rule of reason, not the rule of will. Exclusive vote counting would It is, however, something of an exaggeration to suggest that the lead us nowhere aside from a “dictatorship of the majority.”restriction has encroached upon car owners’ property rights. True, From this perspective, it is advisable that the government,automobiles need the roads to run on, but all people, including non- before imposing traffic restrictions, let the media carry out acar owners, have the right to use public roads. While car owners have deep debate on the matter. Then it is up to the Standing Com-the right to make full use of their cars, they should be aware that the mittee of the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress to enact a lawroads are owned by all people, and not only by car owners. on imposing partial restriction. Before the legislation procedure The urban administrative authorities, out of consideration is kicked off, public hearings should be organized for people ofover the public’s interests, have made numerous adjustments to different opinions to voice their views. It may take half a year, orthe arrangements governing the use of public roads, in this case one year, or even three years to have the traffic restriction legis-imposing traffic restrictions. While this has no doubt caused in- lation passed through the people’s congress. Democracy is timeconvenience to some people, it does not constitute an encroach- consuming. But the decisions made in this way will be heartilyment upon people’s right of way, let alone the individuals’ rights accepted by all people, including those to whom the partial traf-to use their vehicles. fic restriction brings inconvenience. But in making these kinds of adjustments, the relevant authori- Now the restriction measures have been put in place. But theseties should strictly follow the principles of democracy and go measures worked out and imposed without being debated on by thethrough the necessary procedures. The government, through pro- public and going through a legislative procedure, will ultimately docedural channels, needs to convince people that imposing partial harm to the government’s credibility.NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 65
  • 58. travelThe Hulunbeier Grassland:In Search of the Ancient Lele CartThe Inner Mongolian grasslands of fer a diversity of breathtaking sights and interestingartifacts for travelers to relish and remember. We went in search of an original Lele cart, atraditional Mongolian grassland vehicle. Along the way, we savored the picturesque landscapeand fascinating traditions of Mongolian culture. By Deng XiaoxiaA local trains a horse during winter in HurunbeierGrassland, Inner-Mongolia. (IC Photo)66 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 59. travel T he vivacious colors of the Inner around this time one evening while visit- Mongolian grasslands in July, ing Ganzhuer Lamasery in Xinba’erhu Qi the most beautiful time of year, County that I met a young man called call to mind the fanned tail of Bateer. This is a place for nomadic herds- a regal peacock in full display. People, like men to meet and celebrate holidays such as migratory birds, flock here from all parts of the traditional Naadam festival, held every the world to enjoy the grasslands’ unmatched July. Unlike most of the ethnic Mongolians beauty. During our trek from Qiqihar we met on our journey, Bateer could speak through the heart of Inner Mongolia, where Mandarin, so he was able to communicate we planned to visit two of China’s most with us without difficulty. attractive landscapes, the Hulunbeier and Bateer, 18, a graduate from a boarding Xilinguole grasslands, we drove across pas- school, helped his cousin, who ran a tour- tures and meadows full of grazing sheep and ism business, herd tourists on horseback cattle basking in the warmth of the summer instead of herding the family’s cattle and sun. Bucolic scenes filled the windows and sheep. He invited me inside the yurt he evoked gasps of excitement from our fellow shared with his cousin to have a look. The travelers as we made our way along ancestral 10-square-meter yurt made of starched roads of this remarkable landscape. white canvas housed a small bed and cook- For those who have never seen this prai- ing utensils arranged neatly on the floor. rie, the imagination can never compare to The shelter was simple and cozy. the reality of its enormity. Once you reach The group was eager to see a traditional the center, you are more than several days’ Lele cart, a wooden vehicle nicknamed the drive away from the edge of the grasslands, “boat of the grassland.” Ethnic Mongolian and it is common to go several hundred herdsmen have used the Lele cart for thou- miles without seeing another settlement. sands of years. Like the Mongolian yurts Although this was my second time visit- (tents) scattered all over the grassland, the ing, I was still shocked by the sight of prai- Lele cart is an important symbol of tradi- ries stretching beyond every horizon. Our tional Mongolian culture. group stopped so many times to capture To our surprise, there were two Lele carts the sights with our cameras, that eventually standing outside the yurt. we fell behind schedule and were forced to Lele carts, also known as “Jigger carts,” make up lost time by driving at night. “Lolo carts,” or “ox wagons,” are built from In the summer, darkness settles late on birch wood, pine, willow and elm. There is the grasslands, and the glow of the setting no steel or iron involved in producing the sun is most brilliant between the hours carts, which makes them easy to repair and of seven and eight in the evening. It was relatively light, both essential qualities forNEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 67
  • 60. travelForests and grassland scenery in Hulunbeier, Inner-Mongolia. (IC Photo)nomads on the grasslands. The name “Lele” Transportation: culture, the Lele cart is gradually beingis derived from the herdsman’s cry urging Hulunbeier in the Inner Mongolia Au- replaced by motor vehicles and as a result isthe cattle to move. Often, the cart serves as tonomous Region has an airport and train sparsely used on the grasslands today.a mobile home for nomadic families. station. Before arriving, it is best to arrange The incredible craftsmanship of Bateer’s transportation from the airport to the near- “Qi” in Inner Mongolia:two carts was the most impressive we had by grassland. Rental cars are the best option “Qi” or “Banner” is an administrative divi-seen during our journey. A large rectangu- for grassland tours; drivers and guides can sion in the Inner Mongolia Autonomouslar box served as a storage trunk on one of be arranged at extra cost. Region. The concept of the “Banner” wasthe carts, while the other served as the fam- first introduced in the Qing Dynastyily’s “limousine.” Thick felt sheets, made of Recommendations: (1644-1911), when the Mongols settled inwool, covered both carts. Bateer explained Make sure you carry mosquito repellent areas then referred to as “banners” by thethat the sheets protected the carts’ occu- and plenty of sun block, as there is little government. In Inner Mongolia, severalpants during their trips across the plains. respite on the flat prairies from the sum- banners make up a league (prefecture).We were amazed to learn that the woolen mer sun. Be sure to fill up on gas before Today, banners are a county level admin-sheets were hand-made by Bateer’s mother. you begin your journey and don’t stray too istrative division in the Chinese administra- Bateer seemed to prefer life on the grass- far from the road in what remains a very tive system. In total there are 49 banners inland to living in a big city. When he men- sparsely populated area. Mobile phone sig- Inner Mongolia.tioned his visits to some of China’s larger nal is weak while GPS service is ineffectivecities, like Shenzhen, he said he was not throughout large parts of the grassland. Nadaam Festival:very much impressed. But when the subject The Nadaam Festival is ethnic Mongolians’turned to grassland living, it was clear that Lele Cart: largest yearly festival. Usually held in July, itBateer thought its simplicity made life less The Lele cart is a Mongolian-style ox-drawn runs for three days and focuses on the moststressful than in more urbanized areas. For cart which is tailor-made for the unique outstanding Mongolian athletes in horsehim, it seemed more natural to live the tra- natural conditions on the grassland. The racing, archery and wrestling.ditional lifestyle. origins of the Lele cart can be traced to the The festivities kick off with traditional A few hundred meters away from Bateer’s Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-25 AD). music and a colorful parade of athletes,yurt stood a newer, permanent herdsmen Throughout the past 2,000 years, the Lele monks, marching soldiers, and Mongolianssettlement made of brick. The ground sur- cart has remained the most important means dressed in traditional uniforms.rounding the area showed obvious signs of of transporting the equipment and belong- The word Nadaam literally means “compe-damage caused by human activity, proof ings of ethnic Mongolian nomads. The Lele tition,” and while sporting events dominateperhaps that the traditional nomadic life- cart is also a type of mobile home for the the first two days, the third day is givenstyle is waning. Troubled by this fact, the herdsmen, serving as a temporary home on over to merriment and celebration.locals have come to the conclusion that only arrival in new areas. This small cart with two This festival has been held for centuriesthe traditional pasturing lifestyle can help big wheels is made from natural timber, such as a form of memorial celebration, or as anpreserve the natural ecological system. as birch, pine, willow and elm. annual sacrificial ritual honoring various The cart is easy to make and repair. gods. It also serves as a ceremony to cel-(Translated by Wang Yan) Yet despite its unique place in Mongolian ebrate the community undertakings.68 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 61. Hot PickS Food of the Month to usher in the warmer evenings – if you can find it.Delicious Dali Dali Courtyard is a traditional Chinese courtyard draped in the muslin and glamor By Jackie Xu of the 1920s. The furniture is Art Deco inspired and an old gramophone cracklesIn keeping with the people, the climate, the with the melancholy lament of long deadflora and fauna, Yunnan cuisine is exotic jazz divas. The owners are part of the localand always surprising. The province shares a art scene and they’ve decorated the spaceborder with Vietnam, Laos and Burma, and with choice pieces of Chinese contemporaryconditions can range from blazingly humid art. There’s no menu, which for those un- a delicate touch which makes you view thein the valleys of the west to blisteringly cold familiar with Yunnan cooking is probably dish from an entirely new perspective. Juicyon the high peaks of the mountains. Sitting for the best. Instead you simply tell the staff papaya salad, grilled fish, and stir-frieddown to a Yunnan feast, a diner can expect how much you wish to pay per person (there chicken are all also light and summery andto find all these personalities represented on is a minimum charge of 100 yuan per eater) unusually for Chinese cooking, there is lit-the table. Think roasted meats and mush- and they will bring you a selection of dishes. tle grease involved, as Yunnan cooks oftenroom wrapped in banana leaves, and citrus If you really can’t stomach something, tell substitute fruit oils. The food thus tastesinfused sauces with plump river fish. Flavors the waitress and she’ll ensure there will be fresher and healthier.tend to be fresher than you’d find in north- nothing your party doesn’t like. Those in the know like to take a bigern Chinese cuisine, with more of an empha- Of course because of this you never really group of hungry friends whenever they gosis on the tastes and aromas of the produce – know what to expect, but that’s part of the to Dali Courtyard – the more people younothing hidden behind garlic or spice here! fun of Yunnan itself – you just need to relax bring, the more different dishes you get! In Beijing, I often start to get a craving and go with it. You can see the dried beef But don’t tell everyone: Dali might not befor the flavors of Yunnan when the weather hanging from the trees in the courtyard be- the hidden gem it once was, but there’s stillstarts to get a little warmer in early spring. fore the chefs pull pieces down and infuse it usually a spare table for me if I’m in theAnd there’s a little hideaway near the fa- with lemon juice ready for your table. The neighborhood. I’m hoping it stays that waymous Drum Tower that is the perfect way scrambled eggs are flavored with jasmine – until at least the end of the summer. Learning Chinese of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning. Dur- week-holiday” policy was adopted more ing the CCTV New Year Eve’s Gala 2009, than a decade ago.Bu Cha Qian: “Bu Cha Qian” was the title of the com- edy skit performed by Zhao Benshan and Additionally, the stimulus package initiated by the Chinese government last November toPlaying the Money Man his minions. Zhao played a poor farmer beat back the battered economy has opened By Li Jing pretending to be a rich man in front of the floodgates of liquidity and driven China’s his guests at an astronomically expensive stock market to soar by over 50 percent restaurant. From there, laughter ensued. “I since. In the first quarter of 2009, ChineseThe New Year Eve’s Gala presented every am not short on cash!” repeated the farmer financial institutions had already lent almostyear by CCTV has become a consortium every time he was questioned by the para- same amount as in the entire 2008 fiscal year,of Chinese popular culture, and because it’s noid waiter who suspected his leading Chinese finance reporters toon CCTV, the official TV Giant of China, ability to pay the bill. adopt “Bu Cha Qian” as an aphorismit is all the more official. Within recent dec- Thanks to the enormous to describe the bull market.ades, series of comedy skits featuring Zhao success of the performance, the It is true that China might be oneBenshan, a famous folk artist and come- phrase became an instant sensa- of the few countries not short ondian from Liaoning Province have claimed tion. Furthermore, given the fact cash to boost its economy, thanks tothe creamy center of the TV extravaganza. that the Chinese traditionally its massive household deposits andEvery year, a few lines from Zhao’s skits spend more money during the foreign currency reserve. Yet it is notbecome buzzwords in Chinese society. In Spring Festival, “Bu Cha Qian,” wise to go continue imprudentlythe past, people across the nation could became an appropriate phrase to compli- with such a massive supply of savings – mostbe heard saying things like “Hu You,” and ment the crazed consumption inclinations Chinese are still way less wealthy than people“Tai You Cai Le,” after the program aired. of consumers during this time. Statistics in the Western world. Why not just store upThis year, the catchphrase became “Bu Cha show that the total national retail sales of on confidence and courage brought on byQian,” or, “I am not short on cash!” consumer goods during Spring Festival being “Bu Cha Qian,” so that when bad times The phrase, in fact, is a colloquialism this year was 290 billion yuan (US$42.4 do appear, the profits will not be imprudentlyspoken in China’s northeastern provinces billion), a new record since the “golden- plundered?NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 69
  • 62. essayA Radical Remedy By Caroline KillmerT he smugness I felt at understanding ters, resulting in a myriad of approaches to the sentence the woman standing treatment. As a standard, “baguan,” often over me had just said was reduced, called fire cupping in English, involves tak-somewhat, as comprehension set in. ing a round-bottomed glass cup, holding a Surely she did not just say, “And now flaming piece of cotton inside the containerI will ignite the highly-flammable wash to burn out the oxygen, and then slappingcloth I just placed on your back”? The it onto the patient’s back, where the lackother young masseur in the room helpfully of air creates a strong suction and draws illustration by Xiang Zhaohuitranslated. blood to below the skin’s surface. “Guasha,” “Fire!” he proclaimed with a sinister en- regularly performed in addition to cupping, quite different from an actual experience,thusiasm, setting off nervous giggles around involves a practitioner taking a smooth in this case involving a woman splatteringthe room. edged object, often a comb, and scraping oil across my back, suctioning a cup to my Then the woman really did light my back areas on the back that correspond to the shoulder blade, and then dragging it up andon fire, and I ceased moving entirely, un- body’s energy meridians. down my back. What started as incrediblysure of the degree of the conflagration but Oblivious to its increased notoriety over- relaxing rapidly became excruciating.rather certain that this would be a bad time seas due to cupping advocates like Gwyneth Mercifully, when I thought I could taketo crane my head around to see if those Paltrow and Britney Spears, my first experi- no more she stopped the scraping, then suc-actually were flames lapping at the back of ence with guasha and baguan was provoked tioned a dozen cups to my back. When themy neck. by curiosity and chronically sore shoulders. treatment was over I felt like I’d been given Chinese medicine practitioners learn I knew the techniques behind the treat- an entirely new body, and had bruises thatfrom different schools and different mas- ment, but a basic knowledge is something didn’t fade for over a month. Still, I wasJust Go To IKEA And it was clear that every single human I’m just saying it’s a good idea. Will you moving towards them, Western or Chinese, come and look? Why do you have to turn had the same thought in their head: “Oooh, everything into a battle?” By Tom James I could do with some spice jars.” Suddenly There was the same massive canteen I realized: Everything was exactly the same filled with people sitting at IKEA dining as home. tables, eating Scandinavian meatballs and“J ust go to IKEA,” was the advice The people were the same: Hordes of mash potato with Swedish flags in the top, of my Chinese office manager, them, moving along the prescribed route and ranks of wives and mothers turning to after I mentioned that I needed through the store moving at gawking- their husbands and children and saying, a few things for my new ex-pat resi- at-road-accident speed. The same young “It’s very reasonable though, isn’t it?” Thedence. After scouring Beijing for some- couples, cooing at each other and kissing same discarded items on the approach tothing vaguely authentic Chinese, and over their first sofa. The same couples a the registers: multi-pack Tupperware (ooohonly finding shops full of souvenir Chair- few years later, she’s pregnant, he’s re- this would be useful for your bits and bobs,man Mao alarm clocks, or overpriced ceding, choosing a cot for the baby. The David), glass snack bowls (you know, forchandeliers aimed at the nouveau riche, same grandparents testing out the reclin- guests) and lint rollers (I don’t even knowI finally gave in. On a wet Sunday, I ers, stealing a few minutes of peace and what lint is).shelved my buy-local beliefs, hailed a taxi, quiet. It even gave me the same feelings Iand told the driver, “Just go to IKEA.” The conversations were the same, too, normally get. There was that first buzz of The taxi drove up the third ring road, only dubbed in Chinese. Husband and good design, well-made, useful, for eve-towards the airport, and dropped us outside wife, saying, “Look at this corner table, ryone. Exciting bedspreads, little lamps,a large, familiar looking blue and yellow love. It just folds out when you need it, then clever taps, endless piles of things to playbox. We went through the door and up the you can fold it back in half again after- with! More, more, more! Then halfwayescalator into the store. At the top was a wards. Isn’t that clever?” “We don’t need a around the store, I felt the same crash.display of spice jars, stacked row upon row. corner table.” “I know we don’t need one, Why is there so much choice? Why is70 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009
  • 63. essayoverwhelmed with such a sense of wellness, clinked against one another. Finally, I was acupuncture, which many modern ChineseI was hooked. Chinese friends warned me granted a reprieve as the cups came off, people fear, and such treatments address anit wasn’t good to subject the body to this leaving trademark angry purple welts. The aspect of the body that Western medicinesort of treatment very often, so I took a two degree of bruising is supposed to indicate never considers: the body’s energy. Differentmonth hiatus before trying again. how bad off you were before treatment; if parts of the body correspond to different A friend brought me to a small clinic lost this is true, then I should have been quaran- elements of energy, and when they becomeamid the buildings of a housing complex tined for being so toxic. I stayed put on the unbalanced, one becomes sick. Treatmentsin Beijing after she heard I was interested table for a few minutes, recovering from the such as baguan and acupuncture help re-in giving baguan and guasha a second try. treatment and this time generally feeling far store the body’s balance of energies. HerbalWe entered the clinic and somehow, not ten worse than when I came in. “Your legs will elixirs can be boiled up to treat additionalminutes later, a woman was fussing at me probably hurt tomorrow,” the doctor told energy surpluses and deficits.about how I had too much fire in my body. me. When receiving these treatments I’mThen she set me alight. Oh, the irony! “That makes sense,” I replied, watching often told I have a surplus of fire, but This was the easiest part of the treatment, the other doctor light his patient on fire perhaps this time I purged too much fireas it turned out. After minimal guasha, the before nosing through the supply cart to all at once. I waited for my friend’s therapydoctor covered my shoulders with cups so find a pair of what essentially were wooden to finish, and pale-faced, we both staggeredthat I couldn’t move without risking loos- inverted brass knuckles. The user slides a out of the clinic. “I do this every week,” sheening them and sending them tumbling to stem grip between the middle fingers, with told me, massaging the bruise at her throatthe floor. At least this part of the treatment a rounded piece spanning the four fingers where the doctors had applied a cup.was familiar, or so I thought. on the inside of the hand. Then she smacks “Seriously?” Now that she had me confined to the ta- the daylights out of her victim’s legs. No “Yes, if you go every week, your skin willble, she began to beat my legs, rhythmically wonder that part was so excruciating. be very clear and you’ll have more energy.”pummelling me from the thighs down, and Needless to say, if you pinch and pull at Be that as it may, I’ve remained timidup again. “Ow-w-w-w,” I muttered, but if flesh you’re going to leave a mark or cause about returning, mostly due to a newfoundanything it made her more furious at my some pain, but it doesn’t have to be this fear of the wooden knuckle treatment. Thatlower half. For fifteen minutes she worked way. Most Traditional Chinese Medicine was a month and a half ago. My bruisesme over, all the while the cups on my back (TCM) treatments are painless, including have almost faded. The only real difference, I suppose, is we loved it.” that these people are probably not aware Looking out of the window of the that everyone, literally every woman, man, canteen, out over the third ring road in child, dog, newt and stick insect in the Beijing, I had a frank, upsetting epiphany. Western hemisphere has got a Lak coffee New, luxury apartment buildings filled table, and it doesn’t look as good once it has the view; the same slyly repackaged 1960s been knocked over a few times, and you tower blocks that they were flogging in can’t get the red wine off it. And, of course, the West, until the crash. Each apartment the fact that when you buy stuff from was full of the same types of middle class IKEA in China, you’re actually buying lo- professionals, aspiring for and chasing cal after all. the same happiness promised by the same It was actually a lot of fun. It always magazines as home. is. Just like at home, a visit to IKEA is And I realized: this is it. This is the high- illustration by Xiang Zhaohui like a trip to an early twenty-first cen- point of human culture. The people in tury theme park, with all of the blind, those towers, sitting on the same IKEAit piled so high? So that people forget happy self-deception that comes with it. “Klippan” sofas as people in America, Eu-where it comes from? To make them feel Of course you can afford it! Everything rope, India, and even Africa, will be watch-like they can just throw it away after six is brilliant! Just look at the price! When ing “Friends” on TV, and on their day off,months, and buy more, and damn the your children, cold and hungry in a fu- they will get in the same cars, and drive toconsequences? I put my head in my hands ture without oil, food or hope, ask you, a massive warehouse, on a ring road, to testand wept for the world. “Hey Tom,” said “What did you used to do at weekends, out the sofa beds.my girlfriend, “Come and sit on this arm- Daddy?” You can say this to them: “Well, This is Planet Earth on a Sunday. Thischair. It’s really good value, isn’t it?” She we all went to a big warehouse, and is how we live today. And it really is very,was right. It really was. bought lots of things we didn’t need. And reasonable indeed.NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009 71
  • 64. ENTERTAINMENT Jet Li Action Star’s New Moves This martial arts movie pow- erhouse is not just about loud noises and cool moves. Jet Li has recently signed to work with Tony Blair in to launch low-carbon pilot projects in various parts of China, part of the global effort to combat climate change. Li’s “One Foundation” will be support- ing both business and gov- ernment initiatives to work EyePress Photo towards a better environment for the Chinese. Talk about cool moves! Gong Li Her First NBA Game Once upon a time, there was a boy and a girl and they were both pretty and famous. Normally, people will expect to hear “they lived happily ever after” at the end of this story. But in the en- tertainment industry, such stories can never end because then we wouldn’t have anything to talk about, which is exactly the case EyePress Photo for actress Gong Li, who attended a recent New Jersey Nets NBA game in support of Chi- nese star Yi Jianlian. The rumour mill was buzzing after Nets’ rookie Brook Lopez made a joke about Gong and Yi’s “relationship.” The joke wasn’t funny. They’re both already taken.AFP PHOTO Ugly Wudi It’s Not Me, It’sYouAndy Lau Popular Chinese websites and newspapers such as the Oriental Morning Post have conducted anKeeping It Real opinion poll to see which television show is the most dreadful in China at the moment. “Ugly“There has not been enough love and affection for me to pop the Wudi,” the Chinese version of the “Ugly Bet-question.” After years of romantic turbulence and external pres- ty,” was crowned as the worst with 3,562 votes.sures, Andy Lau is still single. He remains strong-headed as he The disgruntled voters also shared opinions onmarches towards the half-century mark because he believes that the program: “I hate to see the new hairstyles.”one should not walk down the aisle if there is any doubt. Lau’s lat- “It is not the same as the original.” The produc-est quote about his relationship status: “If all the marriage rumours tion company is rewarding viewers by schedul-were true, I would have been married at least 10 times!” ing yet another season of all this “ugliness.”72 NEWSCHINA May 5, 2009