1 July, 2005

still more blog blockage

Rebecca McKinnion has a more thorough listing of blog hosting services that have been blocked by the Great Firewall of China.

I received an email from a Chinese blogger today, reporting that the following international blog-hosting services are blocked:

Those are in addition to the blogs hosted by TypePad, Blogger/Blogspot and Blogs.us. Users of those services are welcome to use the below graphic or others that can be obtained by clicking on it.

by @ 6:30 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Books, Censorship

expat textbooks

Angry Chinese Blogger offers some analysis on China’s recent seizure of textbooks destined for a Japanese international school in Beijing suggesting, among other things, that the issue may not have been Taiwan/ More disturbing are the suggestions that international schools are being pressured to teach Communist Party propaganda.:

Though international schools in China often purport themselves to be independent of the curriculum restrictions placed on state and private schools for native Chinese, this latest incident has served to highlight some of the fears held by ex-patriot raising children in China, and to raised a number of awkward questions about the integrity of the education given by international schools in the country.
While most international schools around the world exist to provide native language education, and to allow children to continue their education using a curriculum that is similar to that in their native countries, many ex patriot families living in China, particularly those from Japan and western countries, also opt to send their children to international schools to ensure that they are taught to an internationally recognized standard for accuracy using material that is not subject to the ‘blank spaces’ and ‘manipulated’ versions of events that are found in ordinary Chinese schools.

One small quibble… expatriate not ex-patriot. I’ve been outside of Canada for close to a decade. While I am an expat, I remain a patriot.

Richard Willmsen has another great essay touching on education in China, although relating to domestic schools. Expats would not want their children taught in this fashion:

..when I told my students about the Guardian’s special week of articles on China, despite the fact that they had never heard of the Guardian before, and although the Guardian site is not in any way blocked in China, none of them was prepared to take a look. Of course they claimed that they would find the language too daunting, but I think that this was a pretty poor excuse for an excuse. I think that one reason is that they are genuinely apprehensive of the possible consequences of being seen to visit a non-Chinese website. But I think the main reason is that they feel they might encounter information which contradicts what the Party has told them about China; and if they do, they will have to take the time and effort to systematically disregard each and every word of it.

by @ 6:15 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Censorship

india-us defense pact

While I had recently argued that the rise of China as a military threat is exaggerated, preparing for worst-case scenarios is both necessary and, moreover, can help build a deterrent to prevent such scenarios from happening. That’s one reason the new US-India defense pact is good news.

That said, I’m viewing the new pact with a narrow focus on China and Taiwan. There’s much more at play as this great roundup at Winds of Change demonstrates.

by @ 2:04 pm. Filed under China, Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Terrorism, Bangladesh

japan’s anonymous bloggers

Gaijin Biker argues against a reported Japanese government move to discourage the use of anonymity on the internet.:

The government will begin a campaign to encourage people to use their real names when writing articles or posting information on the Internet to help reduce crimes that are committed due to the Net’s anonymity, government sources said.
…The government has decided to launch the campaign as Internet users can easily access information deemed harmful for youth via the Net, such as how to make a bomb and recommending group suicides.
The communications ministry has judged it necessary to encourage people to turn to Internet sites with less anonymity in order to reduce Net-related crimes, the sources said.

Mutant Frog also blogged on this extensively earlier in the week.

I would hope that this is a non starter. While I generally have greater respect for non-anonymous bloggers, anonymity does have legitimate uses (i.e., to avoid reprisals from the state, employers or both). Moreover, governments should not enact laws that cannot be enforced, nor spend citizens’ funds to fight ‘problems’ that either do not exist or unsolvable.

by @ 1:34 pm. Filed under Japan, Blogs, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Censorship

protests are working

Who says civil activism can’t be effective in China? KokuRyu at Japundit notes that the recent wave of anti-Japanese protests in China are getting results.:

Although conventional wisdom says political and economic relations between Japan and China are two different animals, and are completely unconnected, a recent NY Times News Service editorial has evidence to the contrary. The editorial, which appears in the Taipei Times, argues that the recent anti-Japanese protests in China this past spring seems to have hit a nerve with Japan’s capitalist classes:

After a five-year boom, Japan’s export growth to China stalled in May. Recent polls of Japanese investors show a growing reluctance to make further investments in China.
Two surveys, seperated by six months, of 414 Japanese business operating in China discovered:
The percentage of Japanese companies planning to expand operations in China dropped sharply, to just under 55 percent in late May, from 86 percent last December, according to the Japan External Trade Organization, the country’s trade and investment promotion agency…Although only 10 percent of the companies said that business had suffered from the protests, largely in reduced sales and tarnished brands, 36 percent said they were worried about future effects, and 45 percent said the business risk of operating in China had increased.

I am reluctant to put too much faith in one survey, and moreover attributing the change in Japan’s view solely to anti-Japanese protests.

Actual fixed asset investment (FAI) and foreign direct investment (FDI) into China from all countries was down or slower in January-May - with FDI falling 0.79% and the increase in FAI slipping eight percentage points to 26.4%.

I’m sure the anti-Japan protests are deterring investment but, more broadly, there are reasons for everybody to think that China is not a sure bet. For savvy Japanese investors, surely concerns about widespread overcapacity and tightening profit margins must be as big, or bigger, concerns than rioting college students.

by @ 1:30 pm. Filed under Japan, China, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

the real threat

Brad Setser offers yet another excellent post on China’s buying spree of US assets, while I have argued that CNOOC’s bid for Unocal’s is a business matter and not a security issue - Setser correctly points out that there is a serious security matter related to the acquisition.

If the US wanted to fund its current account deficit by selling equity, it would need to sell off the equivalent of 40 Unocal’s a year — whether Chinese state firms, European firms, Japanese insurers or Saudi princes. That is a lot. But a $800 billion current account deficit is — as I consistently try to note — really, really enormous (among other things, the 2005 US current account deficit will be about the size of 2005 US goods exports).
Peter Schiff:

In other words, to finance just one year’s purchases of consumer electronics, granite counter-tops, vacations, automobiles, furniture, appliances, clothing, toys, and net interest and dividend payments, Americans will basically give away the equivalent of half of the companies that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Warren Buffet agrees

Having China bid for U.S. companies such as Unocal “is an inevitable consequence of what we are doing in trade,'’ billionaire investor Warren Buffett said in an interview on CNBC. American purchases of Chinese shoes, furniture and textiles, give the Chinese dollars that they can spend, he said.
“Sometimes, they buy our government bonds, as their central bank has done, but other times they are going to buy our assets. If we are going to consume more than we produce, we have to expect to give away a little bit of the country,'’ Buffett said.

The scale of the debt the US is now taking on — or the scale of assets that the US would have to sell to avoid taking on debt — strikes at least me as a real national security issue, even if you agree with Sebastian Mallaby, and think that the sale of Unocal’s Asian assets is not.

Indeed, and it’s a shame that Congress men aren’t drafting letters on how the Federal budget deficit threatens US security interests.

by @ 1:26 pm. Filed under China, Money, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

spg blocked in s’pore

According to mr brown, the Singapore government has added Sarong Party Girl (nsfw today, Izzy’s nude again) to its list of blocked websites (those that can’t be accessed by the civil service).

I just received word that Sarong Party Girl’s blog has been blocked by Gahmen proxies, which means esteemed members of our Civil Service and Stat Boards cannot access her blog.
Can anyone verify this?
Why? Gahmen scared civil servants get corrupted by her nipples and her sexy stories issit?
Update: Ok, so far, I have been told that the following
organisations cannot get to SPG’s blog: CPF Board, SAF, ST Electronics.
Those that can: EDB, IDA.

SPG has just entered the same league as Playboy. Congratulations Izzy!

Both mr brown and SPG remain blocked in China.

by @ 12:38 pm. Filed under Blogs, Singapore, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Censorship


Aussiegirl points to an argument by Thomas Lifson that Engllish is no longer required for entry.:

. . . But the Anglosphere is also a political and (increasingly) a military alliance, aimed at guaranteeing the political, moral, economic and cultural freedoms necessary for Anglospherical societies to function.
Who are the members of the Anglosphere? At its heart are The United States (its leading force) and the United Kingdom (whose culture and imperium gave it birth and made it a world force). Other members include Australia, Japan, India, Israel, Taiwan, and (less closely attached, militarily) Singapore, and even more distantly Hong Kong and Canada, which are controlled by regimes somewhat hostile to the dominance of the Anglosphere. Other nations participate in the Anglosphere in some realms, but not others, as they choose. The Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and Malaysia are examples of countries which join in some ways, yet stay outside in others.

by @ 10:25 am. Filed under Culture, Japan, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Australia

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