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The ethical is always more robust than the legal. Over time, it is the legal that should converge to the ethical, never the reverse. Laws come and go but ethics remain.

Sextus Empiricus, 200 AD.

For centuries Western monarchs derived legitimacy from a God Who lent authority to the laws they promulgated. The simultaneous demise of God and the monarchic principle in 1918 left the law legitimized by force alone and, a century later, our distrust[1]Confidence in Institutions. 2018. Gallup suggests that it has failed to converge with the ethical.

Things were little better in China two thousand years ago but, before we examine the evolution of its legal system, we must recall that it exists not only to suppress crime but to serve a national goal that ninety percent of the population shares: the creation, in two stages–xiaokang and dàtóng–of a radically advanced society.

Confucius’ Book of Rites, in one of its most celebrated passages, reads:

Once Confucius was taking part in the winter sacrifice. After the ceremony was over, he went for a stroll along the top of the city gate and sighed mournfully. He sighed for the state of Lu. His disciple Yen Yen, who was by his side, asked: ‘Why should the gentleman sigh?’

Confucius replied: ‘The practice of the Great Way, the illustrious men of the Three Dynasties–these I shall never know in person and yet they inspire my ambition! When the Great Way was practiced, the world was shared by all alike. The worthy and the able were promoted to office and men practiced good faith and lived in affection. Therefore they did not regard as parents only their own parents, or as sons only their own sons. The aged found a fitting close to their lives, the robust their proper employment; the young were provided with an upbringing and the widow and widower, the orphaned and the sick, with proper care. Men had their tasks and women their hearths. They hated to see goods lying about in waste, yet they did not hoard them for themselves; they disliked the thought that their energies were not fully used, yet they used them not for private ends. Therefore all evil plotting was prevented and thieves and rebels did not arise, so that people could leave their outer gates unbolted. This was the age of Grand Unity, dàtóng.

Now the Great Way has become hid and the world is the possession of private families. Each regards as parents only his own parents, as sons only his own sons; goods and labor are employed for selfish ends. Hereditary offices and titles are granted by ritual law while walls and moats must provide security. Ritual and righteousness are used to regulate the relationship between ruler and subject, to insure affection between father and son, peace between brothers, and harmony between husband and wife, to set up social institutions, organize the farms and villages, honor the brave and wise, and bring merit to the individual. Therefore intrigue and plotting come about and men take up arms. Emperor Yu, Kings Tang, Wen, Wu and Cheng and the Duke of Chou achieved eminence for this reason: that all six rulers were constantly attentive to ritual, made manifest their righteousness and acted in complete faith. They exposed error, made humanity their law and humility their practice, showing the people wherein they should constantly abide. If there were any who did not abide by these principles, they were dismissed from their positions and regarded by the multitude as dangerous. This is the Age of Lesser Prosperity’ xiaokang.

In 2011, the Prime Minister defined xiaokang as ‘a society in which no one is poor and everyone receives an education, has paid employment, more than enough food and clothing, access to medical services, old-age support, a home and a comfortable life’ and, when China reaches that goal on June 1, 2021, there will be more drug addicts, suicides and executions, more homeless, poor, hungry and imprisoned people in America than in China.

Guided by Xi Jinping Thought (which, like Deng’s Thought which preceded it, is a plan and its ethical justification) the National Family will then attempt to create a dàtóng society, an advanced version of Marx’s notion of Communism, ‘from each according his ability, to each according to his need’. Once it is clear that virtually every Chinese is on board with this program, this account of the steps towards it makes sense.

Anciently, laws protected the State from the people (not vice versa) and the elite assumed that everyone was naturally wicked, controllable only by impersonal laws, “Applied to rich and poor alike for offenses large and small because, if small faults are pardoned, crimes will be numerous”. Yet, though Legalism had prevailed for a thousand years, crimes were stubbornly numerous because, Confucius explained, “If people are ruled by uniform laws and punished uniformly they’ll certainly try to avoid punishment but will never develop a sense of shame. If, on the other hand, they’re led by morally admirable people and encouraged by rules of good behavior they’ll emulate their leaders, internalize the moral code and gradually become good”.

Provincial governors began experimenting with his ideas and, four centuries later, the emperor formally adopted them and urged his officials to set a virtuous example and make repression unnecessary. Despite failures and setbacks, the rule of virtue proved popular, the spread of literacy introduced it to the masses and, just as the Master had predicted, the people gradually became good says[2]Imperial China 900-1800. F.W. Mote F. W. Mote, “More important than penal law and judicial procedures in maintaining order in the community were the methods of arbitration and compromise. That route to resolving disputes allowed the parties to retain their dignity, utilized social pressures as understood by all and gave problem-solving roles to senior figures acting as arbitrators that reinforced the community’s recognition of its shared ethical norms. Some regions of China were known to be more litigious, more quarrelsome, less placid than others but, throughout their observations of ordinary Chinese life from the sixteenth century onward, early European travelers remarked on the mannerliness, good humor and social graces of the common people”.

Then as now, China’s investment in crime prevention is astounding. The common people still address older strangers as ‘auntie,’ ‘uncle,’ ‘grandfather,’ or ‘grandmother’ and act, literally, as their brother’s keepers. Social pressure, amplified by social media, is immense and even strangers commonly address mischief-makers in the street. Instead of sliding down a slippery slope, would-be criminals must struggle through a briar patch of family, workmates, classmates, neighbors and strangers intent on socializing them. Mass media regularly explain new laws and schools, offices, factories, mines and even army units discuss them. Volunteers on every block liaise with police who know everyone in their precinct by name and who have tools–temporary restraining orders and home confinement among them–their Western colleagues can only dream of. Citizens have won the right to video police who must publish the status of all active cases online. Regulations have clarified concepts like the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence and made police and court officials responsible for wrongful prosecutions–for life, with no statute of limitations. All criminals, from arrest to release, must receive humane levels of material comfort and dignity and can prosecute prison staff if their rights are breached. Criminologists assume that even murderers can reform and inmates must participate in career, legal, cultural and a course of moral education that considers the social consequences of their crime.

As in France magistrates, traditionally regarded as neutral truth seekers, interrogate suspects, examine evidence, hear testimony and render verdicts. Since most have no formal legal training President Xi, who experimented with judicial oversight committees as a provincial governor, required jurists to be selected on their professional track records rather than political correctness and, by 2016, Shanghai’s Judicial Selection and Punitive Committee Trial Point[*]Trial Spots are administrative experiments at the local, provincial or national level to generate the statistical information required for passage of all legislation. Planners built the smaller, downstream Gezhouba Dam, as a Trial Point for the Three Gorges Dam but Congress remained unenthusiastic, finally approving the project by a small majority. had expelled a High Court prosecutor, two sub-prosecutors, the Vice President of the Provincial Supreme Court and a senior circuit court judge.

In 2016, Xi[3]Xi stresses integrating law, virtue in state governance. Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-10 21:27 explained to a study group, “Law is ethics expressed in words and ethics is law borne in people’s hearts. In state governance, law and ethics have equal status and play the role of regulating social behavior, adjusting social relations and maintaining social order. If rule of law embodies moral ideals they provide reliable institutional support for ethical behavior. Laws and regulations should promote the virtuous, while socialist core values (prosperity, democracy, civility, harmony, freedom, equality, justice, the rule of law, patriotism, dedication, integrity and friendliness) should be woven into legislation, law enforcement and judicial process”.

The culture’s traditionally low opinion of lawyers received a boost from current Prime Minister Li who, as a freshman, translated commentaries on British Common Law and the Supreme Court’s internship program now attracts top students. Trained appeals court judges have been overturning decades of wrongful convictions, ordering restitution and requiring courts to study the reversals. The court’s website–which has live-streamed six hundred thousand trials, explains unfamiliar concepts like due process, invites criticism of new laws and provides a database for legal scholars–has received five billion hits.

A Shanghai Trial Spot provides defense lawyers for every criminal defendant (mandatory only for juveniles, the disabled and those facing life imprisonment or death) and wealthier provinces are following suit. Others are trialling neighborhood mediation committees. One jurisdiction found that locating mediation offices in courthouses dramatically reduced litigation costs and now Beijing wants all lawyers to take mediation training. An Internet Trial Spot bundles free mediation, dispute settlement and legal aid on a platform that connects plaintiffs to thousands of lawyers, notaries and judicial appraisers. Another uses facial and speech recognition technologies and electronic signatures so that all parties can participate in online legal proceedings. In another Trial Spot plaintiffs go all the way to trial using Weisu, an app that lets them join the courtroom from home while the program verifies their ID, submits their files and transcribes their testimonies using voice-to-text. The government plans that, by 2020, everyone will be able to afford legal proceedings and, should they wish to appeal, the courts will have electronic records of their case.

Hangzhou, home of Jack Ma and Alibaba, launched the first cyber court in 2017 to handle exclusively online disputes like e-commerce complaints, online loan litigation and copyright infringement. On its website, Beijing’s Internet Court provides artificial intelligence-based risk assessment tools as a public service and automatically generates legal documents, applies machine translation and allows people to interact with its knowledge base orally to accelerate and simplify settlements. In 2018, it heard TikTok and Baidu contest ownership rights to user-generated content in short video apps.

In Taoist-Confucian China, of course, no-one is really separate: the government is part of the family and the courts are part of the government and nobody is under any illusion that they’re independent since, to reach dàtóng, everyone must be on the same page and navigating to dàtóng is the responsibility of the Communist Party. That’s why Chief Justice Xiao Yang told a shocked British journalist, “The power of the courts to adjudicate independently doesn’t mean independence from the Party at all. On the contrary, it embodies a high degree of responsibility vis-à-vis the Party’s [dàtóng] program”. The program, with ninety-five percent popular support, will deliver xiaokang prosperity and the Party’s logic is ancient: once everyone has a home, an education, safety, plentiful food, clothing, medical and old age care in 2021 then everyone can afford to improve their manners, good humor and social graces. But if the logic is ancient, the technology is not.

Technologies that revealing details about personal integrity have always caused alarm. In 1968, when credit bureaus were reporting debtors’ sexual and political preferences, The New York Times[4]Witness Says Credit Bureaus Invade Privacy and Asks Curb. NYT March 13, 1968 warned, “Transferring such information from a manual file onto a computer triggers a threat to civil liberties, to privacy, to a man’s very humanity–because access is so simple”. Fifty years later, three credit bureaus evaluated everyone, The NYPD surveilled New Yorkers with drones, the Federal Child Support Registry tracked parents, the No-Fly List grounded troublemakers, an IRS list blocked delinquents’ passports, the Federal Sex Offenders List wrecked offenders’ lives and the National Security Agency’s mission[5]Collect It All: The NSA Surveillance Doctrine. Andrew Conry Murray, Information Week, August 2014 was, ‘Know It All, Collect It All, Process It All, Exploit It All’.

The absence of capitalism, the efficiency of its crime prevention and the traditional preference for all cash, face-to-face transactions rendered credit records unnecessary until the 1980s, when Beijing launched Consumer Rights Day as a trust-building exercise. Officials and vendors took to the streets, experts discussed product quality and TV screens flashed shots of fake merchandise being shredded, crushed and burned. Though consumers are more sophisticated today, one element of the campaign remains popular: and ‘awards’ ceremony in which CEOs of cheating companies are hauled before a billion gleeful viewers, beg forgiveness and promise to change their companies’ wicked ways. Most are local but, when Apple was called out for persistently defying the two-year warranty law, CEO Tim Cook apologized and conformed. The CEOs of Volkswagen and Nikon have also taken the Walk of Shame, altered policies and groveled satisfyingly.

Then, in 2001, Internet fraud exploded, a cycle of distrust caused consumer confidence to plummet. Concerned, The People’s Daily called for ‘corporate and individual credit dossiers,’ to promote sincerity, chengxin, and trustworthiness, yongxin. Scholars extolled the benefits of accountability and American consultants went on TV to explain that credit records would make online transactions trustworthy. President Xi promised[6]18th Party Congress, November 8, 2012 to govern the country by virtuous example, hide zhiguo, and create a spiritual civilization, jingshen wenming, and called for Trial Spots to advance dàtóng. In response, Congress legislated[7]Global Policy Watch. ethical manufacturing, truthful advertising, secure distribution, honest payment and trustworthy delivery and required retailers to accept returns unconditionally within seven days, to pay doubled fines for false advertising and to refund three times the price of counterfeits (Nike ran ads urging consumers to make money off the counterfeits).

Suining County[8]China’s Social Credit System: An Evolving Practice of Control. Rogier Creemers. University of Leiden in Jiangsu Province had launched the first ‘mass credit’ Trial Spot in 2010. Citizens were initially given a thousand credit points and lost them for infringing legal, administrative and moral norms: a drunk driving conviction cost fifty points, having a child without family planning permission (this was before it was abolished) cost thirty-five points and delinquent loans cost thirty to fifty points. Lost points could be recovered after two to five years depending on the gravity of the infraction and participants were categorized A-D on the basis of their scores. A-class citizens received preferential access to employment opportunities while others faced scrutiny when applying for desirable jobs, government contracts, low-cost housing, social welfare, business licenses and permits. But when the county published the entire list Xinhua News compared it to the Good Citizen Cards, liangminzheng, Japanese occupiers issued during the war. Though crude and embarrassing, the trial provided valuable data on calibrated disincentives, the effects of naming and shaming and rewarding compliance with local rules and regulations.

E-commerce took off but, by 2014, the People’s Daily had become concerned, “Our national family currently suffers from socially unhealthy phenomena like economic disputes, telecommunications fraud, lack of trust and indifference to human feelings, perhaps because our integrity system is weak..Integrity systems are vitally important: they should start with government-level honesty, promise-keeping and respect for basic morality and customs, and make a genuine effort to strengthen social integrity”.

The timing was fortuitous: smartphones were becoming ubiquitous and the creating an online economy bigger than the rest of the world’s combined (during a twenty-four hour sale one merchant[9]The company also pledged $300 billion–of which the government guaranteed $12 billion–to provide finance, insurance, loans, logistics and analytical tools for cash-strapped small firms, street vendors and farmers and to help four hundred million unbanked rural people establish personal credit., handled a billion transactions, peddled 140,000 new cars and delivered a billion packages worth $30 billion and generated a billion credit records) and data showed that sales, profits and societal satisfaction rose with trust–a discovery that unleashed a flurry of Trial Spots designed to promote the virtuous and demote the vicious.

The first target was deadbeats, laolai, who stonewalled loan repayment because the police refused to collect debts so, in 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that anyone who failed to carry out a valid court order or administrative decision could be placed on a public list for up to two years. A Trial Spot began publishing laolai’s names, Social Security numbers, photographs, addresses and outstanding debts and restricting their access to ‘luxurious activities’ like traveling first-class. By 2018[10]Global Times, 2018/5/20, the program had blocked twelve million laolai flights, five million high-speed train trips and–to Beijing’s dismay–blacklisted a thousand government officials. One laolai Trial Spot told callers, “The person you are calling is listed as dishonest by the Dengfeng People’s Court. Please urge them to fulfill their obligations”. After featuring local laolai in a video clip set to dramatic music, a court website in Henan claimed its first victory when a Guangxi deadbeat saw himself and promptly paid his $78,000 debt.

Image: Douyin
Image: Douyin

Xi invited citizens to oversee opaque government departments and by 2019, one hundred towns and cities had been listed as dishonest, their top officials banned from taking high-speed trains, visiting golf courses and high-end hotels or purchasing real estate. Their cities’ credit ratings were downgraded and local governments began realizing that they are not only administrative entities but also civil subjects subject to civil laws. The Ministries of Ecology, Finance and Customs created a joint Trial Spot that, by 2018, had punished[12]China Economic Daily fifty-thousand corporations and reduced crimes like counterfeiting, food and drug violations and regulatory flouting. By 2019, the corporate watchdog had integrated existing laws into a transparent system of universal accountability and begun publishing every company’s inspection results and corporate behavior began to improve[13]What Could China’s ‘Social Credit System’ Mean for its Citizens? Foreign Policy, August 15, 2018:

Rules broken by corporations can lead to their being unable to issue corporate bonds and individuals officers being blocked from company directorships. Trust-breakers can face penalties on subsidies, career progression, asset ownership and the ability to receive honorary titles from the government. Penalties include limiting ability to establish companies in the financial sector, issue bonds, receive stock options, establish social organizations or participate in government procurement programs or receive government subsidies or in-kind support. Trust breakers are barred from senior positions in State Owned Enterprises, financial sector companies and social organizations, entry into the civil service, the Communist Party and the military; they are restricted from industry sectors including food, drugs, fireworks and dangerous chemicals and refused authentication for customs purposes; special procedures are required when they apply for loans and they are barred from purchasing real estate, land-use rights, exploiting natural resources and subject to restrictions on conspicuous consumption, no longer allowed to travel first class, on high-speed trains or civil aircraft, to visit star-rated hotels or luxury restaurants, resorts, nightclubs and golf courses, to go on foreign holidays, to send their children to fee-paying schools, purchase some high-value insurance products, or buy homes or cars.

As much as government and corporate dishonesty sap national strength, antisocial behavior, incivility and petty cheating dilute the quality of social life and

Tentative Trial Spots addressing antisocial behavior, incivility and petty cheating have begun to bear fruit, too. The national railways Trial Spot[14]Measures on the Administration of Railway Passenger Credit Records 2017 (Provisional) China Law Translate curtails travel for fare dodgers, disruptive behavior, smoking, scalping tickets, using false ID, invalid tickets and handles enforcement automatically. Personal Trial Spots, [15]China Daily. 2018-7-14. 09:50:51 while controversial, have stimulated a national debate about ethics: a private[16]Public universities are forbidden to discriminate on any but criminal grounds. university in Zhejiang told a businessman’s son they could not complete his enrollment because his father had failed to settle a $30,000 bank debt. While the father promptly paid the debt some netizens decried what they saw as collective punishment saying that parents, not their children, are responsible for their own misdeeds. Others argued that children should not enjoy privileges paid for with unpaid debt. Unleashed dogs, long a source of concern in Chinese cities, disappeared from Jinan after the city launched its “Civilized Dog-Raising Credit Score System” in 2018, and its success was duplicated elsewhere. Some personal Trial Spots are experimenting with credit objections, appeals and credit repair and protection of citizens’ rights.

As the trials mature, high Social Credit ratings have begun winning hearts and minds. Some automatically qualify high scorers for cheaper loans, upgraded flights, no-deposit rentals and–the ultimate Chinese incentive–desirable schools for offspring. Young people post scores to attract mates and one posted a video showing how Alibaba’s unstaffed automobile vending machine gave him a car for a three-day test drive and a cheap loan to buy it. China Daily regularly talks up the benefits, “After graduation, Zhang Hao, 28, found a job at a securities company in Hangzhou. On his mobile app, Alipay, he saw an apartment he liked. Alipay, Alibaba’s mobile payment service, rates its users’ credit based on their consumption and investment habits and Zhang had a high score so was exempted from the $1,000 security deposit and the $200 broker’s fee. The experience not only saved Zhang time and energy in renting an apartment, which is often complicated, but also gave him a fresh look at the city where he was about to build a career”.

By amplifying existing sanctions and building confidence in the law the plan hopes to make more people honest and fewer dishonest by applying the very Confucian assumption that officials and corporations should do the heavy lifting before citizens are asked to follow suit. Hence first phase[11]Social Credit Overview. Jeremy Daum. China Law Translate. 2018/10/31. will improve government transparency and public supervision of government actions, enforce commercial regulation, track corporate and industrial violations, uncover welfare and charity fraud and enhance courts’ credibility and capacity to enforce judgments.

Computer-aided virtue is on the march. Social Credit promises to be China’s biggest attitude adjustment since the Cultural Revolution and, if successful, will reduce costs and friction in trade, commerce, travel, romance and even international relations. More carrot than stick, it will empower good citizens to reap the benefits of a xiaokang society and, in the process, save an enormous amount of money.

With two percent of America’s legal professionals, one-fourth its internal security budget and unarmed police, China already has the lowest incarceration and re-offence rates on earth and the highest public satisfaction: when Harvard’s Tony Saich[17]How China’s citizens view the quality of governance under Xi Jinping. Tony Saich. Apr 2016. asked about their greatest concern people ranked ‘Maintenance of Social Order’ highest. When he asked which government service they were most satisfied with they again placed ‘Maintenance of Social Order’ first. As the most lawless centuries in its history fade into memory, will Social Credit speed China’s transition to dàtóng?

Notes

[1] Confidence in Institutions. 2018. Gallup

[2] Imperial China 900-1800. F.W. Mote

[*] Trial Spots are administrative experiments at the local, provincial or national level to generate the statistical information required for passage of all legislation. Planners built the smaller, downstream Gezhouba Dam, as a Trial Point for the Three Gorges Dam but Congress remained unenthusiastic, finally approving the project by a small majority.

[3] Xi stresses integrating law, virtue in state governance. Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-10 21:27

[4] Witness Says Credit Bureaus Invade Privacy and Asks Curb. NYT March 13, 1968

[5] Collect It All: The NSA Surveillance Doctrine. Andrew Conry Murray, Information Week, August 2014

[6] 18th Party Congress, November 8, 2012

[7] Global Policy Watch.

[8] China’s Social Credit System: An Evolving Practice of Control. Rogier Creemers. University of Leiden

[9] The company also pledged $300 billion–of which the government guaranteed $12 billion–to provide finance, insurance, loans, logistics and analytical tools for cash-strapped small firms, street vendors and farmers and to help four hundred million unbanked rural people establish personal credit.

[10] Global Times, 2018/5/20

[11] Social Credit Overview. Jeremy Daum. China Law Translate. 2018/10/31.

[12] China Economic Daily

[13] What Could China’s ‘Social Credit System’ Mean for its Citizens? Foreign Policy, August 15, 2018

[14] Measures on the Administration of Railway Passenger Credit Records 2017 (Provisional) China Law Translate

[15] China Daily. 2018-7-14. 09:50:51

[16] Public universities are forbidden to discriminate on any but criminal grounds.

[17] How China’s citizens view the quality of governance under Xi Jinping. Tony Saich. Apr 2016.

 
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: Censorship, China, China/America, Crime 
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  1. it was a nice change to read a informational article about China instead of reading a propaganda filled muuh concentration camps galore:)

  2. peterAUS says:

    I guess that lack of comments tells something.

    For me it simply felt surreal. As long it stays within borders of that (future) paradise.

    Should it spill out of borders “surreal” will definitely change to something else.

    I am sure that’s a wet dream of ….ahm…certain parties in West. But even they would feel slightly …weird?….pushing for it.
    I mean, they know that even most of them will be watched and measured. Uncomfortable, at least.

    It appears that author is in favor of such world. No comment there.

  3. Excellent piece. I feel emotionally informed about Chinese attitudes.

  4. @peterAUS

    ‘Surreal’ (strange, odd, queer, curious, weird, peculiar, funny, eccentric, outlandish, ludicrous, ridiculous, fantastic) is an interesting epithet.

    China’s culture is literally outlandish. It’s hard to follow Braudel’s advice to imagine, “the impact on European civilization of a series of Imperial dynasties maintaining the self-same style and significance from Caesar Augustus until the First World War. Now imagine such a civilization existing on the other side of the planet unaware of Greek philosophy, the alphabet, Roman governance, Christianity, feudalism, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment or democracy, but with its own, unique cultural and institutional correlates that exceeded all of them in intellectual subtlety and material success“.

    It’s almost as hard as imagining what it would be like to have our brains distributed along our arms and legs, as octopi do.

    There’s no point in being if favor of, or against, such a world since that world is not accessible to us. It’s a very ancient world, built around assumptions and customs entirely different from our own.

    It’s an excerpt from a book I’m writing about China and Ron has kindly allowed me to use this space to garner feedback. The deafening silence around this excerpt, as you rightly observe, tells me a great deal. I’ll have to go back and make sure that everything in this section is well supported by what precedes it, and I’ll have to re-write this section, expand it and tie its various elements to the Confucian tradition that underlies it and the culture that has spawned it.

  5. DB Cooper says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Godfree is on to something here. In many respects Chinese quite often have a worldview the opposite of their Western counterparts. The result of a culture very alien to the West as Godfree noted here. It is not right or wrong, just different. Here is one example. Chinese in general have a higher trust in the central government than the local governments. It is historically been this way. This is the polar opposite of the mindset of the Americans. Americans in general distrust the federal government more than the state government. This is just one example of difference in world views. If I have time I can write more about these kind of differences.

    • Replies: @ltlee
  6. anonymous[469] • Disclaimer says:

    “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom” anyone? Yes, we humans generally pay quite a bit of attention to social norms and ranking (probably some more disposed to this than others), and – if/when – well and honorably guided, this can be a good thing. But remember, humans also will ‘optimize’ (aka cut corners) relative to stated/enforced rules and boundaries. How does such a full disclosure society manage itself against being gamed by the rougher edges of our too often expressed potential for (in)humanity?

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  7. peterAUS says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    I think there is a bit of misunderstanding here, so, let’s clear it.

    When I said surreal I wasn’t talking about Chinese culture. I was talking about surveillance state managed by party apparatchiks.

    Now, to clear it again, in a perfect world where some sort of benevolent all powerful entity can see all, evaluate that and act upon it, yes, I wouldn’t mind it. Something, say, as that Central Computer in “The City and the Starts”. So, as idea, one day, perhaps, it could be a good thing. Definitely NOT a good thing today. Or, better, a terrible thing.

    So, to emphasize my point re

    ….There’s no point in being if favor of, or against, such a world…

    There are quite a few points to be against such a world.

    I can, with ease, imagine such environment in any major Western city, and managed by “progs”.

    Now, I am sure that “cosmopolitan urbanites” wouldn’t mind that. But, something tells me that many people reading , let alone posting, here would mind it very much.
    Including majority of authors.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  8. @anonymous

    They give moral oversight to admirable citizens, the ninety million Party members who have sworn to ‘bear hardships first and enjoy comforts last’. Few of them benefit much materially from membership and hundreds of thousands have given their lives since the Party’s founding. Make no mistake: all China’s elite are members and people expect them to set an example when the shit hits the fan.

    The work the of actually reaching xiaokang and datongis deputized to governance professionals, who are drawn from the top 2% of university graduates then sent to godforsaken villages until they raise the villagers’ incomes by 50%. The best of them are asked to repeat the performance at the township, county, city and provincial levels before being called to Beijing for advanced training and greater responsibility. As these ambitious officials rise, their lives become increasingly transparent and, since all promotions are publicly advertised and all candidates have strong track records, most weight is given to their moral stature. So, at both the ideological and the administrative levels, everything converges towards the ethical.

    It sounds too good to be true–until you check the stats.

    • Replies: @alan2102
  9. @peterAUS

    Coming as we do from a (currently dystopian) Western governance model and informed as we are by media hostile to theirs, it’s natural for us to imagine a surveillance state managed by party apparatchiks.

    But their governance model is utterly unlike ours, their government has kept every promise it’s made for seventy years and and they’re informed by media they trust. As Martin Jacques says,

    The Chinese state enjoys much greater legitimacy than any Western state. The Chinese treat the state with a reverence and respect that is more or less unknown in the West; and the reason clearly has nothing to do with democracy. In other words, a state’s legitimacy cannot be reduced to the existence or otherwise of democracy: on the contrary, democracy is not necessarily the most important factor in a state’s legitimacy and may, as in the case of China, be relatively unimportant.

    The underlying reason for the legitimacy of the Chinese state is that, as discussed earlier, it is seen by the people as the embodiment and guardian of Chinese civilization, enjoying, as a consequence, something akin to a spiritual significance. It follows that what would undermine the legitimacy of a government, the present one included, is a threat to the country’s unity. The attitude of the Chinese towards the state, thus, is very different to that of Westerners.

    For the latter, the state is an outsider, a stranger, even an interloper, whose presence should, as far as possible, be limited and confined. This is most obviously the case in the United States, with those who identify with the Tea Party, for example, regarding the state as an alien body, but even in Europe it is viewed with varying degrees of suspicion.

    In China, in contrast, the state and society are seen as on the same side and part of the same endeavour: the state enjoys the status of an intimate and is treated like a member of the family, not just any member but the head of the family – the patriarch himself. We can only understand the immense authority of the Chinese state in these terms, an authority which has been reinforced by the fact that, unlike in the West, it has had no serious rivals for over a millennium.

    When China Rules the World

    • Replies: @Per/Norway
    , @peterAUS
    , @densa
  10. Have an uneasy feeling about the perspective of Godfree Roberts, despite interesting factoids etc

    There is a hint of, ‘It’s a really, really different culture so you can’t really criticise it’ relativism theme

    Seems there is a ‘most Chinese are on board with the programme, so it’s good’ fallacy … But what realistic choice do the Chinese have if they are not ‘on board’? It is human nature to internalise and pretend you like, what you must accept anyway

    Hong Kongers and Taiwanese I have met rather differ … mainland Chinese also sometimes drop quiet subtle ambiguous hints that they wish things were different in some ways

    Tho Chinese also see that ‘exiting China’ is not so realistic either even where immigration avenues are open, because (1) the West is both pretty corrupt itself and falling apart as well (2) Western people are not your tribe tho you may live amongst them (3) China is the power of the future (4) the long arm of China reaches globally and can ‘touch’ you, including via family etc

    China is not the most darling big-power actor … ‘economic hit man’ type debt-enslavement of other countries … flat-out bullying in the South China Sea etc … or so it seems

    Tho there seems to be a few well-funded cheerleaders, such as André Vltchek, critiquing the West passionately and accurately, but selling one version or another of the story, that the hate targets of the West, Russia or China or Iran or Cuba or Venezuela or North Korea etc, are in fact great wonderful places in many ways

    Whereas I get a rather more mixed view from travellers to most of the above, whom I meet personally … certainly the Western-Nato propaganda is full of tripe … but there is lots going on elsewhere that seems rough and ugly too … not just ‘temporary problems or weaknesses’, but things likely to stay negative and not as we would wish

    Godfree Roberts is ‘writing a book’ … Is a ‘book’ really something in these times? People largely do not so much buy or read books anymore, tho the notion still has a certain lustre for older folks … in general, a book now, seems a way to bury ideas more than spread them

  11. @Godfree Roberts

    I am looking forward to read your book. I bookmarked this article so i wont forget.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  12. @Brabantian

    My experience with Chinese people i have met and talked with(tourists in Norway`s beautiful Geiranger fiord) have boasted about the Chinese government and its honesty when compared with the west, they said they were mostly satisfied with the government and its work. I admit that a dozen Chinese is not a very big number but i hope to remedy that when i travel to China next year.

  13. I suspect that Chinese “support” for these police-state measures is much like Western “support” for PC culture. They’re looking over their shoulders, fearful of being the nail that gets hammered down.
    I take neo-liberal anti-Chinese propaganda with a very big grain of salt, but Godfree is the exactly the opposite, swallowing their state propaganda hook, line, and sinker.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @alan2102
  14. peterAUS says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    ….their governance model is utterly unlike ours, their government has kept every promise it’s made for seventy years and and they’re informed by media they trust….

    Moving on.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  15. peterAUS says:
    @Fidelios Automata

    ….swallowing their state propaganda hook, line, and sinker.

    I get a feeling it’s something else.

  16. peterAUS says:
    @Brabantian

    Have an uneasy feeling about the perspective of Godfree Roberts, despite interesting factoids etc

    Don’t say.

    Hong Kongers and Taiwanese I have met rather differ … mainland Chinese also sometimes drop quiet subtle ambiguous hints that they wish things were different in some ways.

    Pretty much.

    Tho Chinese also see that ‘exiting China’ is not so realistic either even where immigration avenues are open, because (1) the West is both pretty corrupt itself and falling apart as well (2) Western people are not your tribe tho you may live amongst them (3) China is the power of the future (4) the long arm of China reaches globally and can ‘touch’ you, including via family etc

    Yup. Especially the 2.
    But, they do open sometimes and then you can hear a lot. Barbecue with a lot of beer helps there.

    …Whereas I get a rather more mixed view from travellers to most of the above…

    Swap “travelers” with “immigrants” and you’ll hear better.

  17. alan2102 says:
    @Brabantian

    “there is lots going on elsewhere that seems rough and ugly too … not just ‘temporary problems or weaknesses’, but things likely to stay negative and not as we would wish”

    On what basis do you say “likely to stay negative”? I’m not saying you are wrong, but asking you to inquire of yourself. What makes for that perceived likelihood?

    In the case of China, my own guess is that things are likely to get more positive. When I ask of myself why I believe that, I don’t have a clear answer. But I do know that the totality of everything I have read in recent years suggests that they are at least somewhat more intelligent, and somewhat more morally enlightened*, than us (Westerners) at this time and for the foreseeable future. Hence: likely to get more positive.

    * A low bar, I grant.

  18. alan2102 says:
    @Fidelios Automata

    “I take neo-liberal anti-Chinese propaganda with a very big grain of salt, but Godfree is the exactly the opposite, swallowing their state propaganda hook, line, and sinker.”

    Consider that we are utterly awash in neoliberal Sinophobic propaganda. It is universal. As such, we desperately need the opposite point of view to be articulated. Call it “swallowing propaganda” if you wish, but to me this articulation is essential, and very rare — possibly truly unique, i.e. not existing ANYWHERE else in the West. A great public service, if for no other reason than to chart the antipode without which one cannot meaningfully think or form an opinion about something.

  19. @Per/Norway

    email me at my first name at gmail.com and I’ll send you a sample chapter

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    , @anon
  20. @peterAUS

    Have you ever read a Five Year Plan? They average 20-30 promises. You can track their promise-keeping rate here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-year_plans_of_China

  21. Anon[250] • Disclaimer says:

    The article presents the social credit system as a good thing. This is somewhat the idea that “a good dictator is a good thing”, with a “good dictator” one that imposes to all what you yourself think is the right thing… It all goes wrong as soon as the “dictator with absolute power” starts to impose rules you don’t agree with…

    If everybody agreed on everything including what is good and desirable, all the time, this social credit system would be a benign framework. But this is not what happens in reality.
    In practical terms the social credit system will impose on all, in a total surveillance way, criteria decided by a set of higher rank people, and through algorithms that they do not disclose to the common citizens. This means the Chinese citizen will constantly be haunted by the uncertainty “Is this within the rules?” and to be on the safe side will “comply and over comply”. I don’t think this is benign.
    At some point the algorithms, run automatically, with artificial intelligence, may even affect the higher rank group of leaders that put them in place, and go out of control even of that group.

    For common people, disagreeing with the social credit system does not mean they are bad people. They may simply disagree with some of what is imposed. For example, if they see evidence that a given vaccine is harming children, it is only natural that they will want to avoid their own child being vaccinated – and they will be penalized in their score for doing so. If they want to help a friend with a lower score, that is in difficulties with the system because of his/her score, they won’t be free to do it… or they will have penalties on their own social credit score.
    Is this a society we want to live in?

    The social credit techniques being implemented in China will leak or merrily expand to the West. We should be very alert and try to avert this happening.

    • Replies: @alan2102
    , @Erebus
  22. alan2102 says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    “It sounds too good to be true”

    Yes, many things about China sound too good to be true, almost. It appears to be a socialist utopia in the making, and will remain so as long as it maintains its LEFT creds: commitment to social justice, sex equality, racial equality, the general welfare, antiwar/anti-imperialism, and environmental protection; universalism in general. Humanistic, eco-centric and morally enlightened.

    Areas of concern that would be inconsistent with the noble left orientation: Han racism (a significant problem); strident Chinese nationalism (a little, here and there); hero-worshiping personality cultism around Xi and formerly Mao (not too bad, but some). Also a growing military budget; still small by U.S. standards, and justifiable (they have to be able to defend themselves from Western aggression), but something to watch, cautiously.

    Other than those things, there is little resonance with right Hegelianism or fascism; they show no signs of degenerating into a right totalitarian dystopia — hyper-nationalism and exceptionalism, jingoism and glorification of brutality, sexism, imperialism, ruthless domination and exploitation, etc., etc. Even their Han racism, distasteful though it may be, has little practical consequence; witness their behavior in Africa, which is decidedly ANTI-racist in actual substance; not to mention the fabulous Belt and Road (backed with serious money, not just talk), which welcomes all nations, all races, all ethnicities, to participate in mutually-beneficial trade and development. Contrast the West: now subjectively (and sanctimoniously) “anti-racist”, but still decidedly racist in actual objective substance, up to and including literal genocide of black and brown people.

    The social credit system has at first blush a totalitarian flavor, until you realize that the utopian aspect — broad (even universal) mutual encouragement of ethical behavior — far outweighs the ugly dictatorial aspect. “Dictatorial” is not even the right word, since it is not a matter of some mere fiat from on high, which everyone must obey. The enforcer is not the state, but the people themselves. The people ARE the state, in a sense. And as Godfree pointed out, it is more carrot than stick, and a cooperative thing; “do well by doing good”; “let’s all help each other to do better”. Humane and comradely. The right/fascist version would have an entirely different flavor: peremptory and brutal, fear-based and fostering paranoia, featuring secret police spying on your every move, scapegoating and ostracism of violators, perhaps arrests and summary punishment, or perhaps even people being “disappeared”, and so on.

    The funny thing about Westerners is that they look at something like China’s social credit system, and all they can see is dictatorship and the right/fascist version of things. They are blind to the utopian aspect, which is far more important. It is as though the Western mind is poisoned in such a way that it can only see evil, not good. I’ve noticed the same thing with respect to China in Africa: Westerners see only a new colonial force, aiming to extract, exploit, enslave and despoil, (just like the West did), while the reality is much different and close to the opposite of that. I think it is projection: the corruption and brutality of the West, over the centuries, is now projected onto any new comer. It is as though assumed that someone else’s agenda MUST be as foul and nasty as one’s own. Hence China’s social credit system MUST reflect ugly dictatorship and descent into Orwellian dystopian hell (as it almost certainly would if it were happening in the West). It is all that they know, and therefore all that they can see. And to an uncomfortable extent, all that they can BE. Even the Western left (what tiny pockets of it remain after a half-century of systematic marginalization and destruction) has a hard time with this, and behaves as though not comprehending what is happening in front of their eyes. When asked about China, Noam Chomsky for example dwells almost exclusively on their problems, as though uncomprehending of their accomplishment and trajectory.

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
  23. alan2102 says:
    @Anon

    “The social credit techniques being implemented in China will leak or merrily expand to the West. We should be very alert and try to avert this happening.”

    I agree. We should not try anything like this. We would fuck it up. We would do it the right/fascist way, and it would speed our descent into hell.

    Give a good tool to a bad person, and bad stuff will happen.

  24. @peterAUS

    For me it simply felt surreal. As long it stays within borders of that (future) paradise.

    I wouldn’t hope too hard.

    Domestic Chinese issues aside, social credit married to advanced surveillance technologies (in which China has become an international leader) are essentially a social-technological rootkit that annuls the risk of color revolutions – forever.

    Authoritarian regimes everywhere are going to be salivating after it. Venezuela is already serving as a testbed.

    The main difference, as I see it, is that the bigger and higher IQ authoritarianisms, such as Russia, will largely build their own domestic equivalents; while the smaller, low IQ countries, such as most of Southeast Asia and much of Africa, will be more directly reliant on China for the system’s technical upkeep (with all the accompanying political dependence).

    Of course the picture will not be any better outside the Sinosphere. Within the Blue Empire (otherwise known as neoliberalism.txt and GloboHomo world), the system will be softer, but even more universalistic, aggressive, and will actually seek the demographic replacement of its indigenous populations, as opposed to just keeping an oligarchy in perpetual power.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Godfree Roberts
  25. peterAUS says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Unfortunately, agree.

    Let’s say that I have some (real life) experience re how state level security works (from my service period) and re information technology (re my “civy street” sort of career/job after).
    The topic, for obvious reasons, has been on my mind for quite some time.

    When I visualize possible scenarios author is so happy about I can see….what would be the right word/expression……true dystopian world.

    What IDIOTS appear not to have grasped is that it will not be only what one does. It will be also what one does not do. Or, worse, does not do well.

    It’s like having somebody constantly watching how you behave, from body language through facial expressions to, yes, tone of your voice. Watching, judging, measuring.

    For (resident) IDIOTS, an example, as we speak:
    Do you have all the proper Internet presence?
    If some event happened in your place have your comments there been along the proper line?
    No comments? Really? Why not?
    Possibilities are endless and none good.

    I could go on but, really, no point.
    IDIOTS can’t get it and smart people know exactly what to think and feel about this.

    As I said, not many comments. The first group isn’t big here, apparently (well…hehe..at least not for this topic) and the second sees not much point in commenting.

    I’ve been …hehe..hoping to have a bit of communication here about how to minimize the danger if/when it becomes operational in “Within the Blue Empire (otherwise known as neoliberalism.txt and GloboHomo world)”.

    • Replies: @Erebus
    , @m___
  26. nsa says:

    Godflee know China velly wise because not allow heblew tlibe into Middle Kingdom to splead dlugs and polnoglaphy and pelvelsion and take ovel evelything long time and lig stock malket and cut off end of baby plick so plick look funny.

  27. Erebus says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Nice piece Godfree. I’m much more sanguine about the social credit system China’s developing than other Westerners. It somehow fits the Chinese people in ways that I can’t imagine it fitting anywhere else. It looks to me to be the modern equivalent of the social conditioning employed throughout history to maintain social cohesion. As you say…

    It’s a very ancient world, built around assumptions and customs entirely different from our own.

    Besides, they like it, it suits them, and it will (probably) work. So what’s the problem?

    Since the Song Dynasty, governance has been held as the highest of the high arts, and a harmonious, prosperous society is the supreme goal, indeed the whole point, of good governance. It’s in the culture’s DNA to drive towards that outcome. Xi’s thought simply recognizes that China is on the verge of achieving prosperity and that, as a good governor, it’s time to look after the other side of the coin, harmony. I suppose one could hope that it developed organically, but hope ain’t a strategy, and supremely successful strategy is what brought them this far. I have little doubt they’ll succeed. They’re succeeding already.

    The deafening silence around this excerpt, as you rightly observe, tells me a great deal.

    The deafening silence may have more to do with the fact that many read UR on mobile devices, where this article doesn’t appear. Certainly true for me. Also, I’m probably typical in that I don’t go looking for the latest article from (say) Godfree Roberts, especially as he doesn’t publish all that often. So, until it shows up on the front page, it largely goes unnoticed. You’ll see the numbers go up dramatically now that it occupies top spot.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  28. Erebus says:
    @Anon

    In practical terms the social credit system will impose on all, in a total surveillance way, criteria decided by a set of higher rank people, and through algorithms that they do not disclose to the common citizens.

    Wrong. There was so much polling, public consultation and local trials of this program that a Westerner could only dream that his govt had a similar concern for the people’s opinion on the matter.

    This means the Chinese citizen will constantly be haunted by the uncertainty “Is this within the rules?” and to be on the safe side will “comply and over comply”. I don’t think this is benign.

    Wrong again. The average Chinese citizen will now know be free of the uncertainty of who he’s dealing with. A major problem when you’ve got 1.4B people, many of whom are far away from the governance of their birthplace’s social groups. “Over-compliance” won’t be a factor except on the margins.

    Is this a society we want to live in?

    Wrong question. The only question is whether the avg Chinese wants to live in it, and it appears that they do. Fear not, if it gets onerous, the Chinese can and will get damn inharmonious about it and the govt will make the necessary adjustments.

  29. Enough to make one apply for membership of the Chinese communist party. Or at least pretend to. Of course it won’t work.
    Utopias cannot be legislated. The Chinese don’t trust each other. They’re scared of their government. Their corporations. Their neighbours. They triple lock their doors and put bars on their windows. The Japanese don’t even know where their house keys are.

    That said I’d love to be proved wrong.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  30. R. Jones says:

    The wife and I live in Shanghai, have for a few months now. This article explains much of what I have observed. Thanks for the insight.

  31. Erebus says:
    @peterAUS

    Peter, what stands out in all your scribblings on this subject is that your arguments (whether about Russia or China) are based on the conviction that the same type of people to rise to the top in China as one sees in the West. These things are, of course, in the longer term subject to the vicissitudes of history, but in the present and foreseeable context you couldn’t miss the mark by more than you have. Missed the barn, as it were, and the moon as well.

    You simply don’t believe, or can’t understand, that Mr. Roberts’ description of how the Chinese governors and civil servants are chosen, tested, trained and groomed for good governance is true. That is an error. They actually do develop that way, and I happen to know personally a counter example that proves the rule. A bright young man with a degree in English literature and another in International Law that failed the civil service exam 2x. He dreamed of being in govt, but was forced into a successful career in business.

    His disappointment would astonish a Westerner, but that’s a difference you can’t see and until you see it you’ll be making inane, unsubstantiated statements that remain wildly off the mark – to the point of irrelevancy. Unlike others here, I don’t consider you a troll, but your parochialism gets the better of you too often on subjects such as this one.

    Plato, the Father of Western thought on governance argued that philosophers, specially trained and nurtured to rule wisely, are the only way to guarantee longevity to a society’s well-being. The West long ago abandoned the idea in favour of being ruled by mediocrities and worse, but the Chinese are making Plato’s idea work on a scale neither Plato, nor any other Western political thinker, could imagine. As someone who’s watched China first hand for almost 30 yrs, the progress on all the scales and metrics one can think of is unmistakeable. Spectacular, most obviously, on the economic scale, but unmistakeable on every other one as well. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but China damn near was and it’s still building largely because it is very well governed.

    I’m not Chinese, and I don’t “get” everything about what’s going on in China, but I know success when I see it. I also know failure when I see it. Whether you’d like to live with failure or success is a matter of personal preference, but it ain’t an argument and is a matter of supreme indifference to the readers here.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
    , @peterAUS
  32. danand says:

    How far out will a future 5 year plan begin to address this: will it be prior to, or after WW3?

    You will find more infographics at Statista

  33. @Erebus

    Agreed. I’m surprised that so few people grasp that a culture can be different–or even understand what a culture is.

  34. wow.
    This is going to require some thought.

    Thank you Mr Roberts and thank you Mr Unz.

  35. @Erebus

    My personal observations match yours.

    I know a Chinese biologist-turned merchant banker-philanthropist who practically worships government ministers. He says that, compared to them senior Morgan Stanley figures are pygmies. I thought him a bit school boyish until I saw Ray Dalio’s awestruck admiration of Liu He.

    Then Trump’s equally school boyish quote caught my eye: “People say you don’t like China. No, I love them,” he said. “But their leaders are much smarter than our leaders. And we can’t sustain ourselves with that. It’s like, take the New England Patriots and Tom Brady and have them play your high school football team.”

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  36. @James Tangney

    However the microcosm might look, the big picture shows that the Chinese are the most trusting society on earth. Check out the annual Edelman and Pew surveys and, as a reality check, ask yourself if what they’ve accomplished in 70 years could have been accomplished without immense trust?

  37. @Godfree Roberts

    I have long argued, against the current immigration lunacy, that Societies succeed because they’ve built up, usually over centuries, a widely accepted and practiced set of behaviors; social capital built up of predictable actions and attitudes and beliefs. The core of the culture.
    Immigrants; who do not have that ingrained culture are likely to be destructive of social capital and destructive to the host society.

    China, it seems is massively wealthy in social capital albeit in a currency alien and unheard of in the West. The appropriation of this capital would seem to be very difficult for the rootless cosmopolitan elites destroying the West.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  38. @Godfree Roberts

    I hope you simultaneously publish it both in hard copy and E-book. With very few exception I read books now on my kindle, primarily because I read for about four hours during the long dark reaches of the night and it’s less disturbing to the wife but also because with Cherry now about ten bux a linear foot, I’m done with building more bookcases.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  39. Miro23 says:

    There are some interesting issues in this article.

    For example, Democracy (the will of the people) is sometimes bottom up (active politics with power and issue voting at the lower levels, and decisions transmitted upwards – e.g. Switzerland) or more commonly, top down, with periodic elections entrusting representatives with the issues and high level congressional type voting – e.g. United States.

    China isn’t either, and could be described as a meritocratic autocracy, with carefully vetted leadership candidates proceeding upwards through their careers towards top positions.

    Society ultimately needs to have its desires enacted while being protected from tyrants/dictators. So which system does this best?

    On the question of homosexual marriage, the Swiss, under their system of obligatory public participation and voting (aided by time off work, pro and con study material etc.) by a small margin decided on approval – but without the possibility of adoption.

    In contrast, the US public had approval of homosexual marriage imposed on them, whether they liked it or not, through SJW activism at the Congressional level (along with a whole raft of other Special Interest legislation).

    The Chinese elite would presumably decide that homosexual marriage was a bad idea since “meritocratic autocracies” are innately conservative and strive for consensus over argument. They define what is “good” and members of the public who disagree will learn to conform and keep their heads down (they could lose points).

    So the best guarantee against tyranny/dictatorship, and elites defining what is “good”, is to keep real power at the lowest level possible (difficult, time consuming and hard work) with a weak central government (and Presidency) and most taxation raised and spent locally – not at all the Chinese model.

  40. @Miro23

    I agree with the thrust of your arguement but
    “the US public had approval of homosexual marriage imposed on them, whether they liked it or not, through SJW activism at the Congressional level ” is just plain wrong.

    Homosexual marriage was imposed largely by unelected judges.

    • Agree: Che Guava
    • Replies: @Anon
  41. Agent76 says:

    Dec 1, 2018 China Creates Genetic Super Babies

    A Chinese scientist may have created the world’s first genetically engineered babies. Gene editing is banned in many countries, but guess what? Not in China.

  42. Tom Welsh says:

    “In 2011, the Prime Minister defined xiaokang as ‘a society in which no one is poor and everyone receives an education, has paid employment, more than enough food and clothing, access to medical services, old-age support, a home and a comfortable life’”.

    That looks very similar indeed to Colonel Qadafi’s Libya. Unfortunately, while it took him 50 years to build, it took the West only a few days to destroy it utterly.

    One very much hopes that the new China will be able to defend itself against all kinds of assaults – whether military, economic, financial, or cultural.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  43. Just a small bump —–

    despite China’s pervasiveness, including the successes of Khan, most of western ethos is not derived from the East.

  44. Che Guava says:

    God-free,

    I like your articles in part, do not wish you few replies, and think you would agree that Deng’s moves such as destroying ag. collectives, general basic health-care, and village education all of a sudden were somewhat evil.

    At one stage, I was saying, ‘They should have kept Deng in exile forever’. His actions once he had returned (and soon to power) clearly demonstrated that those who had sent him to meditate on those less well off than Party bosses had been correct in their action.

    Social Credit is a strange choice of English translation. I read that it was a force in Canadian politics, also a party in New Zealand on the same principles.

    The idea was very different, though not bad.

    The next time I am meeting my Chinese neighbour, I will ask him about it. Can you enter the kanji so that I will know how it is written?

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  45. Che Guava says:

    God-free

    On reading your latest mind-vomit in more detail, it is clear that you are a fantasist.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  46. Anon[413] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bill Jones

    It looks like a rope yarn question who imposes (or produces, instils, popularizes,…) ethnic masochism, homosexuality or female privilege, female or minority resentment…

    Because it’s not one or the other chunk of the power system, but the entirety of it acting organically.
    They aren’t less homogeneous, organized, planning-ahead, and hard to dislodge than for example China’s government.
    One gets the opposite e
    One gets impression if one mistakes elected officials and political/cultural figureheads for the actual members of the actual government.
    They “impose” the “values” that best fit their goals in a co-ordinated co-operative way, through pop culture (Hollywood, TV series), “information”, the judiciary, school education, and so on.

    A piece by David Chibo finely resuming the U. S. power structure showed up on this very site sometime ago: it’s a great read for who missed it.

    Then you have the EU, that is all but a “union”, therefore doomed to be under the U. S. ‘s thumb.
    Just look at how Trump tweets a thing like “I am against a EU army, they tried it in World War I and II and it didn’ t go well”. Which is how rulers speak to subjects (misrepresenting lying admonishing), colonizers to colonized, and generically, how power speaks to truth.

    Now imagine an EU’s country’s president telling the US what they should and shouldn’t do army-wise.

    I am not saying, however, that the EU deserves better. They adamantly refuse to be European and to be a union and, to quote a most wise European politician, fractioned and rivalling each other as they are, they grant their own irrelevance in a world made of geopolitical giants.

  47. @Godfree Roberts

    What country has China invaded recently? Tibet? When was the last time the USA “won” a war? Granada? The military doesn’t want to “win” wars because the profit for the rich means never ending them. As soon as they stop, the Ponzi scheme stops and the tax payers stop having to pay. Only communist brainwashed fools see the military as their friend rather than theft from their paychecks.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  48. m___ says:
    @peterAUS

    “Bee hive” (China), or “hungry cage of rats” (The West), out of these two, a global rule will be distilled. What either looks like locally, is just a mere suggestion since other variables not taken into account prime.

    China herds people, on an unsustainable course, as does the West. In that sense both are doomed to timely merge into something else. A taste of method, procedure, that leaves out confinement as a prerogative, nothing much on the horizon.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  49. c matt says:

    “By 2019 . . .”

    The Chinese created a time machine as well?

    This all sounds great, but then so does communism when run by saints. The Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” comes to mind.

  50. peterAUS says:
    @Erebus

    …to the point of irrelevancy….

    Living under surveillance state is irrelevant for you?
    O.K.

  51. peterAUS says:
    @Miro23

    … the best guarantee against tyranny/dictatorship, and elites defining what is “good”, is to keep real power at the lowest level possible (difficult, time consuming and hard work) with a weak central government (and Presidency) and most taxation raised and spent locally – not at all the Chinese model.

    Pretty much.
    Unfortunately, requires informed, intelligent and hard working average person. The trick is….good and comfortable life creates quite the opposite.
    Big topic, of course.

    • Agree: Miro23
    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  52. peterAUS says:
    @m___

    Well….as per Anatoly’s comment here (24), I do see this Chinese thing as a pilot to be extended, with gusto, in West (and everywhere else). Probably just matter of time.

    At least that’s the plan.

    The technology is there with bit of tweaking here and there (IoT…..).

    I can see, with ease, introducing a pilot selectively here and there in West. As we speak, I am sure that most of corporate rats would happily accept it (keyword “bonus”……). Working class mice too (keywords “safety” and that “bonus” again).

    Extending it in public space would be a bit more challenging but I could see it firstly being introduced in ghettos (key expression “unemployed benefits”) and, of course, college campuses. Haha..the level of virtue signalling will go through the roof I am sure.

    Anyway…..save some miracle it IS coming.

    • Replies: @m___
  53. peterAUS says:

    Food for thought, perhaps:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-18/china-social-credit-a-model-citizen-in-a-digital-dictatorship/10200278

    Quotes:

    Already, about 10 million people have been punished in the trial areas of social credit.
    Liu Hu is just one of them.

    Liu Hu is an investigative journalist who has uncovered corruption at the top levels of the Party and solved serial murder cases.

    Hu lost his social credit when he was charged with a speech crime and now finds himself locked out of society due to his low score.

    In 2015, Hu lost a defamation case after he accused an official of extortion.

    He was made to publish an apology and pay a fine but when the court demanded an additional fee, he refused.

    Last year, the 43-year-old found himself blacklisted as “dishonest” under a pilot social credit scheme.

    “There are a lot of people who are on the blacklist wrongly, but they can’t get off it,” says Hu.
    Hu’s social media accounts, where he published much of his investigative journalism, have also been shut down.

    Hu believes his blacklisting is political and has tried to appeal to authorities. So far he has been met with silence.

  54. anon[418] • Disclaimer says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    have you previously explained your first name?

  55. @Godfree Roberts

    I make much of the Tibetan resistance.
    And of the Taiwanese resistance.
    And of the Uyghur resistance.
    And of certain Cantonese instincts.

    And whatever faults the US has – and there are many, some may even be the end of us – I make much of the absence of anything like the same.

    You are on to something, that’s sure. There is more than one kind of capital. I’d wager: 80% of the readers of this webzine can’t name it, but more than half of those are here because of its absence in the US, because of our poverty for this – railing against a poverty they don’t understand they cling to affiliations that they do and find comfort in others who do the same.
    So you are right to have your finger on the existence of an underlying, abstract, noun. But just like financial capital – it is possible to have too much of this kind of capital, and as with financial capital certain ills follow from overabundance and concentration.
    Studious and sensitive to note the presence of something where others do not, to be able to go on at book length about its conditions, its ecology – you just can’t name it, can you? And even less so – can you detect the essence of the objections that are raised, and answer them: by balancing, rather than with apologia?

  56. Bigbeef says:

    Excuse me but why is this Chinese Social Credit system so different from the American Credit Score system. In the end it’s exactly the same. I don’t get to get on planes because my credit score is low, so I have no money to get on the plane or lease a car. The only difference is the Chinese are trying to socialize their millions of wily peasants into good citizens. I don’t think there’s anything mysterious about the Chinese. I think almost all people from the developing world wish they have this system. It’s better than Islam. In my country, it’s probably the most humane way of discouraging public drunkenness, shitting and peeing on the walls of my home and business. Poor countries’ situation is very different from rich countries. One has public lavatories, the other can’t afford one.

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
    • Replies: @Biff
  57. densa says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Remarks like this make me think you are a xenophile.

    The Chinese state enjoys much greater legitimacy than any Western state. The Chinese treat the state with a reverence and respect that is more or less unknown in the West; and the reason clearly has nothing to do with democracy. In other words, a state’s legitimacy cannot be reduced to the existence or otherwise of democracy: on the contrary, democracy is not necessarily the most important factor in a state’s legitimacy and may, as in the case of China, be relatively unimportant.

    The underlying reason for the legitimacy of the Chinese state is that, as discussed earlier, it is seen by the people as the embodiment and guardian of Chinese civilization, enjoying, as a consequence, something akin to a spiritual significance. It follows that what would undermine the legitimacy of a government, the present one included, is a threat to the country’s unity. The attitude of the Chinese towards the state, thus, is very different to that of Westerners.

    Our government was one seen as the guardian of our civilization, with an almost spiritual significance. It was our hope to not be ruled over by the greedy and unjust, to see if we could make a better world for ourselves. You make it sound as if such aspirations were so alien westerners couldn’t hope to understand.

    Our aspirational government has been taken over by corrupting, all-too-human powers. There is plenty of historical evidence to suggest the Chinese result, in the long run, will not be all that different in that regard.

    Meanwhile, their collective aspirations are somewhat more possible as a more homogenous society than ours. I have already seen enough of the PC-mob future to hope it never comes to pass. Articles like this seem like early prep work. All good thinkers will also agree to electronic money. The collective will end private property except for the party rulers.

    BTW, crime is dropping, despite increasing desperation, as your average crook is more easily nabbed by surveillance. The only criminal class really prospering now are those above the law. We don’t need (more) community-wide electronic vigilantism as much as enforcement of the law on those who are doing the greatest harm to our society. We don’t need to replace the system as much as make the one we have work.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  58. m___ says:
    @peterAUS

    Well….as per Anatoly’s comment here (24), I do see this Chinese thing as a pilot to be extended, with gusto, in West (and everywhere else). Probably just matter of time.

    Indeed, some strain will survive cross-border. Better data gathering by the privileged makes this obvious.

    Again, our tangent, not the human to human relationship ultimately will be the bottle neck of any system, but as we see it the Nature to Humanity relationship will ultimately have a far bigger impact. The same data gathering/analysis should be conclusive by now. It is ignored, here and there (China) equally.

  59. peterAUS says:
    @densa

    Pretty much.

    Especially

    …. Articles like this seem like early prep work….

  60. One POV says:

    Fascinating excerpt, thank you Mr. Roberts, I look forward to reading more. It is a very attractive concept this social credit if it can deliver a fair and balanced and inclusive framework for social justice and a compassionate state. Imagine bringing harmful corporate practices and corrupt politicians to heel! If only I could persuade myself that it wouldn’t be used against me in the end. A wolf in sheep’s clothing seems more likely to me than warm sweaters and mittens for everyone.

    I hope that’s not just my Western paranoia and distrust holding me back from appreciating a different, more enlightened culture that could make such a system work without eventually being used to stifle and control me and my fellows. However, as much as I may be aware that China is culturally distant from my life experience I can’t imagine that they are exempt from human nature’s darker aspects. It seems a universal flaw and supports the truism that every useful tool will inevitably be abused, if only through unintended consequences.

    As it happens I am just now reading “Pandora’s Lab: Seven Tales of Science Gone Wrong” by Paul Offit. Everyone is thrilled at the miraculous benefits to mankind until people start to die by the thousands. (And possibly take a good portion of the planet with them these days.) In this modern technological age I just wonder when so many data points in our daily lives are converging and being aggregated into repositories that can actually be analyzed in spite of their stupendous size and complexity, how do we recover when it goes awry? What checks and balances can protect us or them?

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  61. @peterAUS

    Where did you read about/come across Liu Hu ?

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  62. I think the author is acknowledging a trust if the high context conformist social model for trust in the individual. They are not the same thing.

    Even for Confucius: order was the conformity of the day family to community to ruler. That included one’s individual quest for enlightenment. I just took a peek at some her legal historical development. And there are some stark practices that contradict the author:

    1. China’s dynasties did all buy Confucian thought –

    2. The communist revolutions adopted a view leaning on communist theory which leaned heavily not only on conformity, but complex legal structures that suggest the individual is not to be trusted over the collective –

    the trust is not among individuals but in the conformity to the whole. Which may explain why communism is more suited to asian societies, already fortified by submissiveness to the greater good — however, the greater good so defines it — even if it means purging millions from self to make it work.

    There are some wonderful aspects about China, but I would be mindful of overstating the case.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  63. peterAUS says:
    @foolisholdman

    Where did you read about/come across Liu Hu ?

    “Stunned silence”………re-read the comment, checked the link…..re-read the comment again…….vacillating, looking at the handle (the first part in particular) and contemplating two options:
    1. The handle says it all.
    2. Simple trolling.

    Still, let’s err on a positive side because the topic IS interesting (well…for some people, that is), can relate a bit to that “old” part of the handle, so here I go:
    I read about/come across Liu Hu in the LINK I posted in my previous comment.
    Here it is, again:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-18/china-social-credit-a-model-citizen-in-a-digital-dictatorship/10200278

    The part about the fellow starts with:

    Liu Hu is just one of them.

    There is even a pic of the guy there.
    Hope….this….helps.

    • Replies: @foolisholdman
  64. peterAUS says:
    @One POV

    Pretty much.

    Especially:

    If only I could persuade myself that it wouldn’t be used against me in the end. A wolf in sheep’s clothing seems more likely to me than warm sweaters and mittens for everyone.

    I can’t imagine that they are exempt from human nature’s darker aspects. It seems a universal flaw and supports the truism that every useful tool will inevitably be abused, if only through unintended consequences.

    And, even more so:

    In this modern technological age I just wonder when so many data points in our daily lives are converging and being aggregated into repositories that can actually be analyzed in spite of their stupendous size and complexity, how do we recover when it goes awry?

    I’d be more concerned with “when it gets used against me”. Richelieu and “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.”. Imagine what can be done with all those pages about you, me…..us.

    Which brings to the important practical point:

    What checks and balances can protect us…

    If/when this system gets into place in West…..none.

  65. @Bill Jones

    Agreed. Modern China is the result of thousands of years of hard work at the top and patience and persistence below. Investment is the right word for it.

  66. @Miro23

    The closer you look at China’s political system the more democratic it becomes. Here’s a brief summary: https://www.unz.com/article/selling-democracy-to-china/.

    • Replies: @Miro23
  67. @Tom Welsh

    The point of Deng’s Reform and Opening was to have China capable of defending herself on all fronts by 2021: lifting GDP growth from Mao’s 7.25% to 10.5% was, he felt, worth the suffering and deaths that capitalism would (and did) cause.

    It appears that the gamble paid off.

  68. @Che Guava

    Here’s the original plan: 社会信用体系建设规划纲要(2014—2020年) and your friend can read it here: https://www.chinalawtranslate.com/socialcreditsystem/?lang=en

    I, too, have a poor opinion of Deng, one that is shared by most ordinary Chinese but the job is almost done and it’s time to move on.

  69. @Che Guava

    If anything I’ve written appears untrue or misleading, please point it out and present your arguments.

  70. @never-anonymous

    Tibet was not and is not and has never been a ‘country’, but China did invade Viet Nam–at the request of LKW and with the blessing of both (!) the US and USSR–after publicly begging VN to withdraw from Cambodia and then promising to confine the attack to 30 days, which they did.

    It was, in my opinion, another Deng screwup. It would never have happened under Mao.

    • Replies: @Nonny
  71. @peterAUS

    keep real power at the lowest level possible? That’s the Chinese model, though there’s more to it, as this article explains: https://www.unz.com/article/selling-democracy-to-china/.

  72. @Anatoly Karlin

    Unless, of course, it’s managed democratically, which is China’s intention. Read https://www.unz.com/article/selling-democracy-to-china/.

  73. @peterAUS

    There’s a right and a wrong way to report corruption in China.

    The right (and very easy) way is to file a complaint by texting ‘12388’. Most filers also post their reports on social media and request additional witnesses.

    In one famous case, someone spotted a low-level safety official wearing an expensive watch in a news photograph and it turned out to be the proverbial tip of the iceberg and the investigation put poor Brother Watch in jail for fourteen years.

    Amateur corruption fighters are numerous and avid fans of the genre have their own websites and the government publishes monthly scores.

    Without reading the court transcript, it’s impossible to know why Liu Hu was prosecuted but it is highly unlikely that the cause stated in the news report matches the court charges. Most of these ‘investigative journalists’ and ‘human rights’ defenders who are lauded in our media are either blackmailers, people with an axe to grind, or paid agents of foreign powers. Otherwise, popular support for the program would not be so high.

    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    , @peterAUS
  74. @SimplePseudonymicHandle

    Do you make much of the Native American resistance? The Filipino resistance? The Korean resistance? The Vietnamese resistance? The…

  75. @EliteCommInc.

    Good points. If you dig into Confucius vision for datong you find a radicalism that makes Marx look wimpy!

    Now to have states, families, and selves is to allow each individual to maintain a sphere of selfishness. This infracts utterly the Universal Principle, gongli, and impedes progress. …
    Therefore, not only states should be abolished, so that there would be no more struggle between the strong and the weak; families should also be done away with, so that there would no longer be inequality of love and affection [among men]; and, finally, selfishness itself should be banished, so that goods and services would not be used for private ends. …
    The only [true way] is sharing the world in common by all (tienxia weigong) …
    To share in common is to treat each and every one alike. There should be no distinction between high and low, no discrepancy between rich and poor, no segregation of human races, no inequality between sexes. …
    All should be educated and supported with the common property; none should depend on private possession. … This is the way of the Great Community. [Kang Youwei, Liyun Zhu called Datong Shu].

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  76. Biff says:
    @Bigbeef

    Excuse me but why is this Chinese Social Credit system so different from the American Credit Score system.

    What?!? Having banks telling you if your naughty or nice if you do or don’t abide by their satanic racketeering is the same as – well – something completely different?(see above article) Fuck the banks! A noble credit score is below a one.
    All my Chinese friends growing up lived in tiny, dingy one room apartments until their parents could afford to buy a house with cash – after which things changed dramatically. They went from looking very poor to looking very well off having no debt. Fuck the banks(loan sharks) – just don’t do it!

    On a macro level – IMF, World Bank = nation destroyers

  77. Ben Gunn says:

    It sounds so rosy, almost like a propaganda piece. Perhaps we should take of poll of the Chinese Muslims and Tibetans to see what they think.

    • Agree: Miggle
  78. Miggle says:

    I hate what the Han racists have done to Uigurstan and Tibet, which would both choose independence from China if allowed to choose, and if swarms of Han had not flooded in to squash them. China had zero right to claim those lands as its own, acts very American in that way. I also don’t like them claiming mineral rights in the sea between Vietnam and the Philippines. They have no such rights.

    At the same time we can, or I do, dismiss the American nonsense about freedom of navigation for its warships near China. Freedom of navigation is not about war, it is about merchant vessels, has no other purpose, and here the USA is the sole culprit, blocking the South China Sea half a century ago to force Japan into war.

    Yet, what the author has written is very impressive. Our future lies with China, or a system like theirs. No place for the American plutocrats ruling the world.

    We need to wait for the American revolution. When China has more aircraft carriers that the USA, and is in every other way more militarily powerful than the USA on a military budget microscopic by comparison, and its economy is twice America’s and with gold-backed currency, which is a little way off, not a long way off, an event will occur in the USA. Suddenly, every Congress member, every lawyer, every manager of a large bank, every senior military officer, every manager of an arms manufacturer, will be dead, and work will have commenced to write an American constitution, while understanding that the USA will always be a small but safely independent satellite of China.

    It will come, the oligarchy will vanish, but I guess it’s more than two decades away.

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  79. Interesting topic. My first student annual research in 1986 and then 1987 was Shang Yang, Han Fei Zi and school of fa jia- legalists and subsequent influence of fajia school of thought on administrative system under Han after the fall of Qing.

  80. @Godfree Roberts

    The guy should have followed Song Ping advice to keep low profile. I hope they would not remove his knee caps.

  81. Nonny says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Obviously, Tibet was originally independent. In historic times it became part of the Mongolian Empire. Then China did. Then China… ceased to be part of the Mongolian Empire. That does not make Tibet part of China. Tibet is Mongol, not Han.

    Godfree, suddenly you look goofy.

  82. DB Cooper says:
    @Miggle

    This is what propaganda has done to you. If Han are racists then there won’t be any so called Han people in the first place. The Han group is basically a conglomerate of various people living in what is today’s China that corelease throughout the past several millennials precisely because Han culture is a very absorptive culture, the antithesis of a racist culture. Confucius said, in his ‘Analects’, that ‘All men within four seas are brothers.’ and this has left an indelibly imprint on the mindset of the Chinese people. America didn’t invent this melting pot thing. China did.

    If you are concern about the plight of the Tibetans you should lobby your government to press India to get out of Tibet. Yes. Tibet was invaded, by India. In 1951, four years after the British Raj has left India invaded South Tibet. South Tibet includes Tawang, birthplace of the Sixth Dalai Lama and home to a four hundred years old Tibetan monastery. In 1987 India renamed South Tibet to Arunachal and make it a state. Today South Tibet is restless and India knows it. This is the reason India imposes the notorious AFSPA on South Tibet. AFSPA (Armed Force Special Power Act) is a law dating back to the Raj times and it gives the state the power to detain or kill anyone with impunity. It is a law meant to suppress dissent and intimidates the locals. It is imposed on area India deemed ‘disturbed’, such as South Tibet, the northeast and Kashmir.

    Recently South Tibet is in the boil again. And it is the same old reason. Rape. Raping of Tibetan girls by Indians in South Tibet has been a festering problem for years. Last year a mob of Tibetans overran a prison holding two Indian rape suspects and lynched the suspects. This is of course deplorable because the two suspects deserve to have their fair trial but it only shows the frustration of the general public living under oppressive Indian rule. A couple of weeks ago two jawans allegedly molested two Tibetan girls in a festival and was detained by the local police (make up of local Tibetans) and held in a police station. The Indian army (make up of Indian occupiers), probably feared that the two jawans would be lynched and so it ransacked the police station and the army chief warned the local police to ‘keep their hands off of their boys’. The situation deteriorates so bad that the Indian defense minister has to fly in to personally deliver a stern warning to the Tibetans that the army has the full support of the federal government.

    You won’t read about this in MSM. But thanks to unz.com I can write about it here. Free South Tibet!

    • Agree: Godfree Roberts
    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  83. anonymous[359] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ben Gunn

    Yup. Roberts is a China shill extremist.

  84. DB Cooper says:
    @Ben Gunn

    Studies done by real sociologists has found out that Tibetans and Muslims in China are more nationalistic Chinese than their Han counterparts. I know, this is not what the MSM has been telling you. But you come to unz.com not to read about the garbage in MSM, right?


  85. Nonny says:
    @Nonny

    Let me add to that that Tibet has been culturally close to Mongolia, not China. Llamas of the same kind.

  86. @Godfree Roberts

    It concerns me that you seem to accept the limitations of his view. What a blind spot if you don’t know about the mandarin attitudes of Britain’s (Indeed the Anglosphere’s) educated upper and upper middle classes. Oxbridge educated but couldn’t get into the Foreign Office or even the Sudan Civil Service. OMG one might even have to think of Lloyds.

    Your other major anachronistic lapse is to fail to deal with the appalling violence and violations of freedom and dignity Chinese inflicted on one another time after time over the last 3000 years. Remember that most did not speak the same language and few were custodians of the culture that in fits and starts and between invasions and insurrection grew into an imperial centralism.

    I happen to agree that China is probably on a better course as it will be judged by the inhabitants of China in say 2050 than the US judged then by Americans or outsiders, but that doesn’t require a dreamy eye’d view of some eternal Chinese reality.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  87. peterAUS says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Most of these ‘investigative journalists’ and ‘human rights’ defenders who are lauded in our media are either blackmailers, people with an axe to grind, or paid agents of foreign powers.

    Getting confused.
    Not quite sure whether you actually do believe in what you are saying here regarding “surveillance state” (NOT Chinese culture,mind you) or the reasons are, say, of a more “practical” nature.
    It would definitely be better if it was later.
    If former………..whoah.

    Otherwise, popular support for the program would not be so high.

    Popular……..support.
    In that type of society.

    Former, more like it. Hard to believe but possible.
    I’ll, still, hold to the later. Watching a “player” making the moves. Hopefully.
    We’ll see.

  88. @SimplePseudonymicHandle

    You prompt the idea of spelling out how too much of various kinds of non financial capital could manifest themselves.

    Plenty of them could be – and have been – bad for material progress such as has been transforming China into a prosperous modern country a couple of hundred years late.

    Filial piety and respect for one’s elders? Do I need to give factual and imaginative examples?

    Respect for traditions and insistence on their being shared as a criterion of the good?

    Patriotism, especially when localised and combined with great ignorance of the other?

    Und so weiter.

  89. DB Cooper says:
    @Nonny

    Tibet has been part of China longer than the United States is a country. If China regard Tibet as part of its territory, the Tibetans themselves regard Tibet part of China and every single country on this earth regards Tibet part of China, why does that make Tibet not part of China?

  90. @Nonny

    No. Tibet has never been recognized an independent nation since the Treaty of Westphalia defined that concept in 1648 and every Dalai Lama, including the incumbent, has required Chinese approval before he could be appointed.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  91. @Ben Gunn

    There’s no shortage of polls if you look for them. In a survey conducted in 2000 the renowned Tibetologists Melvyn Goldstein, Cynthia Beall, Ben Jiao and Phuntsog Tsering asked a sample of Tibetans from across the TAR, “Do You Have a Better Life Now Than Your Parents Did?”

    One of the cohorts of that sample (N=150) is the age group between 60-79. In 2000, that means that they were born roughly between 1920-1940. That means their parents lived almost entirely before Chinese policies were instituted after 1959.

    An astounding ~90% answered “Yes”. That is, their lives are indeed better than that of their parents.
    So it would appear that the Dalai Lama’s claim (which the West accepts unquestioningly) that China had turned a ‘Tibetan heaven on earth into a hell on earth’ is, like many other claims about Tibet, rubbish.

    What about independence? Well, Goldstein’s study did not question Tibetans on that thorny issue (it’s a sleeping dog the CCP wants to let lie) but shortly after the 2008 riots one study, conducted secretly by the Tibetan Government in Exile, did.

    They learned that Tibetans inside Tibet who want independence, renzig, are in the minority: 29% – 5,000 out of 17,000.

    https://memoriesofmoving.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/tibetan-exiles-discuss-impasse-with-china/

  92. @Wizard of Oz

    It’s not reality, but continuity that I mean to emphasize: the continuous, 2000 year development of Confucian ethics.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  93. @Godfree Roberts

    It is not pedantry but curiosity which makes me ask “which 2000 years?”. A break around the time of the First Emperor? Other breaks for invasions and overthrows of dynasties?

    And, a shot in the dark based on nothing but imagination, logic and a sceptical view of human nature…

    How does the continuity you refer to stack up against the 2000 years of development of J. Christ’s teachings on ethics?

    Christianity seems to have got to the abolition of slavery before any other major ethical provider. That has to be a big one. (Chalk one up to British evangelicals there).

    How does Confucianism stack up against Christianity for religious tolerance and support for free speech? Pretty well, on average over the centuries in respect of religious tolerance I guess.

    That late Qing reformer you quoted would be far too high minded for even an early Coptic monastery but wouldn’t Confucius have seen what widely shared prosperity could do – indeed how necessary it was – to prop up benevolent seeming government that basically meant to make its people happy as well as keeping the top dogs on top?

  94. DB Cooper says:
    @DB Cooper

    I might want to add that Tibetans are hardly the only minorities in China. Officially China recognizes 55 minorities group, of which the Tibetans and Uighurs are the two. If you go and visit these minorities area today you will find that these people invariably all live in hard to access area. Hard to access either because they are geographically far away or hard to get to because of the terrain. China is a very mountainous country. So what happened to the minorities in the easy to access area? They all became the Han people as I have explained in an earlier post. So all these minorities oppression just doesn’t make any sense.

    So why all these oppression of the Tibetan people, seeking independence….blah blah blah. How come you have never heard of the oppression of the Zhuang people, the Tujia people, the Naxi people, the Bai people…etc. The reason is very simple. The Tibetans has the misfortune that their traditional homeland at one time sits next to a land grabbing imperial empire, the British Raj. So their homeland became the next target when the Raj has no more land to grab in the Indian subcontinent. This is why there is the British Expedition into Tibet by Younghusband and the nurturing of the Tibetan independent movement first by Britain when it has an empire in South Asia and then the Americans because of anti-Communism. When Britain left the subcontinent in 1947 it has no more design on Tibetan land but still has utility for Tibet because by keeping Tibet in the boil Britain can use it as a bargaining chip in case China wants Hong Kong back. This is where all the propaganda of Tibetan oppression begins.

    Then at the end of 2008, a little over a decade after Britain handed Hong Kong back to China, Britain finally has no stake in Tibet and can afford to be honest for once. The British government put out a statement recognizing China’s sovereignty of Tibet (before it was suzerainty, not sovereignty) and in one fell swoop trashes whatever rationale India has on its claim on South Tibet (Arunachal Pradesh), however ridiculous and illegal it was to begin with. The statement, supported by both the conservative and labor parties, is remarkable in its honesty in conceding that Britain did at one time have design on Tibet and is almost apologetic in tone. Here is an excerpt:​​
    ​​
    “…But our position is unusual for one reason of history that has been imported into the present: the anachronism of our formal position on whether Tibet is part of China, and whether in fact we harbour continued designs to see the break-up of China. We do not.​​
    Our ability to get our points across has sometimes been clouded by the position the UK took at the start of the 20th century on the status of Tibet, a position based on the geopolitics of the time. Our recognition of China’s “special position” in Tibet developed from the outdated concept of suzerainty. Some have used this to cast doubt on the aims we are pursuing and to claim that we are denying Chinese sovereignty over a large part of its own territory. We have made clear to the Chinese Government, and publicly, that we do not support Tibetan independence. Like every other EU member state, and the United States, we regard Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China. “​​

    https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm081029/wmstext/81029m0001.htm​

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  95. @Godfree Roberts

    I was unfamiliar with this particular philosopher/politician/social constructionist.

    But time and time and time again, history demonstrates that those who seek to construct utopias do so by advocating a powerful central authority to enforce the sameness. Hence what seems to be his central planning station or central government.

    I also found it interesting that the Chinese governance at the time not only took issue his ideas so much so as to seek his execution/murder. And in turn he himself sought to bring down his opponents by assassination of the Empress Dowager.

    With respect to the common sharing, the issue always remains who decides what constitutes equal portions. Again, even here modern China seems to have rejected the notion of Utopias.

    I appreciate being introduced to this thinker.

  96. @Wizard of Oz

    In short productivity outpacing fertility would have been strange concepts to Confucius but well within his intellectual grasp, so might he not have said “thank G for the Industrial Revolution and thank G it first empowered the small number of people on an island far away if it couldn’t have been orderly servants of the Emperor who achieved post Malthusian take off”?

  97. @Godfree Roberts

    Would you care to justify your reference to the Treaty of Westphalia? What would the CCP make of that? You caused me to look up the Wikipedia entry that I got from Googling “when was Tibet last an independent country” and found not a single reference to “Westphalia”.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  98. @Wizard of Oz

    The First Emperor adopted Confucian ethics–which begins with exemplary government–around 220 BC and outlawed competing models.

    The model has been continually reinterpreted and refined ever since and the country has proven–as during the Song Dynasty–to work best when it adheres to the original template. Christ’s teaching never addressed government, rendering to Caesar and focusing on individual, other-worldly reunification with a separate God–none of which resonates with a civilization that has never considered itself separate from the Divine. Instead of individual salvation, they sought the collective liberation of a dàtóng society.

    How does Confucianism stack up against Christianity for religious tolerance and support for free speech? Committed to harmony, it was hospitable to foreign faiths though–as the Yongzheng Emperor[1] explained to Dominique Parennin, a Jesuit missionary who requested permission to proselytize in 1724–Christianity remained problematic because its god demanded foreign intermediaries.

    You say that your law is not a false law, 非左道, and We believe you. If We thought that it was false what would have held Us back from razing your churches and expelling you from the empire? False laws are those which, on the pretext of teaching virtue, fan the spirit of revolt, as is the case with the White Lotus[2] Teaching.

    What would you say if We were to dispatch a group of monks and lamas to your country to preach their doctrines? How would they be received? Your Matteo Ricci came to China in the 1572 when you Christians were few in number and did not have your people and churches in every province. It was only under the reign of my father that you began to build churches everywhere and that your doctrines started spreading rapidly. We observed this, but we said nothing.

    You may have known how to deceive Our Father, but don’t think you can deceive Us in the same way. You wish to make all Chinese Christians, as your law demands. We know this very well. But in that case what would become of Us? Should We not soon become merely the subjects of your kings? The converts you have made already recognize nobody but you and, in troubled times, they would listen to no other voice than yours. We know that at present We have nothing to fear but, when foreign ships start coming in their thousands and tens of thousands perhaps then serious disorders will arise.

    Sixty years later, foreign ships came in their tens of thousands, a Christian uprising killed thirty-million people and weakened the empire to the point of collapse.


    [1] ‘Yongzheng’s Conundrum. The Emperor on Christianity, Religions, and Heterodoxy’, Menegon. An Emperor Confronts Christianity and the Heterodox, Part II: Eugenio Menegon.
    [2] White Lotus is the name of a revolutionary secret society founded in the 14th century.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  99. @DB Cooper

    Wow! Thanks for that!! Fascinating.

  100. Miro23 says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Thanks, I hadn’t read that very good article.

    https://www.unz.com/article/selling-democracy-to-china/

    I don’t get this:

    Today, 3,200 democratically elected Congressional representatives must vote, almost unanimously, to approve all senior appointments and all legislation.

    Are nails being hammered down or do they appoint nobody and pass no legislation? And the points system would be so easy to abuse.

    But otherwise, the Chinese seem to have achieved v. good low level political involvement and power, which no doubt accounts for their satisfaction with their government. They can also see the enormous increases in their economic wellbeing relative to their recent history and other countries.

    Compared to S.E. Asia they are doing great, but S.E. Asia does suffer badly from the ethnic networking of its monopolistic, secretive and corrupt Chinese billionaire oligarchs, and the Chinese do have an open racist contempt for Asians such as Philippinos and Indonesians.

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  101. @Wizard of Oz

    The Treaty defined what today we call the nation state, a previously unknown construct that brought with it benefits and handicaps.

  102. @Miro23

    Congress has the responsibility for evaluating the outcomes of Trial Spots, the data from which form the basis for legislation.

    In China, ideas are tried for 10-20 years at various levels–from village to province–before undergoing national trials.

    When Congress refused to authorize the Three Gorges Dam the administration offered to build a smaller version to demonstrate the efficacy of its innovative engineering solutions. At that point, if you recall, the usual retired engineers, both Chinese and foreign, were loudly condemning it as an abomination against the will of God, etc., freaking out the largely non-technical congresspersons and the projected cost was beyond the capacity of many of them to conceive.

    So Congress authorized construction of the small Gezhouba Dam downstream (it is still operating profitably) and, ten years later, by the lowest vote in its history, Congress green lighted the Three Gorges. It now recoups its cost every 49 months.

    These days Congresspeople are much better educated, Trial Spots are de rigeur for all legislation and near-unanimity (which all Chinese prefer) is easier to obtain.

  103. @Godfree Roberts

    Very interesting. I shall have to turn my mind to the differences in kind between Confucianism and the various manifestations of the Abrahamic religions.

    You refer to the First Emperor adopting Confucian ethics but, and it may not be conclusively significant, wasn’t the First Emperor a monstrous tyrant who, apart from his oppressively costly mausoleum, only deserves to be remembered for creating China by sniffing out the other states (and their languages and literatures)?

  104. At this distance it’s difficult to judge his morality, given that many competing histories originated from defeated states. I’m not sure he personally adopted Confucian ethics for the same reason Mao told critics, “I’m not the Duke of Zhou!”.

    The Duke was an exemplary ruler who, as regent for a child king, did a fine job of keeping things on an even keel and retired as soon as the young man came of age.

    Mao’s point was that his job was not to maintain the status quo but to create it.

  105. Tyrion 2 says:

    Another day, another slavish article on CGTN Review.

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
  106. Tyrion 2 says:
    @Tyrion 2

    “Unz’s objectives were loud and clear, to push a distinctly Chinese agenda.” He continued: “There’s no clear goal other than to identify cracks in a system and exploit them.”

  107. Bliss says:

    Since Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongols and Manchus were historically considered non-chinese barbarians by the Chinese how could they not have been independent of China? The Great Wall of China was the northern border of China wasn’t it?

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  108. ltlee says:
    @DB Cooper

    Nah. Chinese culture is not that alien.

    Regarding higher trust in the central government, it is historical.

    1. Smarter and more capable people are transferred to the the central government as soon as their talents are recognized. Lessor officials are left to deal with local problems.

    2. All other things being equal, corruption reflects a mismatch between one’s desire against one’s capability. Less capable local officials with a lot of desires are therefore more likely to be corrupted. And less trusted.

  109. ltlee says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Confucius is agnostic. Agnosticism is the only foundation for religious tolerance.
    If God can be proved to exist, any responsible government would be theocratic. If God existence could be proved to be false, then every religion should be considered harmful and banned.

    “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” is only rational in realm where most officials are agnostic.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  110. Che Guava says:

    I can read, but admit that some of the simplified glyphs in places (except for the radicals), mystify me, I used to want to be good at reading them, too, can still read much, but more of the old-school characters in HK and Taiwan, for that matter, transcriptions of ancient writing.

    In the run-up to the (dreaded, not just by me, one of my closest colleagues agrees 100%) ‘lympics, and to catering to the frequency of mainland Chinese tourists in that area, the signs cycle through Japanese, ‘simplified’ kanji, hangul (knowing how to read, though out of prac.), and english.

    To see the Chinese mainland versions of the characters, I know that some are based on cursive writing (not really cursive) but most not.

    By the way, God-free, much political vocab. and terminology in China is originally from Japan.

  111. @peterAUS

    I clicked on your link and after a fairly hostile start about China, it seems to be a Gif of a young Chinese woman walking.

    ABC is the BBC of Australia, isn’t it? I am not familiar with its output but I would not rely on anything I saw or read in the BBC, particularly relating to the situation in China.

  112. peterAUS says:

    I clicked on your link and after a fairly hostile start about China, it seems to be a Gif of a young Chinese woman walking.

    Leaving “hostile” out, correct.
    Should you have scrolled down that page you would’ve come accros the part I was talking about.
    Scrolling:the action of moving displayed text or graphics up, down, or across on a computer screen in order to view different parts of them.
    DOWN in this case.

    Perhaps you could have somebody take a look at your hardware and software. Mention “upgrade” and “update” to them and they’ll be able to help you.

    In meantime I’ll do it for you (old school, respect the elderly etc):
    China has long been a surveillance state, so the citizenry is accustomed to the government taking a determining role in personal affairs.

    For many in China, privacy doesn’t have the same premium as it does in the West.

    The Chinese place a higher value on community good versus individual rights, so most feel that, if social credit will bring a safer, more secure, more stable society, then bring it on.

    But most don’t seem to comprehend the all-encompassing control social credit is likely to have, and there’s been no public debate about implementing the system inside China.

    In private, there’s been some disquiet in the educated middle classes about the citizen score being the only criterion for character assessment.

    But that’s not going to stop the rollout.

    The Party is using the system to win back some of the control it lost when China opened up to the world in the 1980s and rapid development followed.

    It’s a way to silence dissent and ensure the Party’s absolute dominance.

    Already, about 10 million people have been punished in the trial areas of social credit.

    Liu Hu is just one of them.

    Hu lost his social credit when he was charged with a speech crime and now finds himself locked out of society due to his low score.

    In 2015, Hu lost a defamation case after he accused an official of extortion.

    He was made to publish an apology and pay a fine but when the court demanded an additional fee, he refused.

    Last year, the 43-year-old found himself blacklisted as “dishonest” under a pilot social credit scheme.

    “There are a lot of people who are on the blacklist wrongly, but they can’t get off it,” says Hu.
    It’s destroyed his career and isolated him, and he now fears for his family’s future.

    The social credit system has closed down his travel options and kept him under effective house arrest in his hometown of Chongqing.
    In an apartment above the streets of Chongqing city, Hu tries to use a phone app to book train tickets to Xi’an. The attempt is rejected.

    “[The app] says it fails to make a booking and my access to high-speed rail is legally restricted,” he explains.

    Hu’s social media accounts, where he published much of his investigative journalism, have also been shut down.

    Hu claims his combined Wechat and Weibo accounts had two million followers at their peak but are now censored.
    Hu believes his blacklisting is political and has tried to appeal to authorities. So far he has been met with silence.

    Hu wants to warn the world of the nightmare of social credit.

    Doing so could put his friends and family at risk of reprisals from the state, but Hu believes most Chinese don’t yet understand what’s to come under the digital totalitarian state.

    “You can see from the Chinese people’s mental state,” says Hu.

    “Their eyes are blinded and their ears are blocked. They know little about the world and live in an illusion.”

    As for:

    ABC is the BBC of Australia, isn’t it? I am not familiar with its output but I would not rely on anything I saw or read in the BBC, particularly relating to the situation in China.

    Free will.
    I would, combining with some other sources and make my own mind.. Different strokes for different folks etc….

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @foolisholdman
  113. peterAUS says:
    @peterAUS

    Ah….well….my own age is starting to show.. …

    Or at lest diminishing ability to multitask.

  114. @ltlee

    I proffer an alternative view. Given that one believes the standard Abrahamic God cannot exist as a matter of sheer logic (though I don’t mind repeating my suggestion that he was lonely and bored so set evolution going to see what would happen because it nicely solves “the problem of evil”) why wouldn’t one encourage the proliferation of religions rather than fight human nature? One would, as modern civilisations have over the last few centuries, just tame them a little with social pressures, intellectual fashion and some regulation (well you can’t really expect insiders to control pedophiles reliably can you?).

    • Replies: @ltlee
  115. DB Cooper says:
    @Bliss

    “The Great Wall of China was the northern border of China wasn’t it?”

    Boundary or border is a fairly recent invention coterminous with the notion of nation state. Pre modern state does not have boundary or border. The Great Wall certainly wasn’t built recently.

    “Since Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongols and Manchus were historically considered non-chinese barbarians by the Chinese how could they not have been independent of China? ”

    Some one once said other countries expand by grabbing land of other people. China expand by turning people from other land into Chinese. A good example is the Chinese movie Wolf Warrior 2 played earlier this year which Steve Sailer has talked about it here.

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/wolf-warrior-2/

    The New Yorker journalist Evan Osnos interviewed the start and director of the movie Wu Jing. During the interview it turns out Wu Jing is ethnic Manchurian. Yet you can see he totally identify himself as Chinese. May be you should talk to him about Manchurian independence?

    • Replies: @Bliss
  116. Bliss says:
    @DB Cooper

    Boundary or border is a fairly recent invention coterminous with the notion of nation state. Pre modern state does not have boundary or border. The Great Wall certainly wasn’t built recently.

    If the Great Wall wasn’t built, at Great Expense, as a boundary marker separating (and protecting) China from the Northern Barbarians, then what the hell was the reason to build it? To serve as a tourist attraction two thousand years later? Get real.

    Wu Jing is ethnic Manchurian. Yet you can see he totally identify himself as Chinese.

    So what? How does that change the historical fact that the Manchus (and Tibetans, Turks and Mongols) were for most of history independent of China?

    The Great Wall didn’t stop the Mongols and Manchus from eventually invading, conquering and ruling China, and it was during the Mongol Yuan and Manchu Qing Dynasties rule of China that Tibet came under Chinese control. The Han inherited most of Tibet from their Mongol and Manchu rulers, just as the Indians inherited the southern part of Tibet from their British rulers.

  117. ltlee says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    “Given that one believes the standard Abrahamic God cannot exist as a matter of sheer logic …”
    Logic or whatever, to the extent that you are not accepting or rejecting this or that God based on objective fact and logic, you are agnostic.

  118. DB Cooper says:
    @Bliss

    “If the Great Wall wasn’t built, at Great Expense, as a boundary marker separating (and protecting) China from the Northern Barbarians, then what the hell was the reason to build it?”

    It was built as a defense barrier. I have already said there is no concept as boundary in those days. Empire in those days have fuzzy domain.

    “So what? How does that change the historical fact that the Manchus (and Tibetans, Turks and Mongols) were for most of history independent of China?”

    First of all there is nothing in common between Uighurs and Turks in terms of ethnicity, language, and history other than sharing the same religion. Anyway did I ever said these place were always part of China? I said “Some one once said other countries expand by grabbing land of other people. China expand by turning people from other land into Chinese. ”

    “…just as the Indians inherited the southern part of Tibet from their British rulers.”

    India did own its existence to the British and the altitude of Indians are that they are entitled to whatever land grabbed by the British. South Tibet was never part of the British Raj. India invaded South Tibet in 1951, four years after the Raj has already left the subcontinent. (India was created in August 1947). In 1987 India renamed South Tibet to Arunachal Pradesh. In 2009 Arunachal is officially recognized by the United Nation as a disputed territory.

    Free South Tibet from the Indian rapists!

    • Replies: @Bliss
    , @Bliss
  119. DB Cooper says:
    @Bliss

    ” The Han inherited most of Tibet from their Mongol and Manchu rulers, just as the Indians inherited the southern part of Tibet from their British rulers.”

    This analogy is not right unless the British people consider themselves Indian and regard modern day India as their home country.

    I like to point out again that South Tibet(later renamed as Arunachal by India in 1987) was never part of the British Raj. India invaded and annexed it four years after the British has already left the subcontinent. This is one of the many land grabs India done on its neighbors on its own volition.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  120. Bliss says:
    @DB Cooper

    It was built as a defense barrier. I have already said there is no concept as boundary in those days. Empire in those days have fuzzy domain.

    Quit bullshitting already. If there was no concept of borders in those days how would you know when you were entering or leaving China? It is stupid of you to deny that the Great Wall (nothing “fuzzy” about that) constituted the northern border of Han China for a long time:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_China

    The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe

    Apart from defense, other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration.

  121. Bliss says:
    @DB Cooper

    First of all there is nothing in common between Uighurs and Turks in terms of ethnicity, language, and history other than sharing the same religion.

    Sheer dishonesty:

    https://uyghuramerican.org/about-uyghurs

    East Turkistan is the homeland of the Turkic speaking Uyghurs and other central Asian peoples such as Kazaks, Kyrgyz, Tatars, Uzbeks, and Tajiks…….East Turkistan is located beyond a logical boundary of China, the Great Wall. Historically, East Turkistan is a part of Central Asia, not of China. East Turkistan’s people are not Chinese; they are Turks of Central Asia.

    The Islamic Uyghur Kingdom of East Turkestan maintained its independence and prosperity until the Manchu Empire invaded the nation in 1876. After eight years of bloody war, the Manchu Empire formally annexed East Turkistan into its territories and renamed it “Xinjiang” (meaning “New Territory” or “New Frontier”) on November 18, 1884. Uyghur power, stature and culture went into a steep decline after the Manchu invasion.

    After Chinese Nationalists overthrew the Manchu Empire in 1911, East Turkistan fell under the rule of the nationalist Chinese government. The Uyghurs, who wanted to free themselves from foreign domination, staged numerous uprisings against Nationalist Chinese rule and twice (once in 1933 and again in 1944) succeeded in setting up an independent East Turkistan Republic.

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  122. Bliss says:
    @DB Cooper

    I like to point out again that South Tibet(later renamed as Arunachal by India in 1987) was never part of the British Raj. India invaded and annexed it four years after the British has already left the subcontinent.

    The simple fact that the border between British India and Tibet was and still is called the “McMahon Line” and was demarcated decades before India gained independence from the British tells us that South Tibet must have been under British control at that time and also tells us that India inherited it from the British, not annexed it arbitrarily.

    The Dalai Lama and India assert the legitimacy of the McMahon Line, China rejects it. The Brits have walked away from it. In an ideal world neither China nor India would have any claims over any part of Tibet.

  123. DB Cooper says:
    @Bliss

    “It is stupid of you to deny that the Great Wall (nothing “fuzzy” about that) constituted the northern border of Han China for a long time”

    If the Great Wall is a border then which party is the sovereign owner of the land north of the border? Depending on the relative strength of China versus the tribes in the north and the threat perception China occasionally sent out armies north of the Great Wall to chase out the horse riding nomadic tribes so they won’t get close. Does that mean that China was violating the sovereignty of some countries when China did that? See, you are applying modern day nation state concept to ancient times when there is no such thing as borders or boundaries.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  124. DB Cooper says:
    @Bliss

    “The simple fact that the border between British India and Tibet was and still is called the “McMahon Line” and was demarcated decades before India gained independence from the British tells us that South Tibet must have been under British control at that time and also tells us that India inherited it from the British, not annexed it arbitrarily.”

    The McMahon line itself is a diplomatic forgery that no Chinese government (whether the Nationalist government in Taiwan or the Communist government in mainland) ever recognizes it. The signing of the tripartite Simla treaty (which the McMahon line later was allegedly in the treaty) by a single Tibetan official was even repudiated immediately by the Lhasa government in Tibet once the Lhasa government found out. We are talking about the carving out of a part of the traditional Tibetan homeland to the land grabbing expansionist the Raj. A classic case of unequal treaty during the heydays of colonialism. The whole thing stinks of colonial duplicities to high heaven.

    By the way one copy of the original Simla treaty without the McMahon line forgery still exists and keep in the library of Oxford (or Cambridge I don’t remember exactly) university. That the McMahon line is a forgery is an undeliable fact.

    India invaded and annexed Tawang in 1951, four years after the Raj has already left and occupy it to this day. Tawang is the birthplace of the Sixth Dalai Lama and home to a four hundred years old Tibetan monastery.

    Free South Tibet from the Indian rapists!

    By the way India also invaded and annexed an independent Buddhist Himalayan kingdom Sikkim in 1975.

    Free Sikkim from the Indian rapists!

  125. DB Cooper says:
    @Bliss

    When I say Turks I mean Turkey. Certainly the Uyghur is an ethnic group that has its own history and language but it has nothing to do with Turkey. This is what I meant.

  126. DB Cooper says:
    @Bliss

    One thing I want to add is that your government has not been honest with you. Successive Indian government has portrayed the border dispute between China and India as a Chinese Communist thing, which is most definitely not the case. The Nationalist government has been vehemently lodging diplomatic representations to India of India’s incursion into South Tibet to the very end before it retreated into Taiwan after it loses the civil war.

    In fact when India renamed South Tibet and made it a state in 1987 the Nationalist government of Taiwan put out a statement vehemently denouncing India’s action:​​

    https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/trad/chinese-news-40862957​​

    ​​Here is an excerpt (translated from Chinese):​​
    ​​
    “In regards to the issue of the Indian government illegal occupation of our country’s territory and establishes the so called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’ the foreign ministry of the Republic of China put out this announcement in midnight as follows:​​
    ​​
    India illegal occupation of our country’s territory, the government of the Republic of China has repeatedly stated that it will not recognize. Recently the congress of India unilaterally pass the establishment of the ‘Arunachal Pradesh’ on the south of the so called McMahon Line. India government also made it into a state, the government of the Republic of China once again solemnly proclaim: the government of India intend to legitimize its illegal occupation of the territory of China, the government of the Republic of China regards this as illegal, void and absolutely not recognized.”

    Free South Tibet from the Indian rapists!​​

  127. Bliss says:
    @DB Cooper

    you are applying modern day nation state concept to ancient times when there is no such thing as borders or boundaries.

    Repeating a lie does not make it a fact. It is silly to argue that there was no concept of borders and boundaries until recently.

    If the Great Wall is a border then which party is the sovereign owner of the land north of the border? Depending on the relative strength of China versus the tribes in the north and the threat perception China occasionally sent out armies north of the Great Wall to chase out the horse riding nomadic tribes so they won’t get close.

    So what? How the hell does that prove that the Great Wall was not the northern border of China? On the other hand when the Mongols and later the Manchus breached the wall and conquered China then of course the Great Wall was no longer a border.

  128. @Bliss

    The wall was built to prevent raids by mounted warriors. It does a fine job of keeping horses out, which is what it was designed to do. If those folks hadn’t kept raiding and killing people there’d be no wall there.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  129. @Bliss

    The idea of ‘entering or leaving China’ is post-Westphalian. It’s a construct, and one that the Chinese never signed onto until we invaded them.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  130. @Bliss

    India is a democracy, the world’s largest no less. And India is probably the only country post WWII that has invaded and grab land from every single of its neighbors. (The charge of China’s bad behavior towards India is ridiculous and grotesque, because the reverse is true). With respect to China India has, four years after its creation after the Raj left, invaded and annexed a piece of land the Raj coveted but never expanded into. That area includes the great historic town of Tawang, birthplace of the Sixth Dalai Lama and home to a four hundred years old Tibetan monastery. India still occupy it to this day, and with an iron fist. A decade before Saddam Hussein annexed Kuwait, India annexed the small independent kingdom of Sikkim, deposing its king and kept him in house arrest till his death. Today India is menacing Bhutan (India has a strangle hold on the country including the presence of thousands of Indian troops in the country that the Bhutanese is unable to have them vacant their country) and the Bhutanese are walking a tightrope trying not be the next Sikkim.

    http://wangchasangey.blogsp…

    Using its bulk and self-style itself as the new imperial power in the block a la the British Raj, India has numerous border skirmishes and nibbling land grab throughout the years. Here’s list of recent Indian aggression:

    1947 Annexation of Kashmir. http://www.counterpunch.org…

    http://thediplomat.com/2015…

    1949 Annexation of Manipur. http://www.tehelka.com/mani…

    1949 Annexation of Tripura. http://www.crescent-online….

    1951 Annexation of South Tibet: http://kanglaonline.com/201…

    http://www.mainstreamweekly…

    http://chasfreeman.net/indi…

    1954 Annexation of Nagaland. http://morungexpress.com/de…

    http://nagalandmusings.blog…

    1954 Attempt annexation of Sikkim and Bhutan (Failed). http://redbarricade.blogspo…

    1961 Annexation of Goa: http://www.ruleoflaw.org.au…

    http://www.historytoday.com…

    http://goa-invasion-1961.bl…

    1962 Annexation of Kalapani, Nepal: http://www.eurasiareview.co…

    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs…

    http://www.sharnoffsglobalv…

    1962 Aggression against China: http://gregoryclark.net/red…

    http://asiapacific.anu.edu….

    1971 Annexation of Turtuk, Pakistan: http://www.openthemagazine….

    1972 Annexation of Tin Bigha, Bangladesh http://www.dhakatribune.com…

    1975 Annexation of Sikkim (the whole country): http://nepalitimes.com/issu…

    http://www.passblue.com/201…

    http://www.amazon.com/Smash…

    http://asia.nikkei.com/Poli…

    http://indiatoday.intoday.i…

    1983 (Aborted) Attempted invasion of Mauritius. http://thediplomat.com/2013…

    1990 (Failed) Attempted annexation of Bhutan: http://www.nytimes.com/1990…

    2006 Annexation of Duars, Bhutan: http://wangchasangey.blogsp…

    2013 Annexation of Moreh, Myanmar. http://www.huffingtonpost.c…

    2017 Aggression against China. http://original.antiwar.com…

    http://www.scmp.com/week-as…

    https://www.counterpunch.or…

  131. anon[932] • Disclaimer says:
    @peterAUS

    Already, about 10 million people have been punished in the trial areas of social credit.
    Liu Hu is just one of them.

    Liu Hu is an investigative journalist who has uncovered corruption at the top levels of the Party and solved serial murder cases.

    Hu lost his social credit when he was charged with a speech crime and now finds himself locked out of society due to his low score.

    you can be sure the elites wont be subject to these social credit scores

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Godfree Roberts
  132. peterAUS says:
    @anon

    you can be sure the elites wont be subject to these social credit scores

    Definitely.

  133. Bliss says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    The wall was built to prevent raids by mounted warriors.

    Try to think logically. Where would you build such a wall if not on what you consider the very edge of your kingdom, it’s border?

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  134. @anon

    All those ‘punishments’ (really just inconveniences) were based on court judgements. All of them.

    And the elites were and are the first to be punished. 1000 officials were the first ones to be disgraced and inconvenienced –all in addition to the usual haul of corrupt officials who were jailed, which is very inconvenient for them.

    You seem always to assume that China’s is a bad-faith government like ours. Why? What evidence exists of their lying to or cheating their citizens?

    Any at all?

    • Replies: @anon
    , @peterAUS
    , @Anonymous
  135. @Bliss

    That’s post-Westphalian logic.

    Try thinking historically.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  136. anon[267] • Disclaimer says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    You seem always to assume that China’s is a bad-faith government like ours. Why? What evidence exists of their lying to or cheating their citizens?

    well there’s a Wall Street Journal article several years ago that said there were just short of 100 new billionaires in China and almost all of them were higher ups in the Communist Party. Do you think they all happen to be brilliant businessmen on the side or are they crooks?

    • Replies: @Godfree roberts
  137. peterAUS says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    You seem always to assume that China’s is a bad-faith government like ours. Why? What evidence exists of their lying to or cheating their citizens?

    Any at all?

    Surreal.

    • Replies: @anon
  138. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    You seem always to assume that China’s is a bad-faith government like ours. Why? What evidence exists of their lying to or cheating their citizens?

    What bad faith actions would you like us to supply evidence for? Taking bribes? Tolerating organ harvesting in prisons? Covering up chemical pollution in the food supply?

    First you tell us what evidence we need to present that would show China’s government to be a bad-faith government, and then we’ll find it.

  139. anon[267] • Disclaimer says:
    @peterAUS

    i start to wonder if he’s getting money from the Chinese govt

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  140. anon[267] • Disclaimer says:

    is this “godfree roberts” even European? writes like an ESL

    from reply #131:

    India is a democracy, the world’s largest no less. And India is probably the only country post WWII that has invaded and grab land from every single of its neighbors. (The charge of China’s bad behavior towards India is ridiculous and grotesque, because the reverse is true). With respect to China India has, four years after its creation after the Raj left, invaded and annexed a piece of land the Raj coveted but never expanded into. That area includes the great historic town of Tawang, birthplace of the Sixth Dalai Lama and home to a four hundred years old Tibetan monastery. India still occupy it to this day, and with an iron fist. A decade before Saddam Hussein annexed Kuwait, India annexed the small independent kingdom of Sikkim, deposing its king and kept him in house arrest till his death. Today India is menacing Bhutan (India has a strangle hold on the country including the presence of thousands of Indian troops in the country that the Bhutanese is unable to have them vacant their country) and the Bhutanese are walking a tightrope trying not be the next Sikkim.

    Using its bulk and self-style itself as the new imperial power in the block a la the British Raj, India has numerous border skirmishes and nibbling land grab throughout the years.

    for some reason he’s well aware of anything bad India has ever done

    • Replies: @foolisholdman
  141. peterAUS says:
    @anon

    (My) comment No. 88 here:

    Not quite sure whether you actually do believe in what you are saying here regarding “surveillance state” (NOT Chinese culture,mind you) or the reasons are, say, of a more “practical” nature.
    It would definitely be better if it was later.

    It’s a tricky one.

    Accusing without evidence (and of course we can’t find it) isn’t nice.

    At the other hand it could be. Perhaps not simply money. There are other means at Chinese elites disposal to, ahm, encourage or motivate a person to write/say nice things about them.

    In any case I’ve found the author’s attitude towards Chinese elites., shown here, simply bizarre.

    Well, he’s free to write whatever he wants.
    Do we buy “the message” or not it’s up to us.

    Besides, there are bits of useful information in his writings even for “unbelievers” in Chinese miracle/whatever. Within some comments too.

  142. @Anonymous

    Setting aside nutty allegations about live organ ‘harvesting’ (a common procedure in the West, under a less perjorative label), the existence of corruption and bureaucratic ass-covering makes China neither unique nor is it evidence of bad faith.

    That said, both offenses are rarer there than in the US because both are more vigorously prosecuted there (because China is a more good faith government).

    Nor is there evidence that either offense does as much damage there as it does here.

    If you know of any, please share it (not unsupported allegations; actual figures). Gracias.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  143. Bliss says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    The idea of ‘entering or leaving China’ is post-Westphalian. It’s a construct, and one that the Chinese never signed onto until we invaded them.

    You mean no one ever entered or left China until Europeans introduced the concept of borders to the Chinese in the 17th century? Lol. Get real man. You are making a fool of yourself.

    Btw, how did the Chinese know they were being “invaded” by Europeans? You can’t invade without entering, by definition. But according to you the idea of entering and therefore invading was an alien “construct” to the Chinese at that time.

    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/invade

    To invade a country means to enter it by force with an army.

  144. Bliss says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    That’s post-Westphalian logic. Try thinking historically.

    It’s obvious that you don’t understand what Westphalian and post-Westphalian mean. Since you have used both concepts to “prove” that borders didn’t exist until the Treaty of Westphalia and therefore the Great Wall was not the northern border of China. Which is utterly ridiculous. You just cannot draw such a silly conclusion from the concept of sovereignty or it’s violation.

    Educate yourself:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westphalian_sovereignty

    Westphalian sovereignty, or state sovereignty, is the principle in international law that each nation state has exclusive sovereignty over its territory. The principle underlies the modern international system of sovereign states and is enshrined in the United Nations Charter, which states that “nothing should authorise intervention in matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.”

    After the end of the Cold War, the United States and Western Europe began talking of a post-Westphalian order in which countries could intervene against human rights abuses in other countries.[1] Critics have pointed out such intervention would be (and has been) used to continue processes similar to standard Euro-American colonialism, and that the colonial powers always used ideas similar to “humanitarian intervention” to justify colonialism, slavery, and similar practices.[11] China and Russia have thus used their United Nations Security Council veto power to block what they see as American actions to violate the sovereignty of other nations.

    Although the Westphalian system developed in early modern Europe, its staunchest defenders can now be found in the non-Western world. The presidents of China and Russia issued a joint statement in 2001 vowing to “counter attempts to undermine the fundamental norms of the international law with the help of concepts such as ‘humanitarian intervention’ and ‘limited sovereignty’”

    • Replies: @Godfree Roberts
  145. Bliss says:

    Note that the word “Westphalia” is not found here, but “Great Wall of China” is:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border

    Borders are geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states, and other subnational entities.

    The purpose of the Great Wall of China was to stop people and militaries from crossing the northern border of China. Today it is a relic border.

    Historic borders such as the Great Wall of China, the Maginot Line, and Hadrian’s Wall have played a great many roles and been marked in different ways.

  146. @Bliss

    Do you know what the word “frontier” means?

    Have you ever heard the statement, “All under heaven belongs to the Emperor”?

    Invasions only imply borders if you’re a naive post-Westphalian. Are you a naive post-Westphalian?

    • Replies: @Bliss
  147. @Bliss

    But even in Europe, where fixed boundaries are of much older standing, it is surprising to note the absence or inadequacy till recent times of proper arrangements for calling them into being. The earliest instance of a Frontier Commission that I have come across is that of the Commission of six English and Scotch representatives who were appointed in 1222 to mark the limits of the two kingdoms, and it is symptomatic of the contemporary attitude about Frontiers that it broke down directly it set to work, leaving behind it what became a Debatable Land and a battle-ground of deadly strife for centuries. Even in the seventeenth-century treaties, by which the map of Europe was practically reconstructed, there is no express provision for demarcation. It is not till after the middle of the eighteenth century that we find Commissioners alluded to in the text of treaties, and reference made to topographical inquiries and surveys of engineers. What seems to us now the first condition of a stable Frontier appears to have been then regarded as the least important. Perhaps one reason was that no one expected and few desired that stability should be predicated of any political Frontier.Frontiers
    LORD CURZON OF KEDLESTON, D.C.L., LL.D., F.R.S.
    Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom (1919–1924),

  148. @Anonymous

    Government corruption is an individual (or small group) criminal act in China and America.

    Prosecuting government corruption is of necessity a government act that demonstrates the government’s good faith and invariably wins the trust of its citizens.

    A government that fails to prosecute government corruption is a bad-faith government and invariably loses the trust of its citizens.

    The US fails to prosecute government corruption more often than China and we can compare their failure and success by examining the two governments’ rankings in the annual Edelman Trust Barometer (among many such surveys, including WVS and Gallup).

    Nine percent of Americans trust their Congress, ninety percent of Chinese trust theirs.

    These rankings are so distant that it is, in my opinion, fair to label ours a bad faith and theirs a good faith government.

  149. Anonymous[169] • Disclaimer says:

    Nine percent of Americans trust their Congress, ninety percent of Chinese trust theirs

    A Malaysian Chinese i met told me how he likes to entertain mainland Chinese business friends when they visit his country. Aside from the usual food and drink, he likes to introduce them to youtube and uncensored internet. At first they are surprised to find out it’s in mandarin and then they’re shocked to find out all the scandals they never knew about. He says he comes to see them the next morning and finds them shell shocked and hung over from spending all night learning what was previously inaccessible to them.

    It’s hard to compare opinion ratings. First because Chinese have a lot less free access to information and secondly because Chinese seem genetically hardwired to confirm in a way that Europeans don’t.

    In my view, after having spent a cumulative few months in China, I’d say it’s an amazing place with a lot going for it but I feel there’s also a huge shadow side that is difficult for me as a foreigner to perceive, just because their culture and language is so different. You may not be aware of this, but your writings make China appear to be a utopia. You’d do well to balance it out by talking more about the shadow side. If you can’t see it, dig deeper!

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  150. peterAUS says:
    @Anonymous

    Informative, and agree.

    Especially with:

    I’d say it’s an amazing place with a lot going for it but I feel there’s also a huge shadow side that is difficult for me as a foreigner to perceive, just because their culture and language is so different. You may not be aware of this, but your writings make China appear to be a utopia. You’d do well to balance it out by talking more about the shadow side.

    As for

    If you can’t see it, dig deeper!

    Well…maybe the author can see all that, just, not so willing to balance it out. He’s aware that some people wouldn’t be happy about that. Priorities and motivations……

  151. Bliss says:
    @Godfree Roberts

    Have you ever heard the statement, “All under heaven belongs to the Emperor”?

    In other words the whole world belongs to China and therefore the concept of borders, of entering or leaving China is meaningless. So that’s where you are really coming from. Hmmm.

    That would actually make logical sense, if the statement was true. But fantasy is not reality is it?

    Invasions only imply borders if you’re a naive post-Westphalian. Are you a naive post-Westphalian?

    You keep parroting this irrational, indefensible nonsense like some foolish brainwashed religious fanatic. Never explaining how borders are “post-Westphalian”. Since you are not intelligent enough to come up with a rational explanation why don’t you ask your commie handlers to help you out?

    Invasions by definition imply borders. Drill that into your thick skull.

    Btw, try to stay consistent with your BS. You can’t even do that. How the hell can you claim to be Westphalian without believing in borders?

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  152. peterAUS says:
    @Bliss

    A bit harsh.

    Especially:

    …why don’t you ask your commie handlers to help you out?

    • Agree: Bliss
  153. @Bliss

    Borders and nations are new ideas. It’s too soon to tell whether they’ll persist.

  154. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:
    @Godfree roberts

    Dear Godfree,

    What do you make of the following video?

    A woman in China gets run over by a car while trying to cross the road. If this happened in a real country, all of the dozens of people watching would run over to stop the traffic and assist the woman. But this is China and what actually happens is that dozens of pedestrians and drivers totally ignore her while she lies there dazed until a second car delivers the fatal blow.

    Do you not feel that something is very, VERY wrong in China?

    • Replies: @foolisholdman
  155. @peterAUS

    Thank you for pointing out that the link you gave was not just a video. Silly of me not to have thought of that. So often these days links get no result beyond a notice that the video has been withdrawn or words to that effect. As to the BBC’s representation of China, when I went to China, there was hardly any aspect of it that seemed to correspond with what I had seen previously on the BBC.

  156. @Bliss

    The Han inherited most of Tibet from their Mongol and Manchu rulers, just as the Indians inherited the southern part of Tibet from their British rulers.

    According to Chatham House’s book on the Sino-Indian Boundary Dispute the Indians grabbed a lot of what the British agreed with the Chinese, to be part of China. I don’t know if you can get hold of a 1st edition and a 3rd edition of Nehru’s autobiography, but if you can, you will see that on the maps which form the first two and last two pages of the book, i.e. the insides of the covers, the “boundary” between India and China, in the first edition has suddenly and without explanation, moved some hundreds of miles in a northward direction by the 3rd edition.

    • Replies: @DB Cooper
  157. @anon

    If you don’t like the message, well, savage the messenger’s English!

  158. DB Cooper says:
    @foolisholdman

    Chinese and Western map consistently show what is today called Arunachal by India part of China. This detailed and zoomable map from the National Geographic published in 1912 is one such example. Tawang, birthplace of the Sixth Dalai Lama and home to a four hundred years old Tibetan monastery is clearly marked in the map and unambiguously in China.

    https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:x633f939c

  159. @Anonymous

    Yes there is! It was not at all like this before the Cultural Revolution. Since then there has been the chaos of the CR and the one child policy and the reintroduction of Capitalism. Probably, the one child policy is mostly to blame, but no doubt the other two factors have not helped. The OCP has meant that there is now in China a couple of generations that grew up as only children and were consequently “spoiled something rotten”. A couple of generations (Well, one-&-a half anyway) of Little Emperors. Add to that there were quite a number of well publicised cases where swindlers faked accidents and then accused people who came to help the “victim” of being the cause of their injuries and demanded compensation.

    Social credit may help?

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