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  1. 08 Feb '17 22:15
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/03/donald-trump-making-china-great-again-xi-jinping

    "Donald Trump is making China great again:
    The US president has dismayed the world; Xi Jinping has wooed it.
    This could be a huge win for Beijing."
    --Isabel Hilton

    "In terms of international diplomacy, things are going well [for China].
    It’s hard to imagine Trump quoting Thucydides, or Stephen Hawkins or
    Herman Hesse, or cramming references to Pandora’s box, the Peace of
    Westphalia and the sword of Damocles into a 58-minute plea for peace
    and international cooperation. Such a carefully crafted speech might
    have been delivered by previous US presidents, since it paid fulsome
    homage to the core values the US has promoted since 1945. But this
    was delivered by the general secretary of the Chinese Communist party
    and president of the China, to an audience at the United Nations in
    Geneva in January. China’s proposition to the world, Xi said, was
    to “build a community of shared future for mankind and achieve shared
    and win-win development”. Such a claim might previously have
    encountered polite scepticism. Today, it receives an almost uncritical welcome."

    Many well-educated Chinese know much about Western history and intellectual cultures.
    Zhou Enlai could speak five languages (Chinese, English, French, German, Russian) fairly well.

    "But if Xi’s claim is contestable, it pales in comparison with the
    exaggerations, false claims and threats by Trump and his circle.
    There will be few winners in a world of escalating tensions and
    disruption. China would not have picked this moment for a fight with the
    US. But if it can consolidate its own economic arrangements in the
    region and beyond, using its economic muscle to its diplomatic and
    political advantage while escaping the burden of censure that its internal
    repression has provoked to date, it will be a huge win for China."

    It's absurd to believe that US President Trump sincerely cares about the
    people afflicted by 'internal repression' in China, and the Chinese know it.
  2. 08 Feb '17 22:24
    Although he could be infamously anti-intellectual, Mao Zedong (born in 1893) came to the
    realization in the 1960s that his knowledge of science was outdated and needed improving.
    So Mao ordered several leading Chinese scientists to prepare private lectures or tutorials in their fields for him.

    Qian Xuesen (a famous rocket scientist and former professor at Caltech) lectured to Mao
    about rocket science and aerodynamics in general. It was like having a US President
    invite Wernher von Braun to give private lectures at the White House.

    I don't know how much Mao (who was in his 70s) learned from these scientific lectures,
    but at least he was willing to invest some time in becoming less ignorant about science.
    In contrast, I expect US President Trump to remain obstinately willfully ignorant and proud of it.
  3. 09 Feb '17 00:47
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/03/donald-trump-making-china-great-again-xi-jinping

    "Donald Trump is making China great again:
    The US president has dismayed the world; Xi Jinping has wooed it.
    This could be a huge win for Beijing."
    --Isabel Hilton

    "In terms of international diplomacy, things are going well [for China].
    It’s h ...[text shortened]... ly cares about the
    people afflicted by 'internal repression' in China, and the Chinese know it.
    Did Obama care?

    Obama was China's b.
  4. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    09 Feb '17 20:17
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Although he could be infamously anti-intellectual, Mao Zedong (born in 1893) came to the
    realization in the 1960s that his knowledge of science was outdated and needed improving.
    So Mao ordered several leading Chinese scientists to prepare private lectures or tutorials in their fields for him.

    Qian Xuesen (a famous rocket scientist and former professo ...[text shortened]... contrast, I expect US President Trump to remain obstinately willfully ignorant and proud of it.
    "Although he could be infamously anti-intellectual, Mao Zedong ..."

    Quite mixed messages have been given out about this. Obviously, Mao did inflict huge harm on intellectuals, and Chinese society was bereft as a result, a lesson that America will have to learn the hard way. But Mao himself was quite obviously a very proficient intellectual, for example in his appreciation for classical Chinese poetry, which shows in his use of the most astonishing language at times - "Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom" is just not the kind of political language a Republican like Trump or his associates is likely to employ.

    One can deplore Mao's political legacy without losing the ability to notice his evident talents. I do not think, though, that the definitive biography of Mao has yet been written - or if it has, I'd like the reference.

    With Trump, sadly, one must also deplore his pig ignorance and the wall of gobsmacking nonsense emerging from the White House since his inauguration, as the President of Australia would have confirmed had he existed. Trump's main talent seems to be gaslighting. American voters are not sufficiently good at avoiding its effects. But they will come to be appalled at the damage done in their rejection of intellectuals.
  5. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    09 Feb '17 21:54
    Originally posted by finnegan
    "Although he could be infamously anti-intellectual, Mao Zedong ..."

    Quite mixed messages have been given out about this. Obviously, Mao did inflict huge harm on intellectuals, and Chinese society was bereft as a result, a lesson that America will have to learn the hard way. But Mao himself was quite obviously a very proficient intellectual, for example ...[text shortened]... cts. But they will come to be appalled at the damage done in their rejection of intellectuals.
    I really liked this one:

    wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao:_The_Unknown_Story
  6. 09 Feb '17 22:00 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung to Finnegan
    I really liked this one:

    wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao:_The_Unknown_Story
    It's a sensationalistic book that's full of uncorroborated references, No wonder it became popular.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao:_The_Unknown_Story

    "Academic reviews from China specialists were, on the whole, mostly critical."

    "Chang and Halliday's book has been strongly criticized by various academic experts. In
    December 2005, The Observer newspaper stated that many knowledgeable academics
    of the field have questioned the factual accuracy of some of Chang and Halliday's
    claims, notably their selective use of evidence, questioning their stance in the matter,
    among other criticisms, although the article also said that Chang and Halliday's critics
    did not deny that Mao was "a monster".[13]

    David S. G. Goodman, Professor of Chinese Politics at the University of Sydney, wrote
    in The Pacific Review that Mao: The Unknown Story, like other examples of revisionist
    histories, implied that there had been "a conspiracy of academics and scholars who
    have chosen not to reveal the truth." Goodman argued that as popular history the
    book's style was "extremely polemic" and he was highly critical of Chang and Halliday's
    methodology and use of sources as well as specific conclusions.[27]

    Professor Thomas Bernstein of Columbia University referred to the book as "... a major
    disaster for the contemporary China field..." because the "scholarship is put at the
    service of thoroughly destroying Mao's reputation. The result is an equally stupendous
    number of quotations out of context, distortion of facts and omission of much of what
    makes Mao a complex, contradictory, and multi-sided leader."[4]

    The China Journal invited a group of specialists to give assessments of the book in the
    area of their expertise. Professors Gregor Benton (Cardiff University) and Steve Tsang
    (University of Oxford) argued that Chang and Halliday "misread sources, use them
    selectively, use them out of context, or otherwise trim or bend them to cast Mao in an
    unrelentingly bad light."[28] Timothy Cheek (University of British Columbia) then argued
    that the book is "not a history in the accepted sense of a reasoned historical analysis,"
    rather it "reads like an entertaining Chinese version of a TV soap opera."[29] University
    of California at Berkeley political scientist Lowell Dittmer added that "surely the
    depiction is overdrawn," but what emerges is a story of "absolute power" leading first to
    personal corruption in the form of sexual indulgence and paranoia, and second, policy
    corruption, consisting of the power to realize "fantastic charismatic visions and ignore
    negative feedback..." [30] Geremie Barmé (Australian National University) observed
    that while "anyone familiar with the lived realities of the Mao years can sympathize with
    the authors’ outrage" one must ask whether "a vengeful spirit serves either author or
    reader well, especially in the creation of a mass market work that would claim authority
    and dominance in the study of Mao Zedong and his history." [31]

    The 2009 anthology, Was Mao Really a Monster: The Academic Response to Chang
    and Halliday’s "Mao: The Unknown Story", edited by Gregor Benton and Lin Chun,
    brings together fourteen mostly critical previously published academic responses,
    including the reviews from China Journal. Benton and Lin write in their introduction that
    "unlike the worldwide commercial media... most professional commentary has been
    disapproving." They challenge the assertion that Mao was responsible for 70 million
    deaths, since the number's origin is vague and substantiation shaky. They include an
    extensive list of further reviews.[32] Mobo Gao, Professor of Chinese Studies at the
    University of Adelaide, wrote that The Unknown Story was "intellectually scandalous",
    saying that it "misinterprets evidence, ignores the existing literature, and makes
    sensationalist claims without proper evidence."[33]"
  7. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    10 Feb '17 00:00 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    I really liked this one:

    wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao:_The_Unknown_Story
    Yes I have that book and was very struck by it at the time it came out. It is a shocking read. It takes time to get perspective on a tour de force like that. I used to think it gave me the inside track on the story of Mao. But anyone who knows me will recognise that I like to go for books that challenge what I believe, not books that repeat what I think I know.

    A number of different books brought me to a more critical response. Of these, one was Chang's book about the Empress Dowager Cixi, in which the extent to which she was distorting the story to make ideological points was tediously transparent. It was as though she had a target market in America and was writing political soft porn for their delight (and their dollars). This is a shame because in both books she had the opportunity to tell terrific stories. Sadly, the American market demands that history be repackaged to suit their prejudices. I just happen to have read so many other, seriously written histories in topics overlapping with the Dowager Cixi story that I was better able to cross reference her claims and reject them. (A recurring theme is how the Americans arrived to bring civilisation to the primitive Chinese. Fancy that! The book is so sensationally uncritical it made me weep with laughter at times. You have to know fkg nothing to take her seriously.)

    Meanwhile, other histories are emerging that look far more critically at claims that have been made about modern Chinese history, and amazingly enough (given the wall of propoganda on both sides of the Cold War divide) the reality calls for a far more complex, multi faceted account, in which there is a lot more sense to Chinese policies under Mao than we have been accustomed to recognise.

    There is too much of an assumption that China was locked in a world of its own by choice. Just one theme worth giving more attention is the impact on China of the AMERICAN imposed embargo on trade, followed by Nixon's move to start removing that embargo. The extent to which the USA was a major factor in Chinese politics is not sufficiently discussed. It will continue to be the case, and not necessarily for the better.

    Look, to an American, this is probably too much to tolerate. They are fragile souls with a very fixed story line to keep under control. So to them, we must either love Mao or hate him. Actually, neither response is of any interest or value. The challenge is to understand history, not to take sides in a numbskull competition.
  8. 13 Feb '17 00:32
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/10/donald-trump-agrees-support-one-china-policy-phone-call-xi-jinping

    "Trump agrees to support 'One China' policy in Xi Jinping call:
    After nearly three weeks as president Trump talks to Chinese leader and, when asked,
    agrees to maintain status quo."

    US President Trump may be realizing that he cannot bully China into abject submission.