China

My Chinasmack article continued to generate more comments this week, bringing the total to over 60, though I probably contributed about one-third of that. It’s been interesting reading most of the comments and having some exchanges with people over mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. I’ve been accused of making too much of an issue over something, but I’ve also been accused of not understanding the whole picture, mostly from very pro-Taiwan folks, and of course, some positive and informative comments. It hasn’t always been smooth but this is what happens when you put yourself, or your writing, out there on a public forum.

The Nation, an old favorite of mine which I haven’t read in a long time, has this “book review” on books about Deng Xiaoping’s rule and Henry Kissenger’s views on China. The reason I put quotes on book review is because the article is so good you won’t even realize it’s a book review. There’s a good description of the type of person Deng was – tough, battle-hardened and pragmatic, yet loyal to the party to the end- and a good summary of China over the past few years. I do like this phrase “[China’s] economic power and its status as America’s main creditor have made it more aggressive in dealing with Washington as well, shocking some American diplomats not accustomed to having a bona fide peer,” but being realistic I know China’s got a way to go before it can seriously be a genuine peer to the US. The article’s writer sounds grim in his summary of China’s progress in the near future that doesn’t sound too off the mark. Given how the past year has been for China, you’d think the country is close to falling apart. Yet that didn’t seem very apparent when I was there recently.

Anyways, moving on from China, the NY Times has a really pessimistic article about Japan and the shoddy way how its young people are treated. It’s full of doom and gloom about the “lost generation,” young people being marginalized well into their 20s and 30s, and a declining once-powerful nation that’s got the “worst generational inequality in the world”. It’s also got a 30-something guy who was a promising engineer who ended up “fleeing” to Taiwan to make a new life and escape a cycle of never-ending temp jobs.

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