China roundup- supercomputers, Bale gets rejected, global media expansion

The Atlantic Monthly’s James Fallows has a roundup of some of the biggest events in China, including the crazy situation in a village where villagers have barricaded their village against authorities. Interestingly one of the items at the bottom looks at the possibility of Chinese dominance in supercomputers. Fallows is skeptical and introduces arguments by experts who say that without soft infrastructure – laws, civic trust, institutions- China won’t achieve true dominance in supercomputing or other industries. I’d say they are right, and that this is an obvious argument that applies to a lot of things in China.

Meanwhile, Batman or rather Christian Bale, caused a stir in China by trying to visit a blind lawyer under house arrest. While admirable in a way, the fact he did it with CNN in tow guaranteed his attempt would fail. Even without CNN, I think Bale wouldn’t have been allowed to come anywhere near the lawyer, but I think it wasn’t a good idea. Maybe he thought that having CNN film his visit would put more pressure and shame on Chinese authorities, but on the other hand, this issue has already received a lot of attention, even from Hillary Clinton.

Mainland Chinese students overseas, such as in the US, often face a lot of anger and criticism from people over China. It’s frustrating for many, to be targeted or caught up in arguments they want no part of simply for their country or government’s actions. It would be like if every American abroad had to face criticism over the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s unfortunate that for many people, whether it be in the US, or Taiwan, China is this huge faceless machine in which every mainland Chinese person is a cog and hence, part of the problem. I wish people could separate their criticisms of governments and people.

Here’s news of another round of global expansion from a Chinese state media agency. This time, China’s CCTV TV broadcaster is expanding globally to launch English TV programs produced overseas in the US and Kenya, while setting up hubs in places like London, South America, and the Asia-Pacific region. This sounds like a good idea, but whether they can establish much credibility and attract viewers is uncertain. It’s kind of hard for a state broadcaster to be successful in running a global network when its operations at home are so restricted and controlled.


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