Archive for March, 2009

Oasis denial.

March 3, 2009

British Band Oasis which was scheduled to play concerts next month in Beijing and Shanghai has suddenly been denied. The Chinese government deemed them ‘unsuitable’ before pulling the plug. It was revealed that Noel Gallagher played at a Free Tibet benefit held in the USA in 1997 – of course we all know how much the Chinese appreciate them!

I did it for China.

March 3, 2009

I think one thing a lot of westerners are not entirely aware of is just how fanatically patriotic a lot of Chinese people are towards China. Despite poverty, repression, excessive pollution and any number of other issues, the vast majority of Chinese remain stoutly patriotic. They love China. China to them is more than just a country, it is their being. Of course it doesn’t help that it’s drilled into them from a very early age. Most Chinese wouldn’t even be aware that most of what they think they know is just in fact government propaganda. It will be an interesting day indeed if one day they suddenly wake up and realise that hey, it isn’t all that. I somehow doubt it will though.

In a recent act of patriotism, a Chinese man named Cai Mingchao won the auction for two ancient artifacts. The pair of Chinese zodiac statues sold for a whopping 19 million euros. Mr Cai could not afford this – flatly stating that he could not afford it and, “I believe that any Chinese person would stand up at this time… I am making an effort to fulfil my own responsibilities.”

You see Mr Cai, in the name of China, was trying to reclaim looted goods for his country. Now I have to say that here I almost agree with what he has done. These two statues were supposedly looted from the Imperial Summer Palace in 1860, during the end of the second Opium War. If you are familiar with Chinese history, you will be aware of this happening on a very regular basis. China has been at the butt-end of many invasions – most of which saw hundreds of priceless relics shipped off to places such as Europe.

If your country had been invaded, your history stolen, would you do similar? The Chinese government was greatly upset by auction-house Christies that they would in fact sell these items and not return them. I guess time can blur a lot of these issues. Is it right? If you have a looted item for a certain amount of time does it suddenly justify your ownership?

British soldiers had once tried to scrape gold from this water cauldron inside the Forbidden City, Beijing

British soldiers had once tried to scrape gold from this water cauldron inside the Forbidden City, Beijing

Click here to read the full story.

In my next life…

March 1, 2009

..please don’t let me come back as a Chinese miner! The final body from the Tunlan Coal Mine explosion in Northern China’s Shanxi Province has been located, bringing the total number of miners killed to 78. 358 managed to survive the gas explosion, many suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.

When events like this happen, while tragic, the media loves to run away with the statistics. They’re always excited to cover the ‘biggest’ or ‘worst’ or ‘longest’ statistic since last year/decade/century. Recently with the Australian heatwave in Victoria, and the bushfires thereafter, the media was in a frenzy. “This was the longest heatwave since records began, in 1876!!!” or somesuch. “The most killed in bushfires in Australia’s history!!” Tragic incidents, but the media lives for such events.

In poor old China however, mine disasters are so frequent that well – there’s just no real historical outlet to compare it to. This most recent mine disaster was the worst since….last year. Last year! These damned things happen multiple times a year. Last year alone some 5000 miners were reportedly killed in incidents alone – and that’s only reported! Who knows the actual figure.

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