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Democracy and its enemies

In the coming year the people who run the world will change—and so could the ideas, predicts John Micklethwait



Politics always operates at two levels. There is the immediate, pragmatic level of the struggle for power: which party wins an election, who becomes prime minister, dictator or king. But there is also the underlying struggle of ideas: the battle between left and right, between liberalism and autocracy. Occasionally, these two sorts of politics coincide dramatically—as in France in 1789, Russia in 1917, eastern Europe in 1989 and arguably the Arab world in 2011. More often, though, the faces change more quickly than the theories, especially in democracies, and the pattern is obvious only in retrospect. Few Britons realised how important Margaret Thatcher would be when they elected her in 1979; even fewer Americans spotted the arrival of a new brand of conservatism in Barry Goldwater’s humiliating defeat in the 1964 presidential election.

From this perspective, predicting that any year will come to be seen as a political landmark is a mug’s game. But 2012 stands a good chance of being pivotal, both in terms of people and a clash of ideas.

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The Coming Collapse of China: 2012 Edition

I admit it: My prediction that the Communist Party would fall by 2011 was wrong. Still, I'm only off by a year.


In the middle of 2001, I predicted in my book, The Coming Collapse of China, that the Communist Party would fall from power in a decade, in large measure because of the changes that accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) would cause. A decade has passed; the Communist Party is still in power. But don't think I'm taking my prediction back.

Why has China as we know it survived? First and foremost, the Chinese central government has managed to avoid adhering to many of its obligations made when it joined the WTO in 2001 to open its economy and play by the rules, and the international community maintained a generally tolerant attitude toward this noncompliant behavior. As a result, Beijing has been able to protect much of its home market from foreign competitors while ramping up exports.

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Vote as I say 
Independent candidates for elections appear to be a spontaneous step too far for the Communist Party

Jun 16th 2011 | BEIJING | from the print edition


“A LIVE-FIRE exercise in democracy” is how one of China’s sparkier newspapers hailed a recent move by dozens of citizens to promote themselves online as independent candidates in forthcoming local elections. Communist Party officials, unnerved by Arab revolutions and sporadic unrest in the provinces, are far less jubilant. Voting rituals long choreographed by the party suddenly face a new challenge from the internet.

Elections at the lowest tier of China’s multi-layered parliamentary structure are the only ones in which citizens can directly vote for their legislators. But the party likes to leave nothing to chance. Citizens can, in theory, stand for election with support from ten fellow constituents. In practice, the party usually ensures that only its endorsed candidates make it to the shortlist. Ordinary Chinese often refer to the “people’s congresses”, as the legislatures are called, as mere ornamental “flower vases”.

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Women in China have long been silenced or sidelined—if they weren’t smothered at birth. But now a booming economy has transformed their lives. Hilary Spurling sees the changes for herself ...


From INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, Summer 2011

"Impossible is nothing,” said my Chinese host in March, when I told her the English proverb “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”. She had just passed me a plateful of what looked like tiny, shiny, caramel-and-white striped silk purses. They turned out to be sliced pig’s ear, one of many traditional delicacies at a banquet that included fried ants, sea slugs and geese feet.

Of course almost nothing is impossible in a country where acrobats still juggle wooden chairs as if they were feathers or ping-pong balls—and where the gristle and cartilage of a pig’s ear turn up on your plate as an absurdly elegant appetiser.

What makes foreigners gasp and stretch their eyes in China now is the almost inconceivable speed and scale of the changes that, in the past ten years, have swept people off the land like a giant magnet. In 1990 three out of every four people still lived and worked, as they always had done, on farms. More than 40% have now moved to the cities. By 2015, according to an article I read in China Daily, based on a United Nations forecast, half the population will be urbanised.

The creative energy released by this frenetic development is palpable almost as soon as you step off the plane. It comes like a buzz off the people, especially the young women. When I arrived in the university town of Nanjing on my first visit to China in 2007, I spent days on end watching and talking to students, marvelling above all at the confidence, competence and poise of the girls. I was working on a book about Pearl Buck, who grew up in the Chinese countryside before teaching on the Nanjing campus in the 1920s, so I knew a lot about the world of these girls’ grandmothers: a slow-moving world where traffic went by river steamer or canal boat, and the only wheeled vehicle most people ever saw was a wheelbarrow. Girls were shut up at home on reaching puberty with no further access to the outside world, and no voice in their own or their family’s affairs. In traditional households they were forbidden to speak even to their husbands, except behind closed doors in the bedroom at night.

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Japanese rush for 'lucky bags'

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圖片引用來自 CNN



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Can Japan profit from its national 'cool'?

By Mairi Mackay, CNN
November 19, 2010 8:26 p.m. EST

"They don't know how to go overseas and sell themselves and communicate with potential buyers," he added.

Takagi agrees that while Japan's fashion trends are very popular in Hong Kong, China and Korea, Japanese clothing companies have struggled to enter the wider Asian market.

Takagi told CNN, "Japan has lots of fashion magazines that are sold in China and they are very popular. The clothes that are shown in the magazines are made by small and medium-sized companies. They have no knowledge or networks or capital to be able to enter Asian markets."

She says that Cool Japan will help companies like these with marketing abroad.

"Japan has a lot of unique culture which is very important to us. We have not utilized that very much until now because we could compete in (other) industries," she explained.

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日俄領土爭議 美表態挺日

更新日期:2010/11/02 09:35 陳 蓉


(法新社華盛頓1日電) 日本、俄羅斯針對千島群島(Kuril Islands)的領土紛爭,美國表態支持日本,但呼籲兩國以協商方式解決這長達數十年的爭執。

俄羅斯總統麥維德夫(Dmitry Medvedev)1日視察千島群島。

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Don't fear the rise of China

By Joseph S. Nye, Special to CNN
October 31, 2010 9:21 a.m. EDT


Editor's note: Joseph S. Nye is University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University, and author of the "The Future of Power," which PublicAffairs press will publish in February. In 1993 and 1994 he was chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which coordinates intelligence estimates for the president. In 1994 and 1995, he served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

Cambridge, Massachusetts (CNN) -- A century ago, the rise of Germany and the fear it created in Britain led to world war. Some analysts predict a similar fate from the rise of China and the fear that is creating in the United States.

One should be skeptical about such dire projections. By 1900, Germany had surpassed Britain in industrial power, and Kaiser Wilhelm II was pursuing an adventurous, globally oriented foreign policy that was bound to bring about a clash with other great powers.

In contrast, China still lags far behind the United States economically and militarily, and has focused its policies primarily on its region and on its economic development. While its "market Leninist" economic model (the so-called "Beijing Consensus") provides soft power in authoritarian countries, it has the opposite effect in many democracies. Soft power is the ability to produce preferred outcomes by attraction rather than coercion or payment, and China has announced major efforts to increase its soft power.

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What is the Proliferation Security Initiative,PSI definition?
Perhaps that this emphasis that biodefense !唉!也是老梗
 The simply to say that the proliferation security initiative to stem the trafficking in weapons of massdestruction, in particular, including biological weapons.
What is the biological weapons?

又來了! 南韓主導演習 北韓指為公開宣戰

更新日期:2010/10/16 14:45 黃啟霖


首次由南韓主導,美、日、澳共同參與的「防止武器擴散安全倡議(Proliferation Security Initiative,PSI)

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中共土耳其聯合軍演 美國不爽

更新日期:2010/10/12 03:01 劉屏/華盛頓十一日電



中、土聯合軍演,最初是土耳其報紙《Taraf》稱九月底至十月初,雙方在土耳其首都安卡拉南部的孔亞(Konya)空軍基地,舉行代號「安納托利亞之鷹」(Anatolian Eagle)的演習。解放軍出動蘇愷-27及米格-29等戰機,土耳其則出動F-16等戰機。



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What is the human right&peace definition?唉!

劉曉波獲獎 諾貝爾委員會:深信人權與和平有緊密關係

更新日期:2010/10/08 18:15 張子清

挪威諾貝爾委員會(Norwegian Nobel Institute)8日宣布,今年的諾貝爾和平獎得主,由中國異議人士劉曉波榮獲。諾貝爾委員會在頒給劉曉波這個象徵和平最高榮譽的獎項時,讚揚劉曉波長期為中國基本人權進行非暴力的和平努力。




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要日本放人卻不放越南人 中國兩套標準

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中打經貿牌反制 日本感到痛

更新日期:2010/09/21 02:42 記者張凱勝/綜合報導






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中國抗議升級 國務委員召日使籲「勿誤判形勢」 

中國抗議升級 國務委員召日使籲「勿誤判形勢」
更新日期:2010/09/12 17:57 大陸新聞中心/綜合報導



雙 方會談歷時45分鐘,這是繼中國外交部副部長宋濤、部長助理胡正躍,以及楊潔篪後,中方第4度就撞船事件召見丹羽宇一郎。日本《共同社》報導,中方因應層級由外交部升級至國務院,戴秉國直接召見丹羽宇一郎,這一舉動顯示了中方對此事的重視程度。報導認為,中國政府考慮到國內指責日本的輿論高漲,展示出了強 硬態度。


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中推遲與日東海談判 緊張升高 中斥若恣意妄為 必將自食其果 日政府則籲冷靜處理

更新日期:2010/09/12 02:45 記者慶正/綜合報導





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日國交相:不用懷疑 釣魚台是日本的

更新日期:2010/09/10 15:35

在釣魚台海域所發生的中日撞船事件,引發中國與日本兩 國關係緊張,不過日本官方對這起事件的態度強硬,日本「國土交通大臣」「前原誠司」今天在眾議院「國土交通委員會」會議中,措詞強硬地表示,日本在東海 「不存在任何領土問題」,也就是說,前原誠司認為釣魚台是日本領土,他也說,今後就算遇到相關問題,日本也將態度堅決地加以因應。


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Elections in Taiwan

Close brush for China


Jan 14th 2012, 18:09 by J.M. | TAIPEI

CHINA and America can breathe a sigh of relief. A closely fought presidential election in Taiwan has delivered a second four-year term to the China-friendly incumbent, Ma Ying-jeou. China had feared that his opponent, Tsai Ing-wen, would try to steer the island closer to formal independence. America professed neutrality, but clearly did not want to see tensions rise in the Taiwan Strait. To officials in Washington as well as Beijing, Mr Ma looked the less likely of the two to stir up trouble.

Mr Ma’s party, the Kuomintang (KMT), has also retained its control of the legislature. In parliamentary polls, held at the same time as the presidential ones, the KMT won 64 of the legislature’s 113 seats. Ms Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won 40. Mr Ma’s fortunes were boosted by the unexpectedly poor performance of a third candidate, James Soong of the People First Party. Mr Soong’s decision in November to join the race prompted fears in the KMT that it would lose some of its supporters to him. (His party split from the KMT in 2000.) “Jiu jiu jiu”, urged large characters on one election van in Taipei this week, meaning “Save, save Jeou”. In the end, Mr Soong took less than 3% of the vote. Mr Ma got nearly 52%, against less than 46% for Ms Tsai. 

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