Dateline: the Forbidden City:
Today, shocking news has emerged of the sub-human conditions in which the Chinese Olympic Team (identities obscured here for their protection) is kept. Sadly, it appears that the famously controlling Chinese government is taking no chances on defections, forcing the diminutive athletes to train in specially-segregated gyms. The armed guards in attendance insistently deny to curious passers-by that the amazing feats of prowess observable are those of the products of Beijing‘s notorious “Population Density Optimization Eugenics Program, claiming somewhat lamely that the entire thing is nothing more than a “cicada circus,” the bigger, better Chinese version of a flea circus.
The miniature sculpture works of Olympics sport events, pole jump, weight lifting, parallel bars, tennis ball and football made by handicraftsman Guo Futian, 52, are displayed at his home in downtown Beijing city, China, 04 August 2008. Maohou is a Chinese folk art form, and a form of Miniature Art. Artists build miniature sculptures using cicada sloughs and Magnolia buds. An old Beijing artform, Maohou sculpture came into being during the Qing dynasty. The most common Maohou sculptures feature dancing or posturing monkeys, with Magnolia buds used for making its body, cicada torso used for the limbs, and cicada antennae used for the tail. Legend has it that a Beijing herbal medicine shopkeeper designed such miniature toys for his son using the two traditional medicine ingredients since he was too poor to buy any toys.
What Would Amnesty International Do?
Freaky. And marginally disturbing.
Which sums up China quite well.
Cicada sloughs, yewwww! Not my idea of art.
Or so they SAY!!!
‘taking no chances on defections’
And for a sec I thought I read ‘defecations.’
The Chinese are like little fucking cockroaches. The size of Beijing is the size of Belgium. Each day 600 new cars are put on the road.
[Things I learned in first class on USAir. Minus the cockroach.]
I admire your energy and this blog, but I am embarrassed by the amount of negativity towards China, and the lack of any reasonable impartiality.
The truth is that China has been living in an organized and civilized society for 2000+ years, whereas the west has been doing so for maybe 400 years, and in that time, has created, marketed and sold the most destructive technologies that the world has ever seen.
The widespread use of cars was introduced by the West, China was told that in order to be a civilized nation, they had to allow a free economy and allow North American companies to do business.
First lets clean up our own crap, before selling it to others, then criticizing them for buying our crap economy, environment and governance.
We as Canadians are the worst polluters in the world per capita, let’s start doing something positive and making a good example before we criticize others.
The truth is not that China is 2000+ years old. I studied Chinese songs in University that were demonstrably more than five thousand years old. But hello, none of that means this isn’t funny.
China is a horrific, repressive society which slaughters its own people as a matter of policy when their statements diverge from that which those in power prefer to hear. Yeah, we use a lot of plastic bags.
It’s Not. The. Same. Thing.
I do agree that China has a lot of complex problems, that I cannot begin to imagine.
I ask you to clarify exactly what you mean by your last statements, that China is a horrific, repressive society which slaughters its own people as a matter of policy.
I do believe that your statement is a gross misrepresentation based on years of North American media bias and just shoddy journalistic work.
A lot of “facts” that were reported are later adjusted, of course over time nobody cares about the corrections to the sensationalistic first reports.
I also beg to differ on your last statement that “we use a lot of plastic bags, it’s not the same thing” is a very dangerous attitude which encourages arrogance, and short-sightedness.
We created this style of living as a standard template, which we judge every person and nation by. If they do not live up to our standard we judge them to be backwards.
However our style of living is killing this planet. Our levels of pollution per capita still far surpass any other country in the world (except the States of course). We cannot become complacent by closing our eyes and hiding our faces in the sand.
You assume things about my knowledge of China which betray a sweeping cultural discrimination against Canadians. My knowledge comes from many sources, the last of which is the mainstream media, and your assumptions about me in the absence of knowledge are indicative of a bias and stereotyping which certainly do not lend authority to your words.
One of the places my knowledge comes from is my work for Greenpeace. You appear not to know that Greenpeace was, in fact, founded in Canada.
You appear equally not to know about the arrest and two-year “reeducation” sentence imposed upon two Chinese citizens in their seventies just two days ago for their exercise of the fundamental right of free speech. You appear not to know that when a political dissident is executed, which is the policy in China, his family is charged for the expense to which the government has been put.
You appear not to be aware of the use of slave labour, including child slave labour, throughout China’s industrial cities.
You appear not to know about the ecological havoc wrought by China as a matter of policy. Just as one example, the national policy of the destruction of wild birds. There are neighbors of mine who still recall they were assigned a time each day to go outside and make noise; the times were coordinated nationally, in order to frighten all the birds into flight and keep them moving until they literally dropped dead, which they did. Which has been linked to a number of insect plagues since that time.
You appear, in fact, to be entirely ignorant of China’s ecological record. That they do not have the same per-capita rate of pollution that we do is not because they are a superior people (that would, of course, be a racist statement). It is because they do not have enough money to modernize, which is their explicit policy and to which aim hosting the Olympics was critical.
In fact I do know that Greenpeace was founded in Canada, and I have known that longer than most Vancouverites, and have mentioned that to some people. I came to know that when I volunteered for SPEC a while ago. If you are familiar, it was also founded around the same time in Vancouver, though it did not become as well organized and recognized throughout the world.
Yes I heard the news, while that is regrettable and unfortunate, jailing people is not the same as slaughtering them.
No, I do not know that when a political dissident is executed, and no I do not know that is the policy of China. I did a cursory search of the internet, and came across some Amnesty International records of the number of people put to death, but it was seemed clear that it was for a variety of reasons, including drunk driving. While I may or may not agree with the death penalty, I do not have evidence that they are using it plainly for political reasons.
Slave labour? I remember hearing about such kinds of work in Montreal, and even knowing personally a lady who had to work under terrible conditions for a pittance, until her hands were bleeding, and this was a well educated beautiful lady with many skills. It was a tragedy that was overlooked because peoples attention were focused far, far away, and not close to home.
I know farms that put their children to work as a matter of course, would you consider that slave labour?
I remember the great outrage against Coke or some other company maybe 10 years or more ago, for the conditions of work and low wages. I then remembered, my sister working for the equivalent of $0.70/hr at KFC, it was not inhumane, it was just the cost of life. However it could easily have been twisted that way, by quoting her salary, and that she had to lift up the heavy garbage cans, etc.
Yes, there are terrible jobs out there, and yes, they don’t always pay as much as we would like, and yes there can be improvements. However, the context of the situation is lost in the translation between Asia and North America, were we expect to be able to buy the latest sneakers and go to a movie and restaurant. While improvements I am sure are always welcome, would we rather people starve than work?
I also know many people in Vancouver who have been beaten into humiliation not through lack of trying but just because Vancouver is not the most forgiving of places either. If you can’t keep up to the Joneses, sometimes you get stuck living in places like Strathcona or elsewhere, having to be surrounded by drug abuse and general societal ills, who are never given a chance though they are European descendant Canadians.
I know people who get injured at work, who live in poverty for a quarter of the century until they can get any kind of compensation. I know people who are tricked into coming to Canada based on their merit, but when they land cannot obtain any jobs based on their merit, and have to work in the kinds of conditions that are close to the intolerable conditions that people complain about in China.
I know of well educated people of Native descent who will not get served in some restaurants, because “we don’t don’t serve their kind”, and Italian mixed lady who gets pulled over by the cops because she looks Native. Natives who don’t ever really get a chance, because some don’t think of them as real people still.
That is my statement exactly, I am aware that China has not yet modernized completely, which is the reason that they are not yet at our levels of pollution.
They are following our example in buying the latest cars, Gucci brands, living in apartments, becoming separated from traditional ways. That is my point exactly.
The moment we preach to another country, as we did when convincing China to become a capitalist nation, we run the risk of not fully comprehending the full nature of our actions.
China is a complicated country, let’s help them, and treat them like people, they took our advice and became a capitalistic nation. If we had let them well enough alone, maybe they would all still be mostly on bicycles, as they were before.
However, unfortunately, we are discovering that our advice is flawed. Instead of addressing the shortcomings of our capitalistic ways, and trying to build a self sustaining and healthy economy, where people are all treated equitably, we point fingers at those that took our advice. We are just transferring our ills to a larger society, and in that larger society it becomes more evident where the flaws lie.
I believe that China to most people is just a mirror of our own ills, that we as a society do not yet have the courage to face.
We have a long way to go in changing our economy, our government and our society. Let’s start that process, then lets teach others. We are nowhere close yet.
They mostly still ARE on bicycles, actually. What kind of car do you drive? I don’t have one, myself.
Never, ever overgeneralize. Ever.
Also: “sometimes you get stuck living in places like Strathcona”… why, thank you for characterizing my neighborhood so negatively. It may shock you to know the vibrant and diverse cultures which exist here…but you would actually have to come down here and look around to know it, unless you suddenly feel like taking my word for it.
Why not look here for a start: FearlessCity which is one of the places I work. That site exists to enable the residents of the Downtown Eastside to tell their own stories, so that people who live elsewhere do not have to rely on often erroneous and belittling stereotypical preconceptions.
One sentence provokes that diatribe? Gawd. I think we both know we don’t live in Paradise, but it’s just so much better if only because we don’t have all that pollution. And we don’t execute our fuck-up politicians. Although I’m considering it.
Neither do I drive a car. Why do you generalize about me, then ask me not to generalize about you?
You assume that I am not familiar with environmental organizations or the Vancouver scene. You seem to think me comparing North America to China has something to do with race, I am not sure where you got that from, do you think I am saying that North America is only for white people? You assume that I am unfamiliar with the Vancouver neighbourhoods and people, and that I must drive a car.
The comment that I mentioned about Strathcona comes directly from Strathcona natives, who have moved out of the neighbourhood. So yes, I have known many Strathcona natives over the years that have lived there.
I have participated in many community events, including environmental events, have practiced with musicians who lived in Strathcona, have performed at many local cultural events including Illuminaires and Strathcona events, for many years. Also I have spent years volunteering as a board member for a local non-profit.
I do know where you have put time and energy in, with FearlessCity, which is why I did mention that I respect you. Also, I am pleased that you and I have spent time discussing issues, rather than just dismissing me because I have a different opinion. Which I have experienced in Vancouver, by many who claim to fight for justice and freedom, but only if others share exactly the same opinion as them.
silverstar98121 who are you claiming executes politicians? Is it China, that you make this statement about, as far as I know, the Dalai Lama is alive, I do not believe he is a ghost.
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These sculptures, the first time I saw her, who!, I was called bástate attention. This gentleman Guo Ruti, is an admirer of his art, and that is Espejocritico.net (of course its mastermind; Wilkin Urbano). It’s what I can say.
Estas esculturas, la vez primera que la vi, who!, me llamaron bástate la atención. Este señor Guo Rutian, tiene un admirador de su arte, y ese es Espejocritico.net (por supuesto su autor intelectual; Wilkin Urbano).Es lo que puedo decir.