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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 12:49 pm
by Jean
China is not a member on this forum and will never be one. I thought you were talking about the forum, not the world, the world being a object of the discussion taking place on the forum.
I understand that you endgoal on this forum is truth. But what is the place that "rules that country should follow between themselves" has on your forum that makes it outside of the field of possible discussion.
Do you make a difference, regarding forum rules between those to sentences?:
-We y should eradicate x because this is in our (y's) interest as x's actions might lead to our eradication and we could still afford not taking the risk
-X should be eradicated because they are evil, and we'll do it because we are good.

Memes and other cheerleading are a way to bumb the moral within one group while demoralizing the other one, not a way to seek truth. Wether the meme says the truth or not isn't relevant, only that people seeing it believe that it's true. It's a way of playing the soccer game. From how you used the soccer analogy, it seems more like this forum is not a place were the soccer game is played, but a place were we discuss wether player follow the rules, how good they play the game, and how the weather affects the ball movement. This is very fine for me and exactly why I come to this forum. But then, I don't understand why it's not ok to say that x's best interest is to eradicate y.

I don't even think we should eradicate any group of people.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 1:28 pm
by ertyu
Jean wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 12:49 pm
We y should eradicate x because this is in our (y's) interest as x's actions might lead to our eradication
sounds exactly like the wwii rationale did you not make it into art school by any chance? :lol:

i mean, seriously, jean, do you even hear yourself

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 1:41 pm
by jacob
It's a public forum so anyone from anywhere in the world could be a member or read along.
Jean wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 12:49 pm
Do you make a difference, regarding forum rules between those to sentences?:
-We y should eradicate x because this is in our (y's) interest as x's actions might lead to our eradication and we could still afford not taking the risk
-X should be eradicated because they are evil, and we'll do it because we are good.
I absolutely do, but don't push it. Words like "eradicate", kill or destroy are pretty inflammatory, but discussing neorealistic notions like "X country should oppose Y country lest they get too powerful. Therefore X country should pursue the following policies ..." is okay. It's very different from "We need to eradicate them because they're innately evil".
Jean wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 12:49 pm
From how you used the soccer analogy, it seems more like this forum is not a place were the soccer game is played, but a place were we discuss wether player follow the rules, how good they play the game, and how the weather affects the ball movement. This is very fine for me and exactly why I come to this forum. But then, I don't understand why it's not ok to say that x's best interest is to eradicate y.
Exactly. The former sentence above allows for weighing different issues and positions of respective adversaries considering the other position like a war game. The latter sentence is just ginning up emotions and playing the actual game---essentially turning the forum into a battlefield and consequently wrecking it.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 1:47 pm
by Jean
I take extreme exemples in my questions, because it helps in avoiding that an other value than the one i'm trying to know in the person I'm asking the question to might motivate the answer.

I think its clear now. When I meant China, I really meant the country China. I know that we might have some chinese forum member, and I hope they would participate more in discussions that concerns something they know better than other forum members.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 3:36 pm
by nomadscientist
Separating people, countries (or "peoples"), and states is an American worldview that not everyone else accepts. The distinction is itself objectionable to many. Of course no discussion can take place that is not objectionable to anyone.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 6:02 pm
by slowtraveler
When I say China, I mean the government, only the CCP and absolutely not the people.

Hong Kongers seem to agree that they are not their government. It is a political perspective that arises in any people who feel their government does not represent their interests. I've met tons of Vietnamese, Thais, Turks, and Latinos who also know they are not their government. I'd say it is the norm among the people who care about politics in those countries from my experience. To say it is an American worldview sounds silly at best.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 6:09 pm
by slowtraveler
Or did I misunderstand Jean and Jean meant that we are all one people, we are all humans together, on a journey and that countries are just part of our shared fiction?

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 7:57 pm
by Jean
We are all together in that journey, ending the lives of each other has been and will mostly be part of this journey. Assembling your team appropriatly has always been a part of not having one's live ended. Countries are a way humans invented to keep a team assembled.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 8:56 pm
by nomadscientist
slowtraveler wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 6:02 pm
When I say China, I mean the government, only the CCP and absolutely not the people.
And many Chinese people see this as a trick the US uses to fragment opposing power formations so they're too weak to resist; meanwhile, the US, a huge and disparate country, violently suppresses secession attempts or efforts to change its political system within its borders.
've met tons of Vietnamese, Thais, Turks, and Latinos who also know they are not their government.
It's already a propagandist phrasing. Of course no one will say "I am my government" (apart from Louis XIV anyway). But I've met lots of people who take criticism of their government as an attack on them, since it's as an attack on a status and power-granting structure of which they are part. Same as how many people take attacks on their employer or their sports team personally. It isn't irrational to do so, even if there are other rational outlooks (I'm not saying the US outlook is irrational or wrong, just that it's not the only one).

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 9:28 pm
by ZAFCorrection
That logic also gets used selectively in the US to attempt to shut down legitimate criticism of government policy with charges of racism (see Israel and now China for examples across the spectrum).

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Wed May 20, 2020 11:58 pm
by slowtraveler
Most Chinese I meet actually feel it's the ccp trying everything they can to stifle them, even while abroad. When I said they don't identify with their government, I thought it was blatant that they openly criticize and talk sh*t about their government.

You've never heard of the great Thai song, "Rap Against Dictatorship"?

What about the Egypt song where they openly mock their government for claiming they're a democracy while trying to force people to bow their head to the party?

This is no way a US idea. Sumer was the first recorded democracy, millennia before the West first had it with Greece, I believe. Claiming it is a US idea is ignorant of the facts.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 3:54 am
by oldbeyond
China seems to supply me mainly electronics, and likely quite a bit of parts in machinery and appliances, as well as the proverbial "stuff" (various plastic crap). So avoiding crap and minimizing the use of electronics and appliances, extending their use and fixing broken ones as much as possible would seem like the right way to go about it. "Stuff" people here likely keep to a minimum anyway and there you can likely find higher quality replacements from elsewhere or DIY.

From my experience a lot of Chinese are critical of the CCP and the corruption in it. But they are also fiercely nationalistic and will rally behind the party if they experience foreign interference and hostility, and they fear instability and a partitioning of their country almost as much as the party does. Countries/cultures have deep memories of past existential crises. Germans are still scared of inflation. The Chinese still remember being partly colonized by foreign powers, reigned over by petty domestic warlords and invaded by the Japanese. My feeling is that the humiliation this created has left a deeper imprint than even all the dead Mao left behind. Especially as this script (collapse of central power followed by civil war and foreign incursions) has happened repeatedly over the course of a few thousand years of Chinese history. I don't doubt that a lot of people in Hong Kong and Tibet would like to be truly autonomous. I also don't doubt that the US government is mainly motivated by using them to weaken an important geopolitical rival, nor that they lend covert and overt support to for example the protesters in HK.

I avoid buying certain items for environmental reasons, like palm oil or Brazilian beef. I personally don't see boycotting the PRC being as clear cut. The CCP do a lot of bad things, yes. It's history is outright evil. But I can't really see them going anywhere, and if they would, you would likely have a new authoritarian government emerge after a couple of decades of renewed chaos. Three Kingdoms begins with the line "话说天下大势,分久必合,合久必分" - "The world under heaven, after a long period of division, tends to unite; after a long period of union, tends to divide.". That was written 600 years ago.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 7:00 am
by Alphaville
Great post by @oldbeyond.

I should add, as an appendix to his, a small personal anecdote.

I once worked with this Chinese professor—a good scientist, well adjusted to decades of life in America, nice guy—who told me during a conversation that he though the greatest Chinese person in history was Mao.

Mao? I looked at him in shock—my idea of Mao was (and still is) that of a brutal dictator who created an ideology that gave China the cultural revolution, famines, and exported its horrors to the killing fields of Cambodia and beyond.

I told him that in my view Mao was a dictator, and asked him what was so great about him. His answer: Mao was able to unify China. Seems like Chinese unity was so important to him, he was willing to overlook some deep flaws.

While this was surprising to me at first, I eventually understood his perspective— although I do not share it.

And it’s a bit like how we’re willing to overlook the fact that the Founding Fathers were slave owners because they gave us independence from England. Every nation has its essential myths and heroes that feed into the national priorities.



ETA: rereading my post a few minutes later, it’s more like how Lincoln was one of our greatest presidents because he saved the Union, war carnage be damned.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 12:35 pm
by nomadscientist
slowtraveler wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 11:58 pm
Most Chinese I meet actually feel it's the ccp trying everything they can to stifle them, even while abroad. When I said they don't identify with their government, I thought it was blatant that they openly criticize and talk sh*t about their government.

You've never heard of the great Thai song, "Rap Against Dictatorship"?

What about the Egypt song where they openly mock their government for claiming they're a democracy while trying to force people to bow their head to the party?

This is no way a US idea. Sumer was the first recorded democracy, millennia before the West first had it with Greece, I believe. Claiming it is a US idea is ignorant of the facts.
The idea of waging war (and don't pretend that isn't what this is, just adapted for the effective strategies of the post-nuclear era) against a "government not a people" was first used by Woodrow Wilson in WWI:

"We have no quarrel with the German people. We have no feeling towards them but one of sympathy and friendship. It was not upon their impulse that their Government acted in entering this war. It was not with their previous knowledge or approval."

https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/Wilso ... o_Congress

No doubt you agree with these statements, with sincere belief and no attempt at deception. And no doubt most Chinese do not wish to be living in Germany, 1919.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 2:21 pm
by Alphaville
I wish we had a neutral thread to discuss things going on in China, because the CPC is about to pass legislation to tamp down protests and “foreign interference” in HK, and here I’m posting about them in a boycott thread.

Now, about Hong Kong: for us Westerners it’s a bastion of democracy and a shining beacon of freedom and capitalism, which is why it was Milton Friedman’s favorite example to discuss the greatness of free markets. But for China, Hong Kong is a territory that was stolen from the Qing Empire by narco-lords who forced their drug trade on the Chinese people... in the name of free markets!

This reminds me of one of those spots where tectonic plates push against each other and disappear into darkness... like the Mariana Trench.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 3:16 pm
by chenda
Its probably true that Mao did liberate China from quasi-colonial rule and ended the 'century of humiliation' at the hands of western powers (and Japan) I believe the official communist party line is he was 70% right and 30% wrong.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 9:31 pm
by Alphaville
chenda wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 3:16 pm
I believe the official communist party line is he was 70% right and 30% wrong.
curious to know what today’s CPC considers what deeds fit into those ratios...

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:45 pm
by white belt
@Chenda @Alphaville

I'd argue that Jiang Kai Shek was the one that liberated China from quasi-colonial rule and ended the "century of humiliation". Mao's cult of personality exaggerated his role as liberator when in fact the KMT played a much bigger role in ridding the country of Japanese invaders.

What the CCP did was provide a form of stability in China in the mid 20th century. Keep in mind that the Chinese civil war spanned from 1927 to 1949, with some break from 1937-1945 to unite on some fronts against the Japanese raping and pillaging their way through the country. After 20+ years of war, the Chinese people were clinging to any group that could provide some semblance of peace and stability. The CCP was actually somewhat successful at growing the Chinese economy for it's first ~10 years in power. Mao was correct in recognizing that in order for China to modernize it would need to shift away from an agrarian economy. It was his implementation that was disastrous (Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, collectivization, flipping the social hierarchy, political purging, etc) which reversed economic growth and caused immense human suffering.

Since the Opening of China (1978), the CCP has been at the helm of the most vigorous economic growth ever seen. From 1978 to 2013, the Chinese economy grew by 9.5% a year. Most of that growth was the result of implementing element of capitalism into the economy, but nevertheless the CCP is still able to take credit as being at the helm for it. This prosperity has bought them a lot of legitimacy, but now we are getting to the point where the people who remember China prior to 1978 are getting old and the young people only know of life in prosperous China. It's probably not coincidental that in recent years China has turned to more draconian measures to control the population, especially as economic growth has started to slow.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:49 pm
by white belt
Alphaville wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 2:21 pm
I wish we had a neutral thread to discuss things going on in China, because the CPC is about to pass legislation to tamp down protests and “foreign interference” in HK, and here I’m posting about them in a boycott thread.

Now, about Hong Kong: for us Westerners it’s a bastion of democracy and a shining beacon of freedom and capitalism, which is why it was Milton Friedman’s favorite example to discuss the greatness of free markets. But for China, Hong Kong is a territory that was stolen from the Qing Empire by narco-lords who forced their drug trade on the Chinese people... in the name of free markets!

This reminds me of one of those spots where tectonic plates push against each other and disappear into darkness... like the Mariana Trench.
I do wonder if the West will actually support Hong Kong if the proverbial push comes to shove. I mean the only thing that's protected Europe from Russian invaders is the US presence in NATO and as far as I know Hong Kong does not have any sort of agreements with any other countries (since it's technically part of CCP controlled China). The reality is that the average Westerner just doesn't have any skin in the game.

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 1:52 am
by nomadscientist
white belt wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:45 pm
@Chenda @Alphaville

I'd argue that Jiang Kai Shek was the one that liberated China from quasi-colonial rule and ended the "century of humiliation". Mao's cult of personality exaggerated his role as liberator when in fact the KMT played a much bigger role in ridding the country of Japanese invaders.
The depressing truth is that China did virtually nothing effective to prevent the Japanese conquest; the Japanese continued being able to occupy pretty much whatever they wanted in coastal China as late as 1945 when they were long since obviously doomed. China was "saved" by the USA making it in effect a US creation and the CCP was put in power by the USA and the USSR, with the USA being the more important factor. Obviously no Chinese wishes to hear that (see my previous comments).

Intriguingly though Americans also do not wish to hear it, despite (because of?) China being an increasingly interesting and important topic for them. The everyday view seems to be that the CCP is some sort of immutable fact of nature, like the changing of the tides. Even trade publications like Foreign Policy do not discuss this much. Perhaps it raises too many uncomfortable questions about America's own past.

Frankly from an American national interest point of view with full hindsight from today, the best thing they could have done in 1945 would have been offering Japan a negotiated peace that let them keep Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria. Then one can ask exactly how unpredictable that was at the time - wasn't something of that sort the obvious result of a moralistic holy war outlook rather than a more rational and realist balance of power outlook? What lessons may that have for today?