Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bye bye Mister Bo

Beijing's sacking of its rising political star, Congqing city mayor, Bo Xilai has been occupying the headlines of papers not only in China, but also in UK and the U.S. I do not want to belabor the facts  and , quickly, Bo and his wife, Gu, were under investigation of the death of Neil Heywood, a British businessman having close ties with Bo's family.

First, I think it be would pretty hard pressed for Bo to come out of this investigation again even if he could prove his innocence. He is done, politically. The funny thing, I guess maybe not so funny for Bo, is that he is subject to CCP's investigation first, before a criminal proceeding. He is not charged yet, and he does not have a lawyer to fight for his rights. I am not crying for Bo, but just saying if China is serious about rule of law as claimed, this is balantly against such a claim. The message is that CCP is outside the law.

As this news develops, legs of stories of Bo, his wife, his son and their dealings with Heywood grow longer.  Although Bo's political agenda, which he prides himself on, is all about revatalizing some of Mao's idealistics of social justice, his wife and son seem to have a high life even in Western standards. Bo Guagua, his son, was educated in expensive UK boarding school, went to Oxford and Hardvard, and owns a Farrari. Not that there is something wrong with that, but if Bo's such a poverty fighter, his family seems to be treating themselves as aristocracy. This makes Bo more than just being hypocrisy - he may be a fraud, shall we say, for he seems to fully embrace what he criticizes in the public.

Bo's scandal struck the core of China's political system. From Cheng Xitong to Chen Lianyu and to Bo Xilai, three mayors of China's four mega cities (Shanghai, Beijing, Congqing, and Tianjing) have been purged. Why is that the case? Could the system be at fault here?

Anyhow, I am happy Bo's sacked. Nobody is going to miss him and his red songs. So long Mr. Bo.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


India launched a 3000 mile range missile yesterday, hardly groundbreaking in terms of deadliness. But India is still welcomed to the big boy club to join the U.S., Russia, China, UK and France, (Israel and Japan which probably had this capability years ago but would never advertise it for obvious reason) and (the North Koreans and Iran which probably don't have the capability but would advertise anyways). For sure, India can proudly proclaim they can hit any part of China if they want.

If they want …, not sure what that means to India. In an all out preemptive strike, that is a big if. I wish New Delhi would have expended same amount enthusiasm in fighting poverty and corruptions for the better of Inidan people for goodness's sake. Economic establishments and thriving probably mean a lot more than the capability to hit any part of China.

But, for whatever moral victory there is for the proud Indian people, I do not want to talk about them. At least we know they are proud, good for them. Now, on to China, why is it every neighbor of China is so against China these days. One the east, Japan and Korea are having beef with China about fishing and the sea rights there. On the south, Philippines and Vietnam are armed up to fight China over south China sea, or, as they call it, the Spratlys. On the west, India displaces China as the biggest arms buyer in the world with the purpose of matching up with China in their main sight. On the north, it's the bear, the Russians, well, the Russians can never be trusted over territory issues. Sadly, the peace between Taiwan and Mainland China could very well be the most positive diplomatic development in recent years for China, but we Chinese will rather call it a domestic issue.

So is China contained? Obviously. Is China a pushover by anybody with no respect because China is too soft, as many Chinese leftists so claim? Maybe and maybe not. But Kissinger in his book on China put it that China maybe should look introspectively for the reason why such containment had occurred during the Mao era, and likewise, I would say, now. Why doesn't China have friends, beyond dubious Pakistan, Burma and Cambodia in the region. These days even Magnolia has increasingly disliked China to the point they want ally with the Koreans, their distant kins.

For one thing, the people you talk to in China, you don't get sense of correcly perceiving other countries and their cultures. Well, it's really complicated sentiments. To the west, it's the love and hate, and to countries like India Vietname, it's the disdan mixed with disrespect. All and all, the nationalistic pride runs deep in China. Partly to blame is the political propaganda and partly just the traditional sense of being the elite nation. This is dangerous.

For any rational Chinese interested in making China richer and better, a more proactive and productive way to look at the Inida's launching is to ask why Indians single out China in their statements about the newly acquired capability. And to the leftists in China, war is easy but will it really solve anything? Didn't we have a war with India and Vietnam not long ago, and look, now, how they are perceiving us? Old Chinese adage says it best: one more enemy means one more blocking wall, but one more friend means one more connected road. Chew on that!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The USC shooting

My heart sank when I found out two Chinese USC graduate students were shot dead last Wednesday. Two young lives were taken away randomly just like that, without warning, shot right in their car right in front the house one of them lived in at the time.  . These two, one boy and one girl, were both EE graduate student at SC. This made it more sickening ..., I was a graduate student at USC studying computer science 13 years ago - I was just like them.
Everybody at SC, when I was there, more or less knew the parameters of the so called safety zone. The SC campus, on each side, is surrounded by pretty bad neighborhoods. There is just no other way to describe it. The neighborhoods are bad, projects and old shabby houses occupied mostly by recent migrants from south of the border. You see it and you know violence.  Drugs are prevalent in those neighborhoods. I used to live on Portland street, not far from where the shooting occurred, and I knew back then going out late at night was probably very unsafe. I wish these two young people had known better.
But how can one fault these two poor soul's innocence. I remember a few years back in 2008 I sold my kia to a USC Chinese student then. I helped the kid drive the car to his place after we finished the transaction. I was quite shocked by the location he and other Chinese roommates chose to live. I wouldn't call it safe in any stretch of my imagination. The kid told me that he didn't have much choice and he thought the place should be ok if they are vigilant enough. Aaahhh, innocent kid without much life experience in the US..., they didn't know the risk of being preyed on in a neighborhood like that.
As sad as this news made me, this sort of travesty didn't just happen for the first time in the area. I remember years ago when I lived in the Korean town, a Korean lady was shot dead not far from our apartment at night after her work right in her garage. Except for reporting by the local Korean newspaper, that incident was not as widely publicized, albeit having somewhat similar facts as the instant USC shooting. Other horrible also had happened in the area, rape, gang shooting, etc, etc. Given the area is filled with young USC students, new immigrants all over the world and mostly working class families, it is one of the most complicated places in L.A., which is not a small town.
I so wish the Chinese student that spent $10k on a used BMW would have bought a modest car and used savings to rent a place in a safer place closer to the campus. But, how can one fault innocence! I am sad.