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January 27, 2009

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Jed Yoong

This is your best post on China that I've read so far.

Christopher Adams

I've read some anecdotal evidence that some (perhaps many) in China were offended by one phrase in particular from Obama's inaugural address, namely "Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions." Offense was taken because the People's Republic is still nominally Communist and Obama seemed to be equating Communism with Fascism (although, in our usage, the two words serve as a convenient metonymy for the enemies of the West in WWII and the Cold War).

As you know we've observed that this remark was censored by Chinese broadcasters and media. What is more significant, in my view, is the indignation that this remark apparently aroused among the general public. This makes an argument for engaging with the People all the more crucial.

Alex

There are some good ideas in this post, but it should be said that pandering to the Chinese people, or the Chinese leadership for that matter, is unlikely to get us anywhere. They have very, very short memories. Clinton did that not long ago, and the Chinese man in the street still thinks that the US is public enemy number one. Further back, the US spent time, money and lives helping the Chinese fight the Japanese, yet Chinese people today collectively believe that they did it all themselves and that we are imperialist dogs. The bottom line? Don't waste any energy trying to make friends with "the Chinese people". It's an approach that will never pay any dividends for the American people, and it's the American people that Obama should be looking out for.

Pablo Manriquez

Your idea to have "linguistically talented State Department employees" blog in Chinese seems to me a very good one. This may resonate with the Chinese youth you discuss as so active on the Internet. They are, after all, the generation that grew up expected to learn English as a prerequisite for competing in the global admission/employment market; all the while catering to the American language both at home and abroad.

The only question I have is what would these State Department employees blog about in Chinese? If democracy-engendering propaganda and/or rhetoric against the Chinese system is to censored, then where does this delicate conversation begin?

mahathir_fan

Let's remember that Communism is the ultimate goal here. Free speech or democratic reforms suggestions must show how they will ultimately lead China towards Communism. If you don't show that, **YAWN****

Jia

I suggest anyone who wants to talk about China learn the Chinese language first and then live in China for a while to understand its history and people. There is much more to learn than to comment.

tom bleser, MA, MENSAn

if this goes through I'll know that "URL" does not necessarily refer to a mountain range in Russia not far from sixty degrees east longitude

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