Archive for January, 2010

China’s future history not actually set in stone

January 27, 2010

A photograph taken by Chinese media outlet China Daily at the recent Copenhagen summit:

Apparently they picked this pic because it kinda looks like Obama is bowing to Wen Jia Bao.

The author of a recent NYTimes article suggested that the global financial crisis has catapulted China into a new leadership role in the world economy — it has essentially “fast forwarded history.” What’s interesting here is the rhetoric; it’s presumed that China was always already going to continue its “peaceful rise” to super power-dom.

Maybe that was just an unfortunate turn of phrase, but I think it also reflects the dominant point of view these days. I don’t want to write an essay about it, I just want to inject a few notes of skepticism: asset bubble, civil unrest, falling value of the dollar, Xinjiang separatism, demographic crisis, energy security, Taiwan, environmental degradation, coming leadership shift, decaying Leninist political structure…

It is actually a good article, and it even quotes from one of my professors! But China is facing a lot of unknowns, any one of which could/should make the popular narrative on China’s future global dominance somewhat more problematic.

Leaving for China makes Tai Shan a Saaaad Panda

January 8, 2010


(This photo, lifted from a DCist article, was taken by dc.John)

Christ, it’s so sad!

I wondered whether or not this photo should warrant a blog post of its own…but statistics indicate that the VAST majority of visitors to this blog are folks who, for one reason or another, are scouring the internet for a picture of a smiling orangutan, another emotionally evocative exotic animal. One does wish to please one’s reading public, so here we have the star attraction of the National Zoo looking kind of miserable. Aww.