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Author Topic: To criticise or not  (Read 7703 times)

ericthered

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2007, 01:38:17 PM »
Nope, they won't. I had a student, one of the brightest I encountered in China, who had investigated that little turbulent affair in 1989. She said that her father, who apparently was some kind of civil servant, adamantly swore that in 1989 nothing happened and everyone was happy!

The problem with corruption in China is that it permeates every strata of society, from the bottom to the highest echelons, it is quite lucrative and gives some people a lot of power, which would mean that it will be difficult for anyone to rally support for abolishing and fighting corruption. Sad but fact.
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Oscar Wilde.

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"The stars are God's daisy chain" Madeleine Bassett.

Lotus Eater

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2007, 02:54:38 PM »
Protests are growing in both numbers, frequency and violence in the last few years.  And there is a trend to more organised protests as well.
Quote
This policy of enforced silence has come to define the central government’s approach to widespread rural unrest, China’s most salient domestic issue. Fearing that news of land disputes and other civil discontent could fuel a united threat to its authority, the Communist Party government has undertaken one of the biggest media crackdowns since the aftermath of the 1989 T2 pro-democracy demonstrations.

"Mass incidents” is the term the Chinese government uses to describe demonstrations, riots, and group petitioning. In January 2006, the Ministry of Public Security announced that there were 87,000 such incidents in 2005, a 6.6 percent increase over the previous year. Protests over corruption, taxes, and environmental degradation caused by China’s breakneck economic development contributed to the rise.

Just because WE don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't happening!!

And as a percentage of the population - how does that level of protest stack up against the western countries?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2007, 03:02:10 PM by Lotus Eater »

Stil

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2007, 03:31:04 PM »
Some news

 (CNN) -- Eleven public officials were arrested in New Jersey as part of a corruption investigation, the U.S. attorney's office announced Thursday.

State Assemblymen Mims Hackett Jr. and Alfred E. Steele -- both Democrats -- and Passaic Mayor Samuel Rivera are among those arrested, a source in the U.S. attorney's office said.

Also arrested were the chief of staff to the Newark City Council president, two Passaic City Councilmen and five Pleasantville school board members, the source said.

The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey, citing sources close to the investigation, reported that the officials were arrested on bribery charges pertaining to roofing and insurance contracts.

The 18-month investigation, which included undercover operations and secret recordings, focused on officials in Passaic, Essex and Atlantic counties, sources told the newspaper.

The probe targeted school board members, state lawmakers, mayors and city officials, the sources said, according to The Star-Ledger.

U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie and FBI agent Weysan Dun are expected to announce the charges and provide details at a 3:30 p.m. news conference in front of the federal courthouse in Trenton.

Those arrested will begin making appearances before a judge at 2 p.m. Thursday.

The names of those arrested are expected to be released before noon.

woza

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2007, 03:32:55 PM »
Great topic
I don't think the Chinese are as weak and unaware as you may think.  Maybe not as pro active but that is understandable given the restraints on open government.
My Chinese daughter in law had us in stiches the other night giving us a hypothetical. If Chairman Mao wanted to start a revolution  and all the red tape the bribery he would have to pay.
Last month my son and daughter in law bought a digital camera from a famous name store.  There was a problem with the camers and they returned it to the store, the customer service ws terrible.  After 10 days they picked up the camera but it had even worse problems.
So they decided to forget talking to these people and made a placard in Chinese denouncing the store.  The sales staff called security and they said we will call the police.
They backed down they really did not know how to deal with this.  They got their money back.
If you read the Chinese forums you will get a lot more insight into what is really going on. I can't read Chinese but my daughter in law gives me a lot of info.
Lotus you are right I went out for dinner tonight with some students from the hospital and even when I was comparing our different countries I tried to tone it down, you know our medical system is better than yours type of thing.
I felt uncomfotable, in that I may be insulting them so I switched the topic to enemas. We had finished eating at this stage
You know as you do, enemnas down through the ages and the use and beliefs of this practice from Priness Diana down to the Mayans in South America.
Serious teachers out there, it is a great topic.  I digress

Well said LE and Missi and that lovely man that agreed with you both

Martin

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2007, 03:49:57 PM »
Hmmm... criticism, complaining.. I don't really like the word 'complaining'. It sounds too much like 'nagging' to me. One of my students said in her speach to the freshmen: If you don't like it, change it. If you can't change it, change yourself'. I thought it was a little bit corny, but I have to agree with her.

Plagiarism and cheating; who are we kidding? That happens just as much in the west as it happens here. I tell my students what a teacher told me once: Every form of cheating is bad and it is risky. If I catch you cheating, your mark will be a 1 and in your business career consequences will be worse. However, if you can cheat without me catching you, then go right ahead. Maybe you're not good at this exam, but you're good at something else and the world is in need of a wide variety of talents. 

As for personal 'problems', like necessary purched household items the school doesn't want to reimburse, schedule changes and things like that, I always dress my 'complaints' in a relaxed atmosphere, a calm voice and a smile (and persistance). This always works for me.

What surprised me when I first came to China, was "Why the f*** don't the Chinese compain about their situation?" The education system, the corruption, the media, the government.. -I think we can all agree that countries in the west are just as corrupt, China has just perfected the art of corruption-. I used to think to myself, why do students put up with the crap they're being taught? Why don't farmers revolt and insist on a better life? Why do the Chinese put up with this government? (and why does it seem that no one here has an opinion of their own?)
I have come to realise though, that it's not that simple. You are basically a product of your environment and in China that environment is one of no own opinion, no critical thinking and "we have no choice". People just don't know any better. And besides, this system just doesn't have freedom of speech yet. Complain about your job and for you thousands of other Chinese. Complain a little more or about controversial topics and you 'disappear'. There's not much you can do as a Chinese. I (and probably most of us), would rather have a nation of critical thinkers; creative individuals; people who think for themselves. But I also think that -at this point in time- that wouldn't work out very well in a nation like China.
I don't remember who I had this discussion with, but I was thinking out loud 'why not put some heavy machinery into Chinese agriculture to make it vastly more efficient and so that farmers won't have to do this hard and outdated manual labour anymore?'. His/her (sorry, I really can't remember who) reply was: 'because that would put millions of farmers out of work and there are no substitute jobs for them'. I hadn't thought of that, but my guess is that the Chinese government has must have hundreds of moral dillema's like this one.

As for the -western ways are good, Chinese ways are bad-: of course being the arrogant, lecturing foreigner doesn't help and of course it's not that black and white. But... of the two most prosperous cities in China, one is a former British colony (Hongkong) and the other has been partly under foreign rule for a long time as well (Shanghai). So the two richest cities in China are not really Chinese... I think that China can definately benifit from doing things more in a western way.

Our purpose here is not to 'save China and preach the gospel of westernism', but it IS to make the world a better place (at least I'd like to think so. I'm not here solely for my own good). We teachers are not in a position of obvious power, but as some of you have pointed out before me we can do something.
I try to inject as much life lessons, morality, and 'open your mind' into my lessons as I can. But we teach just as much subconsciously and consciously. I received a touching email from one of my students (who wasn't even in one of my classes) that he and his friends learned much more from me than just English. Things I take for granted like open mindedness, a positive look on life, the will to learn and the importance of humor.
This made me realise that we can, should and do teach more than just a language.

I think that through morals and our ways of and views on life, we can change these students' lives and ultimately China, for the better. After all, through our students we touch the future. We don't have to complain about China, we're already changing it.
No such thing as bad weather, just wrong clothing

woza

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2007, 04:21:59 PM »
Interesting post Dutch guy,
I often refer to the differences between Hong Kong and mainland China with my students.  One of my favourite students is a judge and he hates the government and wants to retire in Canada.  He is very well off.  I don't know if he takes bribes. His heart is not in China, to make change, he sees his job as just a job, like a factory worker on an assembly line.
I am only teaching English and if the topic is about politics and whatever, I switch off.  I hate my government and their policies most of all siding  with Bush.  In Chi
na I am just an observer

birddog

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2007, 09:03:20 PM »
China sets up anti-corruption bureau

The Associated Press
September 6, 2007

China has created its first agency to combat corruption, a rampant problem that the country's communist leadership has said is a threat to their rule, state media reported Thursday.

The establishment of the National Corruption Prevention Bureau by the State Council, China's Cabinet, comes as party leaders prepare for a major meeting next month to renew President Hu Jintao's mandate and set policy for the next five years.

Ma Wen, the newly appointed Minister of Supervision, was appointed head of the anti-corruption bureau, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The report did not say how the bureau would function, or whether it would play a role in disciplining corrupt officials. The officials are usually punished by the Communist Party, which has disciplinary commissions at the national and local levels.

More than 97,200 officials were disciplined last year, Xinhua said, citing the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. A vast majority of them failed to carry out their duties, took bribes or violated party financial rules.

Recent corruption cases included that of Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the State Food and Drug Administration. He was executed in July for taking bribes to approve substandard medicines, including an antibiotic that killed at least 10 people.

Another case involved Chen Liangyu, the former party boss of Shanghai, who was kicked out of the Communist Party and removed from all government positions. He was accused in a scandal in which $400 million in pension funds was improperly invested. He also was branded "morally decadent" and a philanderer.




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— Stephen Wright.

old34

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2007, 10:31:12 PM »
Ma Wen, the newly appointed Minister of Supervision, was appointed head of the anti-corruption bureau, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

I wonder how many strings old Ma had to pull to get that plum of a job. afafafafaf
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.

Eagle

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2007, 12:02:36 AM »
Just a quick note on what LE talks about with regards to change.  Read the book, The Hero's Journey (by Moffet and Brown).  It's a small book.  Now back to reading the rest of this thread.  Oh, by the way, for a few years, it was my job to navigate culture change in a few schools as the school principal.  Change is difficult and extremely messy.
“… whatever reality may be, it will to some extent be shaped by the lens
through which we see it.” (James Hollis)

AMonk

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2007, 07:30:47 AM »
  Change is difficult and extremely messy.

And the vast majority of people don't want it and will fight against it tooth and nail....despite what they may say to the contrary, they have to be dragged along kicking and screaming!!
Moderation....in most things...

ybielsalohcin

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2007, 05:52:29 PM »
This is only partially related, but from my blog today:

An article in the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/11/business/worldbusiness/11security.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin) and the IHT today discusses American investment in Chinese companies developing sophisticated surveillance equipment. Because the companies do their technology development in China they're exempt from US export controls, but they're still welcome to take funding from US investors and hedge funds. So, with a $110 million loan from the Citadel group, a Chinese company called China Security and Surveillance Technology is buying up all of its competitors, celebrating each acquisition with a banquet for potential acquisitions and public officials. From the article.

    “When they come, they hear central government officials endorsing us, they hear bankers endorsing us or supporting us, it gives us credibility,” Mr. Yap said. “It’s a lot of drinking, it’s like a wedding banquet.”


While that's a very Chinese way of doing business, the idea of one company buying out all of its competition with money it receives from the US, all the while cozying up to the Chinese government and in effect bribing its remaining competitors, is sickening and scary. In fact the Minister of Public Security is now director of the company, meaning the number of degrees of separation between the US investors and the Chinese government is frighteningly small. China just passed a law restricting monopolies (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cef60ce0-5713-11dc-9a3a-0000779fd2ac.html), and The China Daily recently condemned monopolies (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2007-09/05/content_6081442.htm) as bad for the nation, calling them the major obstacle in the promotion of social interests. I don't know the full story behind this company, but a government minister is in control, the company is consolidating the industry, the competition's bosses are being wined and dined, and unrestricted money is flowing in from Wall Street.


The equipment China Security and Surveillance Technology develops is ostensibly for public safety and crime reduction. Surveillance companies in China point out that the UK has a more sophisticated and extensive camera network already in place, and Manhattan is setting up a similar system, so they argue that we're in no location to criticize. Representative Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, argues that surveillance in China is not the same as surveillance in the West, as China is a one-party state with little to check its actions. Mr. Lantos also plans to investigate “the cooperation of American companies in the Chinese police state.”

I don't like China's government, and I don't like its restrictions on its people, but I'm simply appalled by the idea of Americans directly supporting its worst characteristics. Institutions like the NYT are good at getting attention, though, for example when the UAE wanted to buy a controlling interest in our ports. Hopefully I'm not the only member of the American public who feels this way, and the attention will lead to support for Mr. Lantos and his investigation.

----

Criticizing the way things are done in China is one issue, but I think that we from the West can definitely criticize our own countrymen when they perpetuate or encourage what we see as problems here.

Lotus Eater

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2007, 01:56:03 PM »
One of my post-grads has just returned from a national speech competition in Beijing.  It was a Chinese speech competition (ie spoken in Chinese, therefore judged only by Chinese judges).  The topic was 'What makes a good teacher?"

She spoke of teachers only wanting reputation, so plagiarising papers from overseas, how bad this was and how disrespected those teachers caught doing it were by the student body. What outcome?  She won 3rd place.

One of my Chinese teacher mates today told me how he hands back papers that have unattributed work in them to his students to re-do, another one told me she told her class that the minute they copied something it was completely obvious, and so not to do it.

Times they are achanging.

Eagle

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2007, 05:27:50 AM »
It's called the Lorenz Effect.  As we are present in the lives of our students in China (or elsewhere) we create small ripples of change, ripples that we aren't often aware of ...  And so the world changes ...  It is more than criticising, it is about what we do that gives weight to our words.  Negative criticism destroys, burns bridges.  Constructive dialogue builds bridges which provide avenues for positive change.
“… whatever reality may be, it will to some extent be shaped by the lens
through which we see it.” (James Hollis)

Lotus Eater

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Re: To criticise or not
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2007, 11:30:46 PM »
The difference we make is mostly with our students. With them we can have an impact.  But I don't believe we make too much difference with administration - that difference cones down from on high.

The Chinese Education Ministry knows that much of the world does not trust it's qualifications and is therefore beginning to play the 'fix-it' game.  The Chinese Gov't is offering scholarships for foreign students to study here (subjects other than Chinese), and to gain those students they need to be able to say 'we offer quality education'.

But our students see us weekly, they watch us, they compare with their other teachers and depending on their comfort zone, they take in how we teach, how we act etc.