Tag Archives: China

Learning Mandarin via Podcasts

This is a great idea, beautifully implemented:


I like the fact that they’ve broken down the podcasts into newbie, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I especially like their business model: Distribute the podcasts for free, and charge for the additional learning materials.

They have chosen the blog format to present the material, and have made it available for subscriptions via iTunes and comments are open. Not to mention, a fairly attractive site design. Well done, useful, and innovative.

Continued Pot/Kettle Rants

China’s propaganda machine is amazing. Just now I brought down a search for 730 articles from Google News on how China’s leadership has become absolutely hysterical over Taiwan’s dissolution of the useless and non-operational unification council. Most of the articles really do an amazing job of spewing out the Chinese talking points, about how Taiwan is the real danger here, with hardly a mention that China is the one that is threatening war, and that Taiwan only wishes what it already has: Sovereignity and peace.

From: SFGate.com

“The escalated secessionist push of Chen Shui-bian will certainly trigger a serious crisis across the Taiwan Strait and destroy peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” China’s policymaking body warned.

From Chron.com:

China has refused to have any contact with Chen or his pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, and frequently targets both with threatening rhetoric.

Beijing has hundreds of missiles aimed at Taiwan, just 100 miles off its southeastern coast. The mainland holds annual war games that include simulated assaults on offshore islands, and fired missiles into the sea near Taiwan during its 1996 presidential election in an effort to rattle voters.

China has made repeated threats of war and continues to build up it’s miltary in anticipation of a supposed eventual invasion, while at the same time making these outlandish claims that Taiwan is a threat to stability in Asia. The truth of the situation however is that it is China’s intolerance and aggressive stance against Taiwan that is the real threat here. If China were to put aside the tyrannical and fallacious clam of overlordship over Taiwan and respect their sovereign status, we would have no issue at all here. If they were to even put on a smile and attempt a strong strategic partnership instead of outright dominance over the island, they could reap greater rewards.

Imagine that situation for a minute: China removes the threat of war against Taiwan and instead pursues a policy of commonwealth and cooperation with Taiwan. Business would flourish for both sides, without drowning in political threats, just wading through the usual bureaucracies that are inherent in any country-to-country relationship. Less money and time and angst would be spent on the thought of a senseless war. Maybe even a free trade agreement. With one simple change in attitude, the whole situation could turn for the better.


Google China’s Image Search for “Tiananmen”


What the rest of the world sees:



Update: Apparently this is currently pretty easy to defeat. As of this writing they’ve already fixed the “Tiananmen” spelling, but a few random mixed capitalization tests proved that they still have a lot more variations to cover. And misspellings too.

Censorship is so very ugly.

Dave Holland, Jazz in China, and Censorship

The Winnipeg Sun has a clever title for this article though: Spotlight – Holland invaded China – two times

As the Chinese government slowly eased its restrictions on jazz, bassist Dave Holland had a whole new audience to win over.

The communist government banned what it deemed decadent music when it came to power in 1949, driving the once thriving jazz community in places like Shanghai — known as the jazz centre of Asia — underground.

The ban was lifted in the mid- 1980s, and western artists have slowly been allowed to visit the country. Holland has toured the country twice, finding a new generation of die-hard fans getting turned on to the music denied from their parents.

“China is obviously a developing situation. For many years they were denied access to jazz and if caught playing it, you were in trouble. For that reason alone it’s a developing thing, but there’s a dedicated and serious group of people that love the music,” he says.

“It just goes to show you music crosses political borders and geographic borders and touches peoples’ hearts.”

For almost 40 years Holland’s new fans in China had no way of hearing one of the most respected and talented bassists and composers to emerge from the exploding jazz scenes in England and America in the 1960s and ’70s.

Being denied the appreciation of art in any form is a terrible tragedy of censorship, and it makes absolutely no sense. My America is no stranger to this practice – from the historic cases of censoring James Joyce, Henry Miller, and John Steinbeck all the way up to today, the Land of the Free still must struggle to counter the tyranny of thought oppression.