Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.

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Blogger in China

A Blogger’s Editorial Wish-List

I’ve been editing and publishing the daily China Confidential Weblog for almost a year, positioning it as a kind of blog of record, with a focus on news reporting and analysis. During this time, I’ve become increasingly aware of how little most of us really
know about contemporary China.

The Western media has begun to discover the dark side of China’s economic ascent, including the plight of the left-behind rural poor and urban underclass–the so-called migrant workers barely surviving in the belly of the boom. But more, much more, needs to be done in the way of serious reporting. For the most part, puffery still rules; and there are glaring holes in the story of China’s rise–arguably the most important development of our time–that cry out for coverage.

Here, then, are a few ideas for articles I would love to publish–or at least read.

1.  The Left Opposition. Is it marginally or materially important? Within the ruling Communist Party, how many officials and intellectuals lean leftward? Is there an underground leftwing opposition of significant size and substance? If a movement like
this exists, what, if anything, is known about its ideology and platform?

2.  The Military. What drives Beijing’s scary military buildup? Do military leaders tend toward a particular political point of view? Is their loyalty assured? Can they be counted on to defend the regime in the event of widespread social instability? How do they view the United States? Do they believe the US is trying to contain China?

3.  Taiwan. What are China’s real intentions toward the breakaway island that it officially regards as a renegade province? Is there a high likelihood of war with Taipei, or is Beijing bluffing when it vows to use force if necessary to prevent it from formally moving
toward statehood? What are the triggers–the (pardon me) red lines–certain to spark a cross-Strait conflict? In the event of war, would Beijing settle for pulverizing Taiwan’s cities and military bases with waves of missile attacks, or would it also attempt an invasion and occupation of the island? Could Taiwan resist long enough for US and
international intervention to possibly save it? Do Chinese leaders seriously believe such intervention–theoretically capable of leading to a nuclear exchange–would actually be forthcoming?

4. Japan. How controlled or manipulated were last year’s anti-Japanese riots and protests? Who was behind these events? Why? Does the government have the
power to start and stop the demonstrations at any time? To what extent is China’s enmity toward Tokyo really directed at its superpower protector and ally, the US?

-Editor, China Confidential (aka Confidential
Reporter)
http://chinaconfidential.blogspot.com

Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.

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Bill Belew

Bill Belew

Daddy and Christian.

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  • Thank you for commenting. China’s rulers apparently believe the US is bent on containing China’s rise, despite US claims to the contrary. They also believe the US has successfully enlisted Japan in the containment project, though the US-Japan relationship is more complex and nuanced than one would imagine. But the riots and demos served another external purpose: testing foreign reaction to strikingly aggressive Chinese acts. Beijing knows foreign leaders see what we see–control and manipulation–in the events. The issue is how the events play overseas, who objects and who does not and how loudly and effectively are the objections.

  • Thank you for commenting. China’s rulers apparently believe the US is bent on containing China’s rise, despite US claims to the contrary. They also believe the US has successfully enlisted Japan in the containment project, though the US-Japan relationship is more complex and nuanced than one would imagine. But the riots and demos served another external purpose: testing foreign reaction to strikingly aggressive Chinese acts. Beijing knows foreign leaders see what we see–control and manipulation–in the events. The issue is how the events play overseas, who objects and who does not and how loudly and effectively are the objections.

  • panasianbiz says:

    Is this paranoia that the Chinese show evidenced in other tangible ways? From 6000 miles away the Chinese rulers seem to be trying to play western games (do business/international relationships) by western standards. But you seem to think there is an underlying mistrust yet.
    If that is so, how can we (I) see that from where I sit in pleasant Northern CA? Can you pinpoint indicators we might look for?

    As for Japan-US nuances – we mustn’t forget the Chinese-Japanese past. The Chinese HATE the Japanese and will for a long long time.

    Is it possible the Japanese riots were/are just an eruption of that underlying hatred and nothing more?

  • panasianbiz says:

    Those are great points.

    I have a blog planned for today or tomorrow about China’s ‘Web Cops’.

    So, what do you think can be done – I know there is no easy answer – to alleviate the distrust that still exists.

    Discussion in places like this can be helpful.

    Do you have any other practical ideas?

  • Thank you. Please check out our posting this week on the Internet cops searching fcr signs of subversive activity on the Left (a matter of snooping rather than blocking). As for specific suggestions, given the fawning attitude of giant US companies supplying the filtering technology (Cisco and Microsoft) and collaborating in the censorship and snooping (Yahoo and Google), I’m afraid real change requires political reform, which China’s rulers are resisting.

  • panasianbiz says:

    But, can’t collaboration (Yahoo and Google)be a stepping stone? Don’t we need to have some interaction before we can have full interaction? Isn’t there a need to do something to establish trust? Share technology?

    Or do you think this is a sign of acquiesing to the Chinese? Should political change come first or will it come as a result of cooperation?

    I guess I have more questions than answers now.

  • Ellen Weber says:

    recently I taught an MBA course on ethics in China, and business leaders taking that class showed me another angle.

    After each chapter of our text I asked MBA students (who were also successful business leaders in many cases) to ask and answer ethical questions that impact China.

    Questions and responses blew my thinking out of the water.

    It left me with the realization that we’d be better off if we created roundtables (much like fireside chats) across cultures where we learn from as much as we teach others who lead.

    What do you think of that possibility to create a better way across the pond?

  • panasianbiz says:

    Communication is key. If we are not communicating by whatever, any means, we are not going to understand one another.

  • Ellen Weber says:

    … interesting …

    it’s true — communication is so the key and yet when we get it right the results can be so rewarding! Thanks for getting it right so often Bill!

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