Friday, October 15, 2010

"Please, keep me as a concubine!"

Chinese campaign against students in desperate need of money!

Isnt' it a bit late?

It started with the sending of messages by mobile phone with cute emoticons. It happens on Chinese universities campus and these mails are sent by potential concubines. Imagine, she is 20, gorgeous, and she wants to be a paid date. The Enjo-kosai 援助交際 (compensating date) of Japan of the 1990's. Same thing in Taiwan.

In today's speedy high-growth China, where luxury replaced the old motto of humanistic awareness, (who dares to use the word revolution?) "it is not uncommon to see a long line of luxury cars or limos in front of universities famous for having pretty girls" writes the commentator-writer Xu Ming of The Global Times, a parent company of governmental Chinese People's Daily in "Campus 'concubines' show victory of money over morals."

Within the annual tuition fees hike in recent years, some of China's famous universities, such as Peking University and Tsinghua University, decided to implement a large increase to MBA tuition fees starting next year, from 5,000 to 30,000 US$. People Daily wrote September 19th

Is it the only reason why students are in dire needs of money? I guess not.

"Unlike ancient concubines who shared a household with the family, ernai (Chinese term used here for Chinese new concubines) is often used to refer to the kept women of older yet rich and powerful married men, their relationship usually kept secret. The women tend to be what you'd expect; young, beautiful gold-diggers. By being "employed" by their sugar daddies, they manage to live a carefree life of luxury. And some of them are college students which are often a favored variety.

There was a time when such things would have ended in jail or in reeducation camp as I saw in the neighborhood of Beijing which gathered prostitutes, petty thieves, drug-addicts and youth without "guanxi" (personal or professional connection).

"Once "hired," these girls tend to be-have rather differently. They are suddenly keen on dressing up and don't care about studying any more."

Description of a process, without much concerns, the paper adds: "While there is nothing illegal about keeping a "concubine" in China, such behavior goes against basic social morals".

We were wondering when the "social pudibonderie" wall would be raised. And now the moral Confucian education knocks at the door of the campus with some reminders: "Money may help them get beauty, but they may be at risk of losing their families, which, unlike the young girls they sleep with, can't be bought with cash."

Although they're still young, the lost time during their golden years is a huge price to pay, the paper carries on with the good question: how to grow the "cultivation of a sense of independence to help students better weigh their life choices?"

Read the story of the Global Times here

According to China watchers and digging into my memory, I think the free way to look at the Chinese garden of pleasure started rather free in 1983 1984. Money had then become the first ideological reference of rising China to the displeasure of the rulers. Well not to all of them.

Now the irony of the story is that the so called "serious" Chinese press such as the Global Times or other Chinese papers entered into a new strategy to get readers on line: They brand lots of pictures of young ladies from China, Asia and the western nations.

Clicking the image may certainly adds the number of pages read but does not really bring here the confirmation of a newspaper editorial quality. Numbers: I was not yet media-born to witness but I remember following stories about this Mao Era bureaucratic passion for erroneous statistics and for "numbers" which drove the country to the great famine of the Great Leap Forward early 60's!

This article-opinion of the GT is not without a political significance, Global Times always produce in-depth analyses of the society and it shows the beginning of a "social campaign" that starts like everything else in China. When it is too late to reverse the trend and might end very very bad.

Maybe not?

Maybe this is an issue that the China's Communist Party is expected to talk about in the 'social affairs' chapter, as we are aware of seeing constant warning campaigns on strangely labeled "moral health" trends. (cash, paid dating, moral stuff?)

Occasion here to remind that today Friday October 15th starts the party annual meeting and on top of the agenda the country's five-year economic plan for 2011 to 2015 and not to forget the political reform calls asked by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, a topic I talked about a few days ago on this blog following the announcement of the Peace Nobel price to the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Xinwei First Levi's Cup Beijing Girl Print Models Contest Finals sponsored by Xinwei magazine was held at Costa Cruises in Shanghai. (Sources: Chinanews)

Sources: Reporter's notes and:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Is Yoshito Sengoku the Japan's Real Prime Minister?

Yoshito Sengoku, Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary (Deputy Prime Minister)

Watching Japanese politics for quite sometime here, this is the question I wanted to ask to Mr. Sengoku when he gave a press conference early July 2010 in Tokyo. Unfortunately, in spite of being recognized by the Chief Cabinet secretary (photo), of raising my arm and hands for... ~50 minutes, standing in front of the moderator at the Foreign Correspondents club head table -- something that of course was object of comments of many of my supporting friends and colleagues who sent me their support by emails etc-- I was harshly and unexpectedly censored on this day of July 7th in my own press club, and, therefore I could not ask this very same intriguing question!

Customary in Japan, how unfortunate if the foreign media sometimes play the same devious hypocritical things as some of their Japanese kisha club counterparts! Something that I, as a Co Chair of the Fccj Freedom of the Press Committee, would have never tolerated even though I know there are important assignments when you moderate an event with a VIP, something I did professionally for the last decade.

Needless to add that regarding the big picture here, Mr Sengoku real function in Japan's democracy, I have not seen much discussions and debate sent in the media abroad about this [crucial] same question following the repeated errors made by current Prime Minister such as in the Senkaku Daioyu islands territorial disputes, the Yen or the Okinawa Futenma issue.

I admit I am very pleased that the Asahi shimbun group today raises the issue in the current daily in English, months after I tried to ask this same question to this powerful power player; especially I quite know of his up and down political career and the relations between Mr Sengoku and former socialists MPs including Mrs. Takako Doi, Mr. Tomiichi Murayama and others.

So, Is current Japanese Prime Minster Naoto Kan a 'lame duck' Prime Minister and is Japan under the thumb of Japan political greatest figure today, the "Number 2", Mr Sengoku? Well... then, this is the question asked today by the influential and demonstrative weekly Aera of the Asahi shimbun media group, and I am most willing to share it with you on this blog because contrary to what happened to me, here are some elements of the answer.


"In a nation desperate for a strong leader, one politician has recently emerged who has demonstrated crisis-management abilities, gained the trust of Cabinet members and now has an effective grip over government. However, that individual is not Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Instead, it was Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku who played the key role in thawing relations with China over the collision between a Chinese trawler and two Japan Coast Guard vessels near the Senkaku Islands..."

Even more:

..."Originally a Diet member from the former Japan Socialist Party, Sengoku chose four former JSP members for Cabinet posts. Other younger appointees were those Sengoku has advised for many years."...

End of quotes. The Susumu Okamoto story in the Asahi Shimbun Weekly AERA story is here:

Supplementary information deals with the same topic in my older posts on this blog. In the 'China Japan territorial dispute', and in 'Asean +3' issues related posts.

Sources: Reporter's notes, Asahi Shimbun

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bretton woods vs 2010 Paper Tigers 纸老虎

Max Gallo, de l'Académie Française (Chair of JF Revel) is a well-known French commentator and the "Immortel" author spills the beans

Few quotes

"We are aiming at the end of a great historical long cycle that started in 1820 after 200 years of western domination. We cannot see, as in the past, if western nations would control the world. [Economical facts do not reflect political reality. Notes of AG]

The IMF chairs of Benelux (Belgium Holland Luxembourg) have more power than China and more than India today in spite of their both impressive weight in international trade and the political affairs. Will the soon coming G-20 Seoul Summit be able to re-balance the chairs of international organizations and global realism according to today reality instead of the 1950's order?

Not that easy to pressure China on the Yuan Renminbi, (after Japan' Yen in the 80's) especially this happens with an EU without diplomacy who just appears as an unbuilt EU conglomerate of non-united countries... and while 4 trillion of $ are traded each day. Will the $ remain as an international currency, what if an international crisis was to happen to the US economy?"

"The youth is courageous and generous to struggle for their future."

End of quotes

To listen to this most informative show with Max gallo as the star of the day

Sources: France Culture, "Esprit Public" 10-10-2010.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

65th Anniversary of Pyongyang's Party! Military parades with Young General Kim Jong Un

North Korean Military Fantasia

Screen picture of Kim Jong Un (L) and Kim Jong Il (R) Kim Jong Un
the DPRK heir joined his father for his first wide public appearance
since announced as North Korea's next leader
Jong Un surrounded by DPRK top military chiefs and his father

Redoubtable DPRK army conduct military parades for celebrations

North Korea is holding an imposing military parade in Pyongyang Square on Sunday morning 10.10.10 for the 65th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, with the 4 stars General leader-in-waiting Kim Jong Un appearing on the square top building VIPs' balcony dressed in plain clothes and not in uniform. The military parade, believed to be the biggest of its kind in the country, is intended to show the continuation of "Songun," the military-first policy advocated by Kim Jong Il beyond generations and a single-minded unity under the leader.

DPRK Missiles

The parade was said to be the nation's largest ever with thousands of troops from every field of North Korea's 1.2 million military forces. Air, Ground, Sea, Hospitals' nurses and heavy equipments, missiles. A parade for the 65th foundation of the DPRK Workers' party showed that Kim Jong Un is surrounded by military heavyweights and introduced for a diplomatic debut. Tonight for the 3rd continuous day, the North Korea capital will proceed with fireworks. North Korea images celebrating 65 years of communist regime rule as follow.

Also an interesting report with Al Jazeera in English aired yesterday:

China's former Public Security Minister 'iron-hand in a velvet glove's Zhou Yongkang attended North Korea Parade on Sunday morning. Zhou is native of Wuxi, Jiangsu Province and a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and will stay in Pyongyang until Monday. He spent most of his career in the oil sector (Liaoning province, Ministry of Petroleum Industry, currently rising star of the party) and replaced Luo Gan, a close to Li Peng, as Minister of Public Security in 2007 as secretary of the CPC Central Commission of Political and Legal Affairs. (AG informed sources)

Zhou Yongkang

Sources: Reporter's Notes, Nkradio, Kyodo, KCNA, Xinhua, Al Jazeera, Youtube