Category Archives: Political

Aasof on Liberal Democracy


This week on Facebook: I never realised that I was living in what is called a Liberal Democracy, I would certainly not connect such a democracy with the Liberal Party here in the UK. It does however appear to be consistent with what one of my Facebook colleagues called Liberal Authoritarianism¹ and is increasingly illiberal. So what is a Liberal Democracy? It seems that even trying to define such a thing as a Liberal State² only succeeds in further dividing a disparate demos.

A fully liberal state is a state in which every citizen has equal rights and liberties, which are as extensive as they could be consistently with all others having the same rights and liberties. In these states this equality of rights and liberties coexists with a considerable socio-economical inequality. This raises questions about the extent to which these states are just and can be called true democracies.  Liberal Democracy

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Aasof on Freedom of Expression (Speech)


This week on Facebook: In the 10th edition of their Democracy Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently reported the worst performance in global democracy since 2010-11 in the aftermath of the global economic and financial crisis. A special focus of this year’s report is the state of media freedom around the world and the challenges facing freedom of speech. The report aims to give a snapshot of democracy worldwide and includes 165 independent states and two territories which cover almost the entire world population.

Five categories are used to score each country: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation, and political culture. Based on around 60 indicators each country is placed into one of four types of regime: “full democracy”, “flawed democracy”, “hybrid regime” or “authoritarian regime”. The Democracy Index regards freedom of expression as essential for democracy to take root and flourish. The quality of democracy in any country may in large measure be gauged by the degree to which freedom of speech prevails. Societies that do not tolerate dissent, heresy and the questioning of conventional wisdom cannot be “full democracies”. Read more of this post

China & Migration


This week on Facebook:  Some weeks a back an acquaintance in the USA sent me a link to What Happens When an MBA Student Raised in Communist China Reads Hayek. While the article presents a very biased view (particularly towards the USA), it does go some way to explain the explosive rise in China’s economic growth. Perhaps it isn’t known how the Hayek doctrine of economics influences Chinese communist party thought but I’m sure that it does, especially the economic views of Xi Jinping. One thing remains certain: The Peoples Republic of China is founded on a Constitution that is vastly different from the of the United States of America, notwithstanding the economic views of Hayek. Read more of this post

Democracy in Tibet?


This week on Facebook: It could be thought odd, even hypocritical, that NATO (as led by the USA) is so selective and clearly so inept at using military force to spread democracy. Democracy, it now appears, being as inconsequential to the USA as it is to communist China! Tibet was invaded by China in 1950, the Tibetan government in Lhasa appealed for help to both Britain and the United States (both NATO members) but non was given.

The Free Tibet campaign still has many adherents, unlike last week’s post ‘Democracy in Xinjiang‘ when the USSR’s loyalties switched to Chairman Mao and the Russians helped the communist People’s Liberation Army recapture Uighur East Turkestan. In 1949 East Turkistan  became Xinjiang when it was once again integrated into Communist China. China’s expansion westward is reminiscent of Japan’s reasons for its empirical expansion during world war II. To the Chinese, there is the added dimension of interpreting their cultural history and the memory of the humiliation inflicted on China by western economic and military hegemony in Asia. Read more of this post

A law to cure!


Sunday on Facebook: My wife’s paper has just arrived with the self congratulatory front page headline of, New Law To Tackle Moped Muggers. I wasn’t aware that we needed a new law, I thought that such people were already breaking the law. The problem seems to be in apprehending those responsible for breaking the law. Making new laws brings no comfort to my wife who now imagines a mugger being every moped rider and is now pressurising me to install more home security.

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Democracy in Xinjiang?


This week on Facebook: Last week I  wrote about Political Meritocracy & Authoritarian Democracy and would that global politics could be divided neatly between ‘the political good and the political bad’. One of the problems in trying to write objectively is that of history and the version of it that people choose to believe in. The justification for any conflict by one State with another is set by the victor in any conflict, in reality the contemporaneous reasons for conflicts are always subject changes driven by politics. These are used to disguise the economic and political justifications behind the conflict, with the victor and the vanquished each presenting their own version to it.

Such was the case when I wrote about the 2011 conflict in Libya — Sticks and Stones and looking back even further the 2003 conflict in Iraq that I wrote about in A Chilcot Retort! Both conflicts initiated by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), whereby 29 North American and European countries signed a 1949 treaty to constitute a collective defence in response to an attack by any external party.

China’s actions in Xinjiang illustrates the power written into the constitution of the State and the significance that freedom of expression contributes to a democracy. Regardless of the State constitution it’s clear the all States propagate disinformation and it is only a constitutional right to freedom of expression that can exposes it and its initiators.

 


China has turned Xinjiang into a police state like no other: Kashgar, the largest Uighur city, has four camps, of which the largest is in Number 5 Middle School. A local security chief said in 2017 that “approximately 120,000” people were being held in the city. In Korla, in the middle of the province, a security official recently said the camps are so full that officials in them are begging the police to stop bringing people.

Xinjiang Authorities Subsidise Uighurs to Relocate to Han Districts of Urumqi: As part of a bid to promote ethnic “friendship” and stability following his appointment in August 2016, Xinjiang party chief Chen Quanguo initiated a new “become relatives” policy in October which aimed to assign a Han Chinese “relative” to each Uyghur household who would monitor the family’s adherence to Chinese rule and report its activities to the authorities.

China created a new terrorist threat by repressing secessionist fervour in its western frontier: In the 1940s, the Uighurs enlisted the help of the Soviet Union to create a separatist state, called the East Turkestan Republic. As close cultural and ethnic cousins of the Uighurs, the Turkish lent a hand in the administrative and cultural shaping of the republic. It didn’t last; five years later, the USSR’s loyalties switched to Chairman Mao, and the Russians helped The Communist People’s Liberation Army recapture the nascent state. In October 1949, East Turkestan was absorbed into Communist China.

Terror threats transform China’s Uighur heartland into security state: China says it faces a serious threat from Islamist extremists in this far Western Xinjiang region. Beijing accuses separatists among the Muslim Uighur ethnic minority there of stirring up tensions with the ethnic Han Chinese majority and plotting attacks elsewhere in China. A historic trading post, Kashgar is also central to China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative, President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign and economic policy involving massive infrastructure spending linking China to Asia, the Middle East and beyond.

On Uighurs, Han, and general racial attitudes in China: Your mentioning the sign [“Han Chinese only”] in Xinjiang provides half the question.  It’s pretty obvious why the Uighurs are angry, but that doesn’t explain why Han Chinese in Xinjiang are angry. I think that if you see this simply as a majority group trying to crush a minority group, then you miss the fact that the average Han Chinese in Xinjiang probably feels as oppressed and repressed as the Uighurs, and since they are competing for the same pool of jobs.  Just because you are Han Chinese doesn’t mean that you are going to be in the Politburo.


Referenced Articles & Books: A book or pdf (usually free), or simply a url that may sometimes link to a download that is also usually free. Sometimes a link to JSTOR is used, this lets you set up a free account allowing you to have 6 (interchangeable) books stored that you can read online.

Han Migration to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: Between State Schemes and Migrants’ Strategies (JSTOR): Post-1949 Han migration to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China is a hotly debated issue among Xinjiang scholars as well as among the population of the region itself. While it is often discussed as a large-scale historical process using statistical data, in this article I argue for a more differentiated view of Han migrants. I demonstrate that in the popular discourse, migrants are distinguished into numerous categories like Bingtuaners, Profit-Driven Migrants, Border Supporters, Qualified Personnel, Educated Youth and others. Accordingly, I argue that Han migrants to Xinjiang should not be understood as a homogeneous category of participants in a singular state project intended to establish state control over the region. High return rates demonstrate that state attempts to make Han migrants settle in Xinjiang are only partly successful and that migrants follow their own strategies when the situation permits, rather than fulfill the government’s plans. Individuals who have migrated since the 1980s are especially careful in their assessment of the economic incentives of settlement and many decide to remain mobile.

Political Meritocracy & Authoritarian Democracy


This week on Facebook: Last week Murray N. Rothbard wrote in the introduction to La Boetie’s Discourse that, How can a free and very different world be brought about? How in the world can we get from here to there, from a world of tyranny to a world of freedom? This prompted me to republish the following quotation made fifty-seven years ago by Aldous Huxley at  Berkely University:

It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude. (Aldous Huxley – Berkeley 1962)

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Lessons in Mandarin


Sunday on Facebook: Last week I posted a video from an interview with Zhang Weiwei on his book ‘The China Wave’ and an article from Zhang Weiwei on ‘Meritocracy versus Democracy’. They were both very informative, especially in promoting the idealism of the Chinese meritocratic system of government. I concluded that public administration in a meritocratic system of government differs very little from that of a demos driven democratic system, the differences lying in their notional definitions  democracy.

Written four years ago the following reprise is not entirely tongue in cheek but may well represent my innate cynicism that irrespective of the politics represented ‘mandarin‘, is not the purview of the Chinese. The following ‘Lessons in Mandarin’, may point to the inscrutability and clear consciousness of all (supposedly meaningful) exchanges.

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The Silk Road Scramble


This week on Facebook: To my mind it is clear that global hegemony, both politically economically and militarily, is what the Chinese expect gain from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Until now known as the OBOR (One Belt One Road) initiative, its threat to Western Democracy should not be underestimated. ‘Crises and chaos’ is how the State media in China Xinhua described Western democracy.

China has absolutely no need to import the failing party political systems of other countries. 2017 Communist Party Congress.

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Nanny State UK


The inexorable rise of the Nanny State explains the raison d’être of the political class. The sentiments expressed below in The Traveller; or, a Prospect of Society  are particularly true today. Although written by Oliver Goldsmith in 1764, the law has increasingly become a vehicle for restraint by the State¹·²·³.

In every government, though terrors reign,
Though tyrant kings, or tyrant laws restrain,
How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!

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The Land Is Ours

a Landrights campaign for Britain

The Bulletin

This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

TCWG Short Stories

Join our monthly competition and share story ideas...

The Real Economy

Blogs and stuff from Ed Conway

Public Law for Everyone

Professor Mark Elliott

Bleda

Am I my Brothers keeper?

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