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Chinese Nobel Winner's Wife Detained 289

Posted by timothy
from the cutting-off-prime-source-of-nobel-gossip dept.
suraj.sun writes with word (snipped from CNN) that censoring the news of Liu Xiaobo's Nobel prize wasn't enough for the government of China; now, Liu's wife "has been detained in her apartment in Beijing, China, and is not allowed to see people or use her telephone, a human rights group citing her attorney said Sunday. The woman, Liu Xia, has not been charged with a crime, said Freedom Now, a US-based group. 'Liu Xia is under enormous pressure,' said Dr. Yang Jianli, a member of Liu Xiaobo's defense team and a human rights specialist with Freedom Now. 'We hope that world leaders will immediately condemn this shameful act by the Chinese government and urge Liu Xia's immediate and unconditional release.'"
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Chinese Nobel Winner's Wife Detained

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  • China... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:54PM (#33852704)

    ...the country of honour.

    • by Cytotoxic (245301) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @03:51PM (#33853986)

      Here's what the man himself had to say about his wife on the eve of his conviction: [typepad.com]

      Ask me what has been my most fortunate experience of the past two decades, and I’d say it was gaining the selfless love of my wife, Liu Xia. She cannot be present in the courtroom today, but I still want to tell you, my sweetheart, that I'm confident that your love for me will be as always. Over the years, in my non-free life, our love has contained bitterness imposed by the external environment, but is boundless in afterthought. I am sentenced to a visible prison while you are waiting in an invisible one. Your love is sunlight that transcends prison walls and bars, stroking every inch of my skin, warming my every cell, letting me maintain my inner calm, magnanimous and bright, so that every minute in prison is full of meaning. But my love for you is full of guilt and regret, sometimes heavy enough hobble my steps. I am a hard stone in the wilderness, putting up with the pummeling of raging storms, and too cold for anyone to dare touch. But my love is hard, sharp, and can penetrate any obstacles. Even if I am crushed into powder, I will embrace you with the ashes....

      More quotes and commentary can be found here [reason.com]. I think the Nobel committee may have accidentally found a worthy peace prize recipient for a change.

  • Tipping Point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:01PM (#33852738)
    I really wonder if any line exists that the Chinese government can cross that will result in action taken against them by other countries and their own citizens.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Action? What action? The international community is shit scared of China, and the citizens of China are shit scared of China too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I think you'll actually find that the citizens of China think their government is doing a fantastic job, if they remember what life was like 15-25 years ago.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Alan R Light (1277886)

          China is, in fact, doing a fantastic job. That is not to say that they have arrived at a fair and free society yet - not by far. They still have much farther to go, but they have already come a long way.

          The Chinese people, much like the American people, have been fed nationalistic propaganda and are inclined to believe it. The educated classes usually know better than to take that propaganda at face value but still love their country.

          That said, there is still widespread dissatisfaction with the Chine

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gtall (79522)

        I'm not sure if the citizens are all that scared. I don't think they trust their government, but they appear to be quite nationalistic. The majority are likely to think that social harmony trumps civil liberty and that a foreign entity threatening that by appearing to insert themselves into internal Chinese affair isn't welcomed.

        It is possible that the Chinese government will overplay the "foreign influence" angle. After all, this is a government that gets their bloomers in a knot when the Falun Gong do bal

    • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vux984 (928602) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:03PM (#33852768)

      Military invasion of a 1st world western country.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lennier1 (264730)

        The Chinese just need to withdraw the money they've put into western assets and which they lent to the west to finance our national debts.
        No need to waste a single bullet since there are better ways to devastate the western world in one stroke.

        • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Informative)

          by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:38PM (#33853014) Homepage
          Seven percent of US national debt is all China holds. They need us a lot more than we need them, at least for now.
          • by lennier1 (264730)

            Have them stop all export shipments to the west as well and the damage is done.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by hedwards (940851)
              Not really, almost all of what they produce can be sourced elsewhere. They'd end up hurting themselves far more than they hurt us. The things which we really need are pretty much all produced by somebody else. Oil is mainly Canada and OPEC, food is mostly ourselves.

              Same goes for trying to pull out their money too quickly. It would definitely be a case of MAD, they'd end up hurting us, but they'd end up hurting themselves worse. The US still has the production capacity to fix the problem, it would just be
            • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Insightful)

              by germansausage (682057) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:07PM (#33853248)
              Then the companies that buy from China and sell to us would get their goods from Vietnam or Malaysia or Thailand or someplace else. China has a lot of cheap labor, but they don't have a monopoly. Also if China stops shipping to the West all their factories close and you suddenly put 300 million people out of work. The Chinese government is far more afraid of the social unrest that would cause than they are of Western criticism of their human rights record.
          • by Stargoat (658863)

            Nonsense. Europe and the US could just declare all debt held by China null and void. Frankly, the western markets might like it.

            It's just ink on paper. People forget that.

            • by Stargoat (658863)

              And I just read that more thoroughly. Bleh.

            • by Anaerin (905998)
              The US tried that once before, with the Japanese. In retaliation, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.
        • And in doing so utterly wreck their own economy. It would suck for the West but we're still much better positioned to survive such a storm. What is keeping the Communists in power these days is the rising middle class, and the promise to the hundreds of millions of impoverished Chinese that they too will someday enter that group. To do as you suggest would be to create a level of chaos not seen in China since the Cultural Revolution, and I honestly wonder how many of those middle class would stand for th

        • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Interesting)

          by smallfries (601545) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:59PM (#33853180) Homepage

          What makes you think that would hurt us more than them?

          The Chinese deliberately hold vast amounts of western debt to artificially strengthen the dollar against their own currency. If they withdraw that money then the dollar sinks and their currency rises. All of a sudden Chinese goods become much more expensive in all of their main markets. And all it does is cause the yield to increase on bonds. Hardly the devastation that you claim.

          • by mickwd (196449)

            The Chinese deliberately hold vast amounts of western debt...

            Then perhaps we shouldn't deliberately sell it to them then?

            • The part of the sentence that you didn't quote provided the meaning for "deliberately". Why do you think that selective quoting allows you to make a strawman?

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by AK Marc (707885)
              We don't. We sell it to the highest bidder. They deliberately buy it over other securities because of some other factors. And even if we made it illegal for them to buy it, they still would and there's nothing we could do about it.
        • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Insightful)

          by couchslug (175151) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:41PM (#33853500)

          Why does this continue to come up?

          We can nationalize their assets if they begin economic warfare. We can do anything we have the physical power to do, and that bears reminding. Laws are technical conveniences for maintaining social stability during ordinary conditions.

          If laws are inconvenient, we can change or ignore them because force trumps law. Law is not a suicide pact. Enemies don't deserve protection of law, so we can choose not to protect them if there is sufficient public support. We can do anything enough of us want to do within the limits of our economic, military, and other capabilities.

          We restrain ourselves with law (ALL law = restraint) because we expect benefit from doing that.

        • In that you are wrong, but only for the wrong reason. Actually, what we SHOULD do is simply cut them off - no mroe trade relations with china, and nullify our debt. Because their currency is so dependant upon OURS, if we undo the damage done by Nixon in the 70's their nation would face a vastly reduced market for their goods, widespread unemployment, and a crash of their currency. Wal-Mart would be seriously fucked for a while, but they'd quickly adapt by moving all that production to Mexico - which would

        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @03:35PM (#33853854)

          Is is treasury securities of various kinds. Bonds, notes, bills, whatever. Go have a look on their site if you are curious, they'll tell all about all the kinds of stuff that you can buy. That's how you get yourself some US debt, if you wish to own it. You purchase treasury securities. Anyone can do it, they even have an easy setup to let individuals do it for small amounts. Now then if you look at that you'll notice three important things:

          1) This debt is purchased for a fixed time. The shortest is a 4 day t-bill, the longest is a a 30-year bond. You receive payment on a fixed schedule. For many securities, you pay a discount price (some amount less than the face value) and then receive the value at the end of the term. For others, they pay interest at defined times and you receive your principal at the end. There is no provision for "calling the loan due." You can't say "I want all the money now." It pays when it pays, that is how that stuff works. The only way to cash out early is to sell your securities to someone else. Of course you'd have to sell them for less than their value, to make it worth it.

          2) You don't actually get anything. You don't receive an actual paper copy of anything. All that happens is an entry is made in their computers saying you own a certain amount of securities. You can't take them and hide them, or trade them without the government knowing. They have control over it.

          3) They pay in US dollars. Doesn't matter what currency you like, they are bought and sold in US dollars. Also it is a fixed amount. A note might pay $10,000. What that $10,000 is actually worth in purchasing power is not guaranteed. Should the value of the dollar tank, so do the value of your securities. Even if the reason for the tank is the government inflating the currency, only a few special ones like TIPS are indexed to inflation. The rest pay what they pay.

          Now this means that if China tried to use their securities as weapons, it'd have severe consequences for them. Even if the US did nothing, they'd take a massive hit. You dump a trillion in US securities on the market and that'll massively depress the price. They'd have to sell them dirt cheap, way less than they paid. Means they'd be losing massive amounts of money. However the US might not play nice. They might declare that is was war, and in war they can freeze assets. They say "All these securities are worthless now, they can't be traded." Basically, they just write off the debt. It is all stored in their computers anyhow. All they have to do to succeed at that is convince the other debt holders it is ok. So long as everyone else, the pension plans, the other nations, etc that own US securities say "Yep, we are happy, we are convinced you'll only do this to China because they are assholes and not to us, we'll still buy your stuff," then they are fine.

          Owning US debt does NOT give China the ability to bust the US economy at will. In fact it puts China in a position of relying on the US. A non-trivial amount of their wealth is tied up in US securities, which are worth something only so long as the US dollar is. If they screw over the US, they would lose a bunch of their assets, not to mention trade. That would be rather disastrous for them.

          In the long term they can disassociate themselves. They can stop buying securities and slowly sell what they've got or just wait for it to mature and take the cash. However to try and do it quickly and disruptively would be worse for them than the US. At best, it would cause havoc in the US and massive damage in China. At worst, the US would simply null the debt and stop trading with them causing little trouble in the US and ruin in China.

          • by eddy (18759) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:37PM (#33854268) Homepage Journal

            You are right in most of what you wrote, but I must take issue with this:

            >At worst, the US would simply null the debt and stop trading with them causing little trouble in the US and ruin in China.

            If you think that would cause "little trouble in the US" then I think you're extraordinarly naive. The Economy of the World of built on trust, if the US were to say "screw you, we won't honor our oblications wrt US treasury bonds"... let's just say the ramifications would be extraordinarily bad for the US and the world. But mostly for the US.

            Also, given the recent CDO fiasco, I wouldn't dare speak of the US vs China relation in such simplistic terms as "We owe them so much it's their problem".

          • by emt377 (610337) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:40PM (#33854284)

            They say "All these securities are worthless now, they can't be traded." Basically, they just write off the debt. It is all stored in their computers anyhow. All they have to do to succeed at that is convince the other debt holders it is ok. So long as everyone else, the pension plans, the other nations, etc that own US securities say "Yep, we are happy, we are convinced you'll only do this to China because they are assholes and not to us, we'll still buy your stuff," then they are fine.

            This isn't realistic in any way or shape; there's really no way to clearly distinguish securities owned by a Chinese bank from ones owned by a Russian or French bank - while owners are registered they get pooled and layered globally. The securities will become part of global funds, which have investors outside China; they're used to guarantee loans for investments in China for foreign businesses; they're flat out pooled in global index funds; and they're even used a payment. I don't think Russians would appreciate not getting paid for oil because the U.S. suddenly eliminated China's main means of payment. There's no way to destroy one country's economy without destroying everyone's economy - this should be pretty clear from the U.S. banking troubles which dragged down banks everywhere. Part of this stems from investments effectively having become liquid assets; I can today liquidate stock quicker, easier, and cheaper than I can get currency from the nearest ATM! It's all effectively cash. The other issue worth considering is that much of Chinese infrastructure is actually owned by U.S. investors and corporations, which means our economic well being is tied to theirs. It's worth keeping in mind here that income from foreign investments is not considered part of the trade balance or GDP (it's accounted for in the country where the return was produced). So these two metrics don't tell the whole story.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Martin Blank (154261)

        China was never a part of the First World. That was aligned with the US and NATO. The Second World was aligned with or influenced by the USSR (basically the Communist nations), which included China. The Third World was made up of pretty much everyone else.

        These days, the UN Human Development Index is more often used to categorize countries, and China falls into the range of medium human development, coming in 92nd out of 182 nations and regions included.

        China has some modern cities, but much of the count

        • Sheer military numbers and size of the country would make life difficult even for multiple nations invading, possibly to the point of defeat. At the very least,

          Indeed, wasn't it Stalin who said something to the effect of, "quantity has a quality all its own"? Of course, why would anyone, least of all the US want to invade China? They have no oil and the rare earths and coal that they do have are equally or more abundant here in the United States. Leave the mess in China for the Chinese to clean up.

      • The Chinese are wholly incapable of beating the United States Navy in a blue water conflict. They know this and so do we. An invasion of the US Homeland by the Chinese, at least for now, is a logistical impossibility. Besides, the Chinese have no need to engage us militarily. They do whatever they wish in Africa and elsewhere while the Europeans and Obama here in the United States politely admonish them, but do nothing to stop them.
    • Citizens of China either,

      1. Love China
      2. Are afraid of China

      Other countries either:

      1. Love China (money machine)
      2. Are afraid of China and its allies (Russia)

      Answer to your question is yes, but it's so far away that China will likely be invaded by aliens long before they cross it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721)

        Russia hasn't been a meaningful ally of China since the 1950s, and they have fought at least one undeclared war. As well, with Siberia being so heavily depopulated and a lot of Chinese moving into these areas, I think another Sino-Russian conflict can't be too far away. The Chinese are obviously eying the vast and largely untapped resources of Siberia and it's hard to look at the recent large number of Chinese migrants to that area as anything other than a colonization effort.

      • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DDLKermit007 (911046) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:26PM (#33853388)
        Actually you forgot a number 3. Chinese citizens are even more apathetic than Americans to their government. As long as problems do not affect them DIRECTLY, they do not care. It's really common among my friends who are from there.
    • Re:Tipping Point (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cf18 (943501) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:24PM (#33853378)
      Liu is going to love reading this when he get out of jail - he advocates peaceful reform but all you guys can talk about is war and violent uprising. It is like you guys are trying really hard to prove the Chinese government is right to lock him up - that his ideas are actually dangerous.
    • Detention without representation nor charges.. what's next, property seizures without court decisions ? where do they think they are ? the US ?

    • Becoming Communist.

    • I really wonder if any line exists that the Chinese government can cross that will result in action taken against them by other countries and their own citizens.

      Norway, the country who hands out the peace price, covertly tortures citizens who talk about NATOs many false-flag terror operations. Norway is not alone. China can do as China pleases as long as the regimes in the west are scared that China will point the finger back at the west if they push too hard. Look at the situation with the Internet censorship in China, Chinas best argument for doing what they are doing is that "Well, other countries, like Denmark and Australia, also censors their Internets".

    • by MasaMuneCyrus (779918) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:59PM (#33855036)

      Between the Liu Xiaobo, his wife, and the Nobel issues, its increasingly aggressive stance in US military talks, its now clearly-visible use of de facto economic sanctions (let alone their petty sanctions, like canceling concerts and tourism) to solve political issues (e.g., Senkakus; coming up next will be the South China Sea), its claim of the entire South China Sea as a "core interest", its generals violent, angry, disrespectful rants to US diplomats and US military generals during talks, its ambassadors literally screaming at US ambassador about Taiwan arms sales (as if they're anything new?), its siding with North Korea in the Cheonan sub incident, its often-siding with Iran even as Russia goes against Iran, its harassment of all regional neighbors (Japan, India, and all of ASEAN... find one country near China that doesn't border issues with China, more often than not severe border issues), its very "coincidental" purchase of tons of Japanese bonds just as Japan was trying to weaken the yen, its reactor sales to Pakistan, its excessively predatory trade practices (you're a high-tech company that wants to do business in China? You'd better be willing to give domestic Chinese companies your technology), its industrial espionage (Everyone spies on everyone, but the CIA does not spy on Japan and give Ford technology secrets. China doesn't have this moral dilemma, however), its threatening maneuvers, war games, and military actions against regional powers (especially US, South Korea, and Japan), its dishonest military practices (this seems like a weird thing to say, but China literally has fleets militarized civilian fishing boats [strategycenter.net] so that it can claim that innocent citizens are being targeted if there is an armed conflict. I'm pretty sure the Western Powers don't do this. This is another reason Tokyo takes the fishing inside of its borders so seriously.)... Between all of these issues and so many more, China has already crossed the tipping point.

      - The government of Japan is using all of its spare budget for this year to invest in rare earth metal mines in Mongolia and abroad while Japanese companies are pumping R&D money into negating the need for rare earth metals at all. The United States is also pushing to restart its rare earth mining operations.

      - The Japanese Self Defense Forces has asked for a budget to study the possibility of setting up a permanent base on Yonakuni island -- an island 100 km from Taiwan. And, of course, where there are Japanese forces, there are inevitably US forces.

      - The Japanese and US military are staging some war games to simulate a hostile Chinese military takeover of the Senkaku Islands so that they can prepare strategies to take the islands back by force.

      - ASEAN has de facto agreed to begin setting up a bloc to contain and push back against increasingly aggressive and greedy Chinese hegemony and demands in the region. They are also asking the US to come back into this and re-assert its power in Asia. This has led to some very unusual alliances (US-Vietnam military alliance? wtf?). Because of China's aggressiveness, quite literally every rising or current Asian country (except China, of course), is gravitating back towards the US geopolitical sphere of influence.

      - The Taiwanese public can only handle so much of their national image and sovereignty eroded and humiliated before they expect China to actually do something (like remove the 1500+ missiles aimed at their homes), and that tipping point is rapidly approaching (President Ma's popularity is tanking like Bush's was).

      - The US is being increasingly aggressive against the Chinese yuan and their many, many, many other predatory and unfair trading practices (though to be fair to China on this one, the US's demands of an immediate yuan revaluing of +25% would be insanely destabilizing; I assume the US just set the bar high to give room to bargain downwards).

      -

  • Is anyone surprised? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the linux geek (799780) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:02PM (#33852750)
    Why does the mainland Chinese government get better treatment from the "free world" than any other petty dictatorship? They've repeatedly shown that they aren't prepared to act in a respectable manner, so why should they get respect?
    • by MRe_nl (306212) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:07PM (#33852800)

      Yeah, what with all the abductions of suspects from foreign countries, secret detention camps, torture and whatnot they should definitely be blacklisted by all civilised nations.

      • by clang_jangle (975789) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:24PM (#33852914) Journal
        And they spy on their own citizens -- savages!

        The U.S. is much more similar to China than it cares to admit. Then there's the little matter of China owning enormous chunks of the U.S....
        • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:46PM (#33853068)

          The U.S. is much more similar to China than it cares to admit. Then there's the little matter of China owning enormous chunks of the U.S....

          I know, why here in the U.S. saying such a thing like that will get you and your wife tossed into jail.

          • by qmaqdk (522323)

            I know, why here in the U.S. saying such a thing like that will get you and your wife tossed into jail.

            You need to be Muslim, but then yes.

          • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:58PM (#33853598)

            I know, why here in the U.S. saying such a thing like that will get you and your wife tossed into jail.

            On a per capita basis, the USA imprisons four times as many people as China.

            Very few Americans are imprisoned for dissent, but that is just because we don't have many dissidents, or at least few that anyone listens to. In the past, when there were serious dissident movements in the USA, we imprisoned lots of them. Habeas corpus was suspended to lock up war protesters without trial. Many leaders of the labor movement, and most hard-left politicians spent time in prison. If you included suppression of dissidents in other countries where the US excercised military or diplomatic control, then we are one of the worst suppressors of dissent that ever existed.

            I am not defending what China is doing. But you should not be holding up the USA as a beacon of freedom and tolerance.

            • On the contrary, the only thing I hear on the TV this election season is dissidents. This time around they're called Republicans, but we called them Democrats two years go. That's not to say that we don't problems, but you really can say just about anything you want about the government with impunity. If you're crazy enough, you'll most likely get ignored, or put on a morning talk show, or - if you happen to have a foreign sounding name - put on an FBI or CIA watch list...in that order of likelihood.

    • Why does the mainland Chinese government get better treatment from the "free world" than any other petty dictatorship? They've repeatedly shown that they aren't prepared to act in a respectable manner, so why should they get respect?

      Because they have money and a giant military.

      • Giant =/= Powerful
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Culture20 (968837)

          Giant =/= Powerful

          Their words are backed by the power of Nuclear Weapons! >:(
          /Civ

        • by Dunbal (464142) *

          Certainly more powerful than the Taliban...

        • In China's case, it's Giant + Powerful.

          Both China and its allies are pursuing 5th Generation fighter aircraft (see Sukhoi PAK FA (ally) and J-XX). They aren't exactly chucking spears...
        • As I posted above, their air force and army have been advancing rapidly over the last 20 years or so, and they still are a nuclear power.

    • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:29PM (#33852948)

      Why does the mainland Chinese government get better treatment from the "free world" than any other petty dictatorship?

      Because the "free world", and USA in particular, has long since abandoned any pretense of being "free" and gave up any moral authority that may have existed there.

      "Preemptive" wars of conquest based on fabrications, secret detentions, extra-judicial assassinations via drone, Fatherland ... I mean Homeland Security Department with all of its lovely extra-judicial powers etc and so on.

      In fact since I am old enough for this, boarding an airliner in the US is now an experience far worse then doing so in the Soviet Union in the heyday of the USSR (and yes, I've been there so I have first hand data to contrast the two).

      • by ikarous (1230832) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:49PM (#33853086)

        In fact since I am old enough for this, boarding an airliner in the US is now an experience far worse then doing so in the Soviet Union in the heyday of the USSR (and yes, I've been there so I have first hand data to contrast the two).

        Human beings are strange critters, especially in numbers. They will happily consign themselves to completely unreasonable treatment by TSA goons to gain the mere perception of protection from an event that has about a 1*10^-1000 percent chance of happening in the first place. Meanwhile, most people don't seem to have a problem playing with their phones while doing eighty down the highway. This type of irrationality continually erodes personal freedom in the USA (and undoubtedly elsewhere).

      • by arose (644256) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:55PM (#33853142)

        "Preemptive" wars of conquest based on fabrications, secret detentions, extra-judicial assassinations via drone, Fatherland ... I mean Homeland Security Department with all of its lovely extra-judicial powers etc and so on.

        Treatment of native americans, slavery, Jim Crow laws, women's rights, prohibition, Japanese American internment, McCarthyism, the Guatemala medical experiments and so on, and so forth. It has never really been significantly different. Where does this meme that the US has suddenly abandoned it's perfect record of freedom come from?

      • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:24PM (#33853376) Journal

        boarding an airliner in the US is now an experience far worse then doing so in the Soviet Union in the heyday of the USSR (and yes, I've been there so I have first hand data to contrast the two).

        Right, assuming you could get a ticket. For the average Russian, travel was far worse than it is now.....so bad, it didn't happen at all. Russians not only needed permission to leave the country, they needed permission to travel to a different city. The reason we demonized USSR checkpoints was because they restricted movement for the vast majority, not because they were annoying. To pretend US checkpoints are worse is to be intellectually dishonest.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fishbowl (7759)

          >intellectually dishonest

          What does that mean? Why not just say "dishonest?"

          • What he said is probably technically true (that it is more inconvenient to get through a checkpoint now than in the USSR), so it's not really a lie. However, it is certainly a misleading statement. It doesn't give a complete picture of the situation he is describing.

            Similarly if I said, "Every scientist I've asked believes there are green men walking on the moon." Technically that is true, it is not a lie; but only because I've never actually asked a scientist about that particular point. So saying it li
          • by AK Marc (707885)
            Correct and deliberately misleading may or may not be "dishonest" depending on the particular definition you choose to use. "Intellectually dishonest" means that it is purposefully deceitful, yet likely technically true. If everyone used the same specific definition of "dishonest" then it wouldn't be an issue, but there's more than one definition of "dishonest" and so "intellectually dishonest" is used to specify which definition of dishonest is being used.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The reason we demonized USSR checkpoints

          To pretend US checkpoints are worse is to be intellectually dishonest.

          I have always been puzzled by the practice of demonizing your enemy, especially by people who seem to appreciate intellectual honest.I don't know about the checkpoints, so allow to me use another example. North Korea has always been demonized as a crazy guy who could blow up at any time, but it turns out the US had(or has) considered nuking them several times and the US even said talks about the nuke options had an actual effect. Why don't we, people who appreciate intellectual honest, just state the facts

          • by ultranova (717540) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:15PM (#33854478)

            I have always been puzzled by the practice of demonizing your enemy, especially by people who seem to appreciate intellectual honest.

            Demonizing your enemy is a lot easier than becoming a saint yourself. And saying you appreciate intellectual honesty is not the same as actually being intellectually honest.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by vadim_t (324782)

            People like thinking things are easy. "We're good, they're evil" is very simple to think about. Pondering about generations worth of wrongdoing in the past, and a lot of shady actions in the present on both sides is complicated and unpleasant, and means you have to spend a lot of time on figuring out which side is better. And that might be you.

            Also, pretty much everybody thinks they're good, so their faults if they admit they exist at all are all justifiable for excellent reasons, while whoever is on the ot

      • by Fnkmaster (89084)

        I don't think that's the correct cause and effect. China gets better treatment because of our economic dependence on them. Before that, they got better treatment because we wanted to sell products to them as a market. For about 30 years now we've seen China and their huge numbers of people as first a source of a market, then as a source of cheap labor that we needed to fuel our next wave of economic growth. Now we've created a bit of a monster - an economic powerhouse without the kind of moral and ethic

    • by eulernet (1132389)

      so why should they get respect?

      According to:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt#Foreign_ownership [wikipedia.org]

      22% of the US debt is owned by China.

      868 billions are enough to let any official shut his mouth, especially for the sake of a single person.

      And for the rest of the world, China is probably the biggest investor.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        More important than the ownership is who is buying it now. My understanding is that much of the new purchases of debt are from China, and when people stop buying debt, there will be a money crisis in the US. So if China were to stop buying the debt, the US economy would crash (not like the last bump, but a real Great Depression, or worse, type crash).
      • by the linux geek (799780) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:19PM (#33854154)
        22% of the US foreign debt. 75% of the US total debt is owed to domestic holders, mostly corporations. The actual amount that the PRC holds is closer to 4.5% of the total.
    • by couchslug (175151)

      Because realpolitik is more important to grownups that what barbarians do to other barbarians in their own kingdoms.

      It is also more convenient to punish the weak than the strong.

  • Isn't this great? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:03PM (#33852766)

    I can't think of a country more deserving to receive the entirety of our scientific and engineering knowledge.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    World leaders ? Who ? US ? US does nothing that will imperil its economics needs... look at our friendly neighborhood GOOG even they capitulated and kept their China offices open.

    Beggars cant be criticizers.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      That's funny. The US enjoys yelling and whining at Canada over a myriad of issues, and we shovel processed crap from north to south for your consumption. At the end of the day we just don't care.

  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:12PM (#33853288)

    Our governments have no need to resort to jailing our dissidents anymore. They can rely on our own populace deciding that their views fall into the 'opposing group' and then will launch a self-powered smear machine which is VERY hard to avoid.

    Need examples? Watch as people with even the slightest belief outside the two parties in the United States gets immediately attacked as being kooks, Nazi's, communists, nutcases, idiots, or just plain character assassinated by tying them together with actual nutcases.

    How do you do it?

    Well, if anyone supports a position, first, take that position and move it as far to the extreme as you can. Then, find someone who holds the same position, but additional extreme beliefs and then whenever the first person or group is mentioned be sure to include the actual nutcase in your 'critique'.

    So anyone expressing any sort of libertarian suggestion should be suggested to be presenting the views of an Anarchist, associated with Christine O'Donnell and her extreme viewpoints (because she also mentioned lower taxes, therefore lower taxes = push for creationism in schools)

    If you express any sort of desire to suggest changes to our insurance system, well now you are a nutcase who wants the government to also ban fatty food, and allow a shrill voice to tell you that you aren't doing your exercises vigorously enough as monitored in your telescreen. Associate them with Barbara Boxer (I honestly don't know who to label as the kook here, because I'm not in the practice of it, but you get the idea).

    In the end, the people who actually try to advance our country are tarred and feathered by the populace and the government rarely needs to lift a finger to silence them.

  • Nobel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @04:57PM (#33854364) Homepage Journal

    There was an interesting interview in a german online magazine about how Nobel's ideas have been betrayed by politicians [heise.de]. This years peace price - just like many in the recent years and decades - has nothing to do with peace and everything to do with politics.

  • by whorfin (686885) on Monday October 11, 2010 @12:24AM (#33856558)

    Although the West cannot reasonably be held responsible for this situation, I believe that we must be held to account for the fact that we're funneling huge sums of money into corrupt regimes around the planet...Oil money going to questionable (at best) nations exporting oppression, drug money going to criminal organizations worldwide, and all of the manufacturing being done in China.

    Are we willing to change our lifestyles to deny our support to global criminals, or are we weak of mind and spirit?

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