Tag: china

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Russia Roars, and It’s War

Russia’s incursion into neighboring Ukraine began in the wee hours local time there. I started seeing news stories early last night; California is about 10 hours behind. A tumultuous day of military advancement, impotent response from the U.S. President, and relentless news commentary, editorialization, and misinformation followed.

I watch and wait, understanding that Russian leader Vladimir Putin acts now for many reasons—perceived, and real, ineptitude of American leadership is among them. The troop withdrawal debacle in Afghanistan demonstrated U.S. military weakness, including decision-making capabilities of the Commander-in-Chief. Surely, Putin—and other autocrats—calculate opportunity.

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The Humiliation Games

On the same day the 2022 Olympics opened, February 4, I passed by something appropriate and timely: discarded pair of thirtytwo brand snowboarding boots. Their abandonment, along the North Avenue alley in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, could be a metaphor for what’s being chucked away in Beijing right now: fair competitive spirit, human dignity, and truthfulness. It’s all humiliating.

Let me count the ways: Humiliating that, because of surveillance, athletes were instructed to bring burner phones to China—and, for their own safety, not to publicly criticize the host nation. Humiliating that China presented as propaganda a token Uyghur during the opening ceremony; what genocide? Humiliating that Russian President Vladimir Putin joined Chinese President Xi Jinping, while Western nations, including the United States, chose not to send diplomatic delegations. Humiliating that Chinese officials dragged away a Dutch reporter during a live broadcast. Humiliating that athletes quarantined for positive SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 are mentally and physically impaired by poor food quality and living conditions. Humiliating, and convenient, that some foreign gold medal contenders test Coronavirus positive and can’t compete. Humiliating that most NBC Sports commentators and hosts are broadcasting from the United States rather than China.

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Flickr a Day 159: ‘Fruit Stand around Gulou’

Although self-titled “Tiger the Dog” appealed to be selected, cuteness could not prevail over composition and color. “Fruit Stand around Gulou” takes the Day, also for lighting and being interestingJens Schott Knudsen captured the moment on Nov. 8, 2014, using the Sony Alpha ILCE-7R, a magnificent full-frame mirrorless compact that is primped for street photography. Vitals: ISO 1600, 1/160 sec. He may have used a manual lens, which would explain why f-stop and focal length were not measured.

Jens lives Beijing, China, which is where he captured today’s selection, but he is from Haderslev, Denmark. For a real treat, and to get some insight about his photographic heritage, click through to his November 2013 blog post “50 years Ago“. 

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Flickr a Day 17: ‘Geisha Hunting’

Today’s selection, and the next one, come from search “pester”. Many photographers are reluctant to fully identify themselves, as is the case with Peter “monkeylikemind”, who lives in Shanghai, China, and joined Flickr in February 2013. Other shooters, like Thomas Hawk, use pseudonyms.

Flavor is the word that describes Peter’s street photography, which gives a Westerner’s non-tourist taste of China. Self-titled, “Geisha Hunting”, which he shot with the Canon EOS 550D and EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, is delicacy. Same can be said of another, which I almost chose instead. 

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‘The China Question’ Revisited

In March 2009, I asked “The China Question,” highlighting shocking parallels between the 1920s and `00s (the “Noughties”). Both decades similarly started off and ended, with boom and bust. Other parallels show how quickly an empire collapses—the Brits during early last century and quite possibly the yanks during this decade.

I resurface the post in context of incessant chatter about China’s increasing global economic dominance and America’s growing mountain of debt. Additionally, the United States is close to entering a double-dip recession, if it’s not there already. Recent economic indicators are disconcerting. China has largely exited the global recession fairly unscathed, while the United States is an economy divided: Public companies are reporting record profits, while the American public struggles to relieve record debt.

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The China Question

Is the American era over? I begin to wonder if the answer is yes. History is the reason. In 1914, the British Empire spanned the globe, and London was the financial capitol (eh, capital would work, too) of the world. Four years later, England’s fortunes had changed. The country had shifted much of its manufacturing production to the war and spent quite a bit of its capital supporting European allies. Meanwhile, the United States picked up manufacturing slack and monetary might. Could America’s fortunes change so quickly?

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Unexpected IM

Today, someone that I didn’t know added me to their IM list. I assumed that it was a work contact. But, no. The stranger claimed to be from China, and the domain of his e-mail address more or less confirmed location (I checked WHOIS).

At first, I thought this person might have sought me out. I have been recently quoted in a Chinese newspaper and on Western news services, about Google’s Chinese research facility and, separately, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! agreeing to censor search results in China. The IM looks to have been random, though.