Exciting new China-watching phrase coined

Just a bunch of mid-week (mostly Glorious Motherland) links…

China’s thought police go after a Korean boy-band. Never thought I’d like the prancing girly-looking singers, but they have gone up in my esteem. Beijing doesn’t do ‘soft power’, it does ‘sour power’. (‘Sour power’®️ is my latest contribution to China-watching international-relations discourse. It even rhymes. Korea does real soft power – I’m currently binge-watching the second series of Stranger.) 

On the subject of ‘sour power’®️, a praiseworthy French museum has postponed an exhibition after a Chinese counterpart insisted on rewriting history to transform Mongols into Han (roughly).

Lowy Interpreter on China’s exceptionalist vision of sovereignty in the new world order. Speaking of which – an interesting graphic representation of the Sino-centric view of the world (think the New Yorker’s ‘View of the World from 9th Avenue’).

DW on how Beijing is mightily miffed with Germany’s sponsorship of a human-rights motion in the UN, and how Chinese diplomats cajole other countries’ representatives into voting the way they want.

The Diplomat looks behind Xi Jinping’s tough exterior and sees a crisis in leadership.

One small example of Xi’s counterproductive policies: Michael Cole explains how Taiwan’s KMT is going off the CCP. Another from Japan Times: Beijing is encouraging the world to see Taiwan as an independent country. And Atlantic looks at Asian young people’s anti-Beijing Milk Tea Alliance. ‘Sour power’®️ strikes again!

VOA reports 5G in China is overhyped and who needs it? (Who could imagine an incremental upgrade in tech isn’t as wonderful as its proponents insist?) And the Wire China offers everything you wanted to know about ZTE.

Meanwhile, Foreign Policy determines that Belt and Road is not a sinister evil plot, but just a big pile of wombat droppings.

Academic James Millward proposes a new approach to Chinese history by rejecting exceptionalist and nationalist narratives. For example, China’s ‘5,000 years of civilization’ covers as wide a range of regimes and cultures as the Graeco-Roman civilization we still see today in Europe. The ‘tributary system’ was domestic propaganda that the other kingdoms and states treated as a charade. The Qing-based claims that Tibet is Chinese are equally valid to Korea, and the insistence that Taiwan belongs to the PRC would logically apply also to Mongolia. And so on. 

And you’d have thought HSBC has more pressing concerns, but apparently not. The bank’s economists have published an in-depth report on Modern Monetary Theory – a too-good-to-be-true leftist idea justifying the printing of money by governments. Includes cool diagrams of Ptolemaic and Copernican solar systems.

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7 Responses to Exciting new China-watching phrase coined

  1. Hong Kong Hibernian says:

    Trying to censor the words “Genghis Khan” and “Mongol” from an upcoming exhibition dedicated to Genghis Khan? Hmmm…sounds about right.

    George Orwell has nothing on the Disciples of Xi.

  2. MarkLane says:

    Mmm… ‘Sour power’®️. I like it. I like it a lot.

    Much better terminology than the standard “wolf warrior diplomacy”, which lends an unwarranted sense of virility to their knee-jerk rebuttals of anything and everything.

  3. Reactor #4 says:

    Until recently (when placed in the context of “5,000 years of Civilization” etc.) the Brits had for this part of the world something not dissimilar: finance person with a pink hue, squadie/airport construction worker, LBFM, dog/Chinese.

  4. Hong Kong Hibernian says:

    And ‘Sour power’®️ in the courts! Magistrate Cheang Kei-hong, who stated that the man who assaulted and wounded Longhair Leung had a “passionate love for Hong Kong society”, and committed the crime because of differing political opinions, handed down a sentence of 3 months and 6 days!!

    I’m guessing that if I assaulted and wounded someone with a sharpened metal object, my own “passionate love for Hong Kong society” and “differing political opinions” would get me something closer to what is mentioned under section 17 and section 19 of the Offences against the Person Ordinance, Cap. 212. (Section 17 attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, where section 19 attracts a maximum of 3 years imprisonment.)

  5. Spannerin Der Verks says:

    I’m sorry Hemlock, but I’m old enough to remember when the New York Mercantile Exchange bagged the slogan “Sour Power” to launch its crude oil futures market during the 1980s. Indeed, I still have the T-shirt – literally. You are treading on very thin ice.

  6. Low Profile says:

    To me, the word “sour” captures the characteristic expression on the faces of the so-called “pro-Beijing heavyweights”: Lau Siu-kai, Rita Fan, et al.

  7. Spanner Von Crusher says:

    @Spannerin Der Verks

    The NYME might have come up with the terms Sour Crude and Sweet Crude but not Sour Power.

    Try again.

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