Greenpeace and the growth of environmentalism in China – Part 2/3

March 9, 2012

When The Diplomat.com asked Li Yan, head of Greenpeace in East Asia’s Climate and Energy Campaign about China, Li Yan replied, “China has made impressive efforts to cut back its carbon emission growth, and it’s fair to say that China is doing much better than many other countries, including industrialized ones. However, with the rapid growth of emissions, China needs – and has the capability – to do more…”

“According to a recent U.N. Environment Program report, China has surpassed the United States in renewable energy investment in 2010, making it now the world’s largest… In 2010, China’s wind power installation capacity was about 42GW, which places China as the biggest installation country globally.”

In addition, a recent post by Ma Tianjie on the Greenpeace East Asia Blog said, “As early as 2009, after a series of lead pollution cases, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (China) had called for a ‘blanket inspection’ of heavy metal pollution facilities. This means, in theory, local governments should already have an inventory of local industrial facilities that release heavy metals, with basic information on who is discharging what…”


Gloria Chang is Greenpeace China’s key campaigner on climate change – June 2007

“It is clear that the government’s environmental protection apparatus, low in capacity and short in manpower, cannot fight this battle alone,” Ma Tianjie said. “The public, especially non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working for the protection of the environment, has a role in contributing to such efforts.

“In August 2011, the ministry (in China) made an unprecedented move by releasing detailed pollution information on more than 1,900 lead-acid battery facilites across the country. It was the first time that information on an entire industry’s environmental performance was made public.

“Reactions to the initiative were overwhelmingly positive. A close scrutiny of the data by the media, environmental NGOs and the public resulted in corrections and a dataset of improved quality, which would only help the ministry to better supervise the listed facilities.”

Ma Tianjie recently appeared on China’s CCTV news program “China 24” to discuss the recent toxic metal contamination of water supply in Guanxi Autonomous Region. You may learn more of this CCTV appearance at Greenpeace.org.

However, China is often criticized by its critics/enemies for censorship and controlling what the state owned media reports without any mention of broadcasts such as this one on CCTV with Ma Tianjie of Greenpeace East Asia.

Continued March 10, 2012 in Greenpeace and the growth of environmentalism in China – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The two faces of Confucius – Part 4/5

December 23, 2011

When comparing the practice of Confucianism in China to Japan, a report by Wai-ming Ng at the Chinese University in Hong Kong says, “The relationship between loyalty and filial piety, two fundamental virtues in Confucianism, has been a subject of concern among Confucian scholars in East Asia for many centuries.

“Many modern Japanese scholars believe that the main difference between Japanese Confucianism and Chinese Confucianism rests with their preference between loyalty and filial piety, suggesting that Japanese Confucianism puts  loyalty [to the government] before filial piety, whereas Chinese Confucianism prefers filial piety [in the family] to loyalty [of the government].”

That difference may be explained by China’s concept of the Mandate of Heaven, which says that heaven would bless the authority of a just ruler, as defined by the Five Confucian Relationships, but would be displeased with a despotic ruler and would withdraw its mandate, leading to the overthrow of that ruler. The Chinese people, of course, would be heaven’s hammer, which does not sound very obedient.

However, in Japan, the Mandate of Heaven is not practiced the same as in China. While the Chinese may protest and rebel, the Japanese tend to shy away from this behavior.

In The Coming China, Joseph King Goodrich says, “Obedience in China is a word that connotates far more than it does in Japan. It means obedience to the emperor, to the parent, to the family and to the government, although the Japanese have the reputation of being singularly marked with this trait.”


Confucianism = ritual, etiquette and being kind to one another

In China, the difference lies in the mandate to rule, which means that leaders do not tax the people unjustly. They make sure people have sufficient food and live in an orderly and peaceful society.

Confucian political philosophy is also rooted in the belief that a ruler should learn self-discipline, should govern his subjects by his own example, and should treat them with love and concern.

By providing these things, Confucius believed leaders would earn the confidence, trust and obedience of the people. By not providing these things, China’s leaders would lose the trust and obedience of the people.

One element of Confucianism that runs strong throughout East Asia is that Confucianism regards government and education as inseparable. Without a good education, it is considered impossible to find leaders who possess the virtues to run a government.

Confucius asked, “What has one who is not able to govern himself, to do with governing others?”

Continued on December 18, 2011 in The two-faces of Confucius – Part 5 or return to Part 3

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Not Rule the World” – Part 7/12

December 3, 2011

Sixth Question [Parfitt]:

Governments and human-rights groups have heaped criticism on China about human-rights issues. Is such criticism justified?

Answer [Lofthouse]:

No!

The evolution of human-rights is mostly a Western political phenomenon based on individualism dating back to the Greek City States hundreds of years before Christ and the Western Roman Empire (27 BC – 476 AD).

The timeline of the Ongoing Struggle for Human Rights in the West shows the first mention of an alleged human rights violation in China (according to Western values) was the 1989 (so-called) Tiananmen Square massacre.

However, you set the record straight on your Blog, June 4, 2011 in The Tiananmen Square Myth and I have written of this issue in  What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square? and The Tiananmen Square Hoax.

Examples of the slow progress of the evolution of human rights in the West may be seen in 1791 (fifteen years after the U.S. Declaration of Independence), when the U.S. Bill of Rights incorporated notions of freedom of speech, press, and fair trial into the new U.S. Constitution.

In fact, in 1920, the League of Nations Covenant required members to “endeavor to secure and maintain fair and humane conditions of labor for men, women and children,” but it took the US twenty-one more years before stricter laws banning the employment of underage children was declared constitutional in 1941 by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Note, none of these early gains in the political arena of human rights took place in East Asia.

In addition, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) did not join the United Nations until 1971.

Since then, in human rights issues, the PRC has been increasingly successful at maintaining their positions. In 1995, they won 43 percent of the votes in the General Assembly; by 2006 they won 82 percent.

SFGate.com quoted Li Junru, deputy director of the China Society for Human Rights Studies,  who said, “Since China adopted [its] reform and opening-up policy in 1978, the country has witnessed the second great liberation of human rights, as…reform in [the] economy, technology, education, culture, (and) politics…”

Since all of East Asia including China are collective cultures, the face of human rights may not fit the West’s definition of it.

Response [Parfitt]:

China’s culture isn’t collective. China is fond of saying it’s collective, that’s its strength, and the West should take a lesson, but if there’s one overarching rule in the Chinese universe, it’s this: the more you hear something, the more you can be assume it to be untrue.

‘Collectivism’ is a euphemism for ‘subservience.’

The Foshan incident highlights China’s awful individualism; 20 people ignoring a small girl hit by a truck. Western individualism may be extreme, but Westerners can act collectively when it counts. They often assist people in crisis, for example.

Cultural moral relativism argues there is no absolute truth, and no matter how dreadful circumstances become, they are forever valid. Cultural moral relativism isn’t unlike Orwell’s doublethink: “to hold simultaneously two opinions that cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it.”

China’s human-rights: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China

Final Word [Lofthouse]:

Regarding collective cultures, ERIC.ed.gov, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U. S. Department of Education, offers a definitive definition.

ERIC says, “The remarkable differences between the East Asian cultures of China and Japan and the American culture make acculturation of East Asians into the mainstream of United States society extremely difficult.

“Characteristics of individualistic cultures include: the individual as an autonomous entity; egalitarianism; competitiveness; and self-reliance.

“Characteristics of collective cultures include: individuals as interdependent entities; hierarchism; cooperativeness; and self-denial (sacrificing one’s own desires or interests).”

In Litigation Nation, I explained why the behavior of a few individuals during the Foshan incident cannot be used to judge a nation.

A better example would be the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which affected almost 46 million Chinese in 10 provinces.

In Recovering from a Beating by Mother Nature, I compared China’s recovery to how America dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Continued on December 4, 2011 in Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” – Part 8 or return to Part 6.

See Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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