China Diary 2012

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Order by: First   | Lattest   | Number of comments: 9

China revisited

Kunming | d. 28-07-2012 03:53:21

Kunming 28 juli 2012

After four weeks travelling in china, from Beijing to Xiaogan, Wuhan, Xian and now in Kunming in the south western province of Yunnan, I do have to change some of my impressions from earlier visits to China.

First thing is about dirt and rubbish. Travelling the big cities of the coastal provinces and mainly staying in the city centres , the modern cities, the new subways and airports etc, I always found these areas to be so clean and very weel maintained. This is certainly not the case, as soon as one leaves the main roads and goes down the old not fashionable Hutongs in Beijing or where ever you go in the other cities we visited this year.

We went from Beijing to Xiaogan with fast train, an 8 hour trip and not so fast, 150 km / h . But the train was only tree years old, and although this was confirmed by several people on train, I still couldn't believe it. To me it looked like being at least 10 if not 15 or more years old. Well the ride itself was very comfortable and service fine, but the train look old , and it comes down to lack of maintenance.

The same thing goes for the "old" house in the cities. I often look at these dirty and miserable looking buildings and asked Chinese friends how old these might be? The answer is very old , and then when you dig into this, you find that houses build more then 10-15 years ago is regarded as old to the chinese!and they certainly looks old , very old. I see some few building dating back from the 1950's they will properly all be demolished, as they dont look suitable for humans to live in. Then I and visited apartments build within the last 10 to 15 years and even these , from a danish point of view , new buildings looks very messy and lack any kind of maintenance on the outside walls or in the stairways areas. Yes people pay money for maintenance but these money is only spent on repairments inside the apartments.

In these 10-15 years Old apartments I seen a few kitchens by now, and I have been very much surprised to find these kitchens to be so unbelievable dirty. Dirts that comes from oil cooking yes, but still is possible to get rid of if you want to. The chinese dont seem to bother about it , and have no shame about it. The same goes for the 1000 's of outdoor street kitchens / restaurant that you find on most street and small alleys in the chinese cities. If danish standards for kitchen hygienic / cleanness was to be imposed in China, there would be no cooking anywhere! On the other hand it is also in these very simple street kitchens that you can find the most delicious food , and for only a few yuan.

Back on the streets one finds broken pavement, old time dirty and filth never to be removed from the pavement stonesand bricks. Just as dirty as the streets of copenhagen has become over the last teen years. And as nowadays in Copenhagen we also find begars on the street. Many of these are handicapped in one or the other way. Right outside the Bell Towers Hotel in the center of Xian small half naked boys lay on the street begging. After staying one week in Xian I soon recognized them all , or there was not more then you could cont on a hand or two.
On our first night in Kunming we had some noodle in an street cafe / restaurant. As soon as we left our table a 8-10 years old boy sneaked onto the table, hidding himself from the waitress, and quickly eat what we had left over in our plates. After him , another one followed to take a look at what might be left.

From these experience it seems clear to me taht China still have a lot to do , when it comes to provide new housing, repairment and maintenance of what is already done, and to provide social security for millions of chinese. All though being now the second largest economy in the world , China is surely also a developing country, for many years to come.

But still it stands that the achievement's so far is most impressive, and is seen everywhere. New roads, airports, subways and giant housing areas has been build everywhere. One can only hope that the chinese will find time and money also to maintain these giants investments , otherwise money may be lost in the years to come.

This is NOW America

Shanghai | d. 15-07-2012 12:54:00

For sinful smokers like me the big cities of China have become like America or Europe for that sake : smoking and having coffee or a beer at the same time has become quite difficult . Two years ago one could still argue that you would go to china for a little freedom as being. A smoker.
It isn't so anymore . In smaller cities it is no problem freedom Prevails.

Interview with china international radio

Beijing | d. 13-07-2012 04:06:44

You can hear my interview with China International Radio at

I m sorry for my somehow poor english here ;-)

China and THE freedom question

Wuhan | d. 12-07-2012 14:16:24

Being in China this summer one cant help thinking about the writings at home , about the poor chinese people and their lack of freedom.
Being around cities like Beijing, Xiaogan and now Wuhan, its very hard to see this lack of freedom. One thing is traffic here. As populations is plentifull so is trafic, or rather the chaos of cars, truck , busses, motorbikes and people who travels the streets in China. Here you cant see any rules or any law who in any way put restriction on peoples freedom to do excactely as they like. If any law governs the street here it is : im bigger then you , so I go first and you better stay aside! Actually many drivers here seem to lack any basis understanding of trafic , except for their own individual need to get ahead.
And then , in the China Daily yesterday , they tell about restrictions on trafic. In Guangzhou they have now put a limmit to the amount of car licenses given to new car owners. So far 1000 new cars have been registred every month! That gives more than 300.000new cars a year. Now this will be limited to 10.000 new cars a month . The distribution of these new car plates will be given partly by a lottery system .

So yes , it is very right , personal freedom is under political regulation here in China ;-)

Back in Beijing

Beijing | d. 03-07-2012 01:08:42

So we have stayed a few days in Beijing. This time with a splendid view of the city from the 52. Floor in Beijing Jing Guang Center Recidence witch is located in the new financial center of Beijing at ring 2 east, just next to CCTV . This my 3. Morning overlooking the city from east to west, and it is just another sunny day and blue sk, and high visability.

Sunday we visited the National Historical Museum next to Tian an men square. Apart from that we havent been so much around as it takes a little time to get aquinted to the rather hot climate here.

Yesterday I gave an interview to Mr Zheng from China International Radio, his program is called "Voices from abroad" and we talked about my experiences in China, and my view on Chinas developments and so. Our conversation lasted for 3 hours and even more remarkable my wife was quirt during all this time :-) I was most impressed about the journalist very fluent English and disappointed about my own oral ability. Mr. Zheng had the view that chinas development was going too fast and that's they better slow down and pay more attentions to how the chinese shall enjoy leisure time ... Zheng himself had found an enjoyment in good wine. Well i could suggest him to go to Denmark if he wants to see how people enjoy life. But ha also been to Africa, and was very am mazed about how the poor people here were still dancing and singing although they had no material goods whatsoever. We also discussed the political system in the west versus the political system in China , and I found myself not to be a strong advocate for the former. Our talk was very inspiring for me , and gave many good idears for my further work on my China history book.
See you later ....

Interview on China International Radio

Udsigt fra 52. etage over Beijing

Om Danmarks syn på Kina

| d. 21-06-2012 09:56:15

Indtil for ganske få år siden var vores opfattelse af Kina og kineserne nok i høj grad præget af Mao tidens Kina, med partipropaganda, hysteriske massekampagner, Mao-kulten og en ideologisk og kulturel ensretning, som virkede meget fremmedartet og primitiv på mange vesterlændinge. Set fra vores hjørne af verden, var det svært at se hvad kommunismen havde bibragt kineserne andet end en fælles risskål og en ligelig fordeling af fattigdommen. Kiggede man lidt længere tilbage – mødte man et Kina under japansk besættelse og en årelang opslidende borgerkrig mellem KKP og Chaing Kai sheiks nationalister, som på sin side blot syntes at være den uundgåelige følge af et gammelt konservativt Kejserstyres endelig kapitulation i mødet med den overlegne vestlige kultur, i form af 1800 tallet europæiske imperialisme.
Jo Kinas historie – ikke mindst de sidste 150 år - er dramatisk og de kinesiske folks lidelser syntes ingen ende at have. Efter Mao tiden – kunne man fastholde dette billede af brutal undertrykkelse med historierne om et barns politikkens ulykkelige ofre. Med nedkæmpelsen af demokratibevægelsen og massakren på Den Himmelske freds Plads i 1989 , året hvor den Østeuropa aftvang sig kommunismens åg og favnede friheden, syntes Kina igen at stå på tabernes side, i den historiske kamp mellem frihed og undertrykkelse. Den kolde krig var slut – og det vestlige demokrati skulle nu gå sin forventede sejrsgang over den ganske verden, men Kina havde nu selv dømt sig uden for dette Historiens store møllehjul. Da vi I begyndelsen af 1990’erne så hører at Kina nu taler om ’markedsøkonomi med kinesiske kendetegn’ , havde de fleste vel kun en lettere hovedrysten tilovers for denne bizarre sammenblanding af kommunisme og kapitalisme. Undertrykkelsen var nu blot flyttet fra de åbne gader, og ind i de mørke fabrikshaller i det sydlige Kina, hvor kinesiske arbejdere (og børn!) knoglede dag og nat til sultelønninger.
Enkelte debattører og skribenter vågede dog allerede i midt 90’erne at spå at det 21. århundrede ville blive det asiatiske århundrede, ikke mindst på baggrund af det økonomiske mirakel som de ’Fire Tiger Økonomier’ (Sydkorea, Taiwan, Hong Kong og Singapore) havde oplevet siden 1970 ’erne. Men dette druknede vel i ting der var nærmere vores verden – Borgerkrigen i eks Jugoslavien, folkemord i Rwanda, EU integrationsprojektet, og i den hjemmelige andedam den stigende indvandring fra de krigshærgede nærområder.

Efter 9/11 2001 – kan man roligt sige at Kina, og Sydøst Asien for den sags skyld, lå langt uden for den dominerende dagsorden. Vesten var med 9/11 blevet angrebet og udfordret på de friheds idealer, som slyngelstater og muslimske mørkemænd fornægtede deres egen undertrykte befolkninger. Nu skulle slyngelstaterne væltes, demokratiet og frihed bringes til sejr – med våden i hånd, hvad enten de ville det eller ej.
Intet nyt fra Kina.. nå jo – undertrykkelsen havde nu fået en kulturel og religiøs dimension, repræsenteret ved en inkarnation af en Lama i flagrende gevandter, fra et område af verden som de færreste havde noget kendskab til – udover selvfølgelig Hollywoods betagende og tårevædende sentimentale fremstilling af de ædle og stirituelle munke på verdens tag; Tibet. På den vis var der intet nyt fra Kina, undertrykkelsen fortsatte, nu som et veritabelt folkemord på det fredselskende tibetanske folk.
Med finanskrisen gennembrud i slutningen af 00’erne, er Kina begyndt at tiltrække sig en opmærksomhed, som ikke alene handler om Kina’s undertrykkelse af egen befolkning, men nok så meget om hvad vi kan bruge Kina til og hvordan Kina kan hjælpe vores kriseramte økonomier.
Hvor Dalia Lama tidligere havde været selvskreven æresgæst ved enhver vestlig statsleders middagsselskab, så blev han nu ikke længere anset brugbar i forhold til vesten mindre ideologiske, men meget konkrete økonomiske problemer.
Hvor står vi så i dag? Der har vist aldrig været så meget Kina stof i medierne som i de sidste par år. Ja vel – hovedparten heraf handler fortsat om Kinesernes knægtelse af vestlige frihedsidealer, ikke mindst i f.h.t. de såkaldte systemkritikere, kunstnere, bloggere m.v. som anfægter Kinas politiske system .
Men ikke des tro mindre syntes der er været en stigende interesse for hvad det egentlig er som foregår i Kina, og ikke mindst hvad Kina udvikling i disse år kan betyde for os selv. En interesse som vel også blev vækket efter afholdesen af OL i Beijing 2008 og efterfølgende EXPO udstillingen i Shanghai i 2010. Her kunne Danmark fremvise sine innovative og kreative kompetencer med ’Den Lille Havfrue’ og vores cykelkultur! Omvendt er jeg ikke i tvivl om at de mange – statsledere, politikerne, erhvervsdelegationer og kulturfolk m.v. som i de senere år har besøgt Kina, har fået en oplevelse som ikke umiddelbart bekræftede det traditionelle billede af Kina, endsige mediernes almindelige dækning heraf.

Flere penge tak !

| d. 20-06-2012 13:03:13

Information tirsdag - nu går snakke på at vi får for lidt ud af Hu Jintaos besøg. Således vil største delen af de 18 mia kr - være danske investeringer i Kina og ikke kinesiske investeringer i Danmark!

Ja det er da også for galt beklager i avisen at Danmark ikke har været bedre til at tiltrække kinesiske investeringer ... nej det tror pokker ! Man kan vel ikke forlange at man både kan beklikke den Kinesiske regerings legitimitet, og så samtidgt tiltrække sig positiv opmærksomhed .. ! Vi er fandme svære at gøre tilpas .

Hu Jintao in Copenhagen

| d. 17-06-2012 12:30:43

Torsdag d. 14-16 juni var Kinas præsident Hu Jintao på statsbesøg i København. Det har været hårdt at høre yderfløjene (Enhedslisten og Dansk Folkepartis ) skingre automat reaktioner herpå. Som Søren Espersen fra der taler om Hu Jintao som diktator for et forbenet kommunistisk diktatur. Heller ikke pressen holder sig tilbage - og kæfter op om menneskerettigheder og Tibet, og syntes ikke at forstå hvad almindelig takt og tone kræver - og heller ikke hvad der tjener begge parters interesser bedst.
Kun fra en side har der lydt mere reflekterede holdning - nemlig Mogens Lykketoft , som forstår at man når længere ved at anerkende Kina resultater - som grundlag for videre diskussion - om det der nu syntes at optage danskerne mere ned brød på bordet ; nemlig vestlige værdier og vore normer for menneskelig frihed og rettigheder.

kina debatten Danmark 2012

| d. 20-04-2012 09:25:42

Med den financielle krises udvikling siden 2009, er debatten om Kina tydeligvis undergået en ændring. De ideologiske fordømmelser er gradvist blevet afløst af en mere pragmatisk holdning, hvor den tidligere bekymring for menneskerettigheder og tibetanerne, afløses af Kinas økonomiske betydning for vesten. Vi hører nu mere om kinesiske investeringer i Europa , end om undertrykkelse af den tibetanske buddhisme.

I aftes blev en Bogen ’De Fede År’ af Chan Koonchung anmeldt i 'Smagsdommerne ' på DR2. Det var vel meget betegnende for vor viden om Kina at den unge anmelder (30 årige Cecilie Lassen) intet havde fået ud af at læse bogen , men mere chokerende var det at høre at den voksne kvindelige journalist (!) Pernille Stensgaard fra Weekendavisen kunne betegne Kina som "et totalt knald i låget land". Dette havde vist sin baggrund i Kinas evne til at kontrollere nyhedsstrømmen og herunder udraddere 'Tian'an men' opstanden fra den kinesiske historieskrivning. Den mandlige anmelder Simon Andersen, kunne dog referere en af bogens hovedpointer - som bla. var spørgsmålet om hvorvidt det kinesiske politiske system på sine områder var bedre end det vestlige demokratiske system. Som konklusion på en kort diskussion om frihed i vestlig forstand kontra materiel velfærd , gyser anmelderne ved tanken om at skulle opgive den totale vestlige frihed i bytte for vælfærd. En påfaldende befriende latter omkring bordet, da man forsikrer hinanden om at i vesten ville vi aldrig opgive friheden for ussel mammon. endnu engang fik vi da slået fast at vesten højdepunktet af civilisation - og de andre er, om ikke dummere end os , så i det mindste ofre for undertrykkelse, ufrihed og manipulation.