Archive for China

The Vietnamese-Cantonese Connection

Posted in Ancient History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2020 by Ian Pham
Guangdong Province of China was once the place of the ancient Vietnamese kingdom of Nam-Viet in the late first millenium B.C. Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

The Cantonese language is a derivation of the Vietnamese language. If you didn’t know, then now you know.

A brief excerpt from Rhoads Murphey’s textbook, East Asia: A New History, 5th Edition, says the following (p. 60):

In Han [China] times, the southern people and culture of Yue [Viet] were regarded as foreign and were in fact very different from those of the north. More than traces of these differences remain even now, including the Cantonese language and cuisine… The people and culture of Vietnam were still more different, and they regained their independence from China after the fall of the Han.

The excerpt from Murphey above candidly shows that the Cantonese language and cuisine were part of Viet culture. This is further evidence demonstrating that the Vietnamese people’s role and influence in Asia during ancient times were larger and more prominent than is commonly believed in popular history.

One important note about Murphey’s book is that it is heavily skewed in favor of China. His coverage of Chinese history is presented with more enthusiasm and glorification than his coverage of Vietnamese history. Despite this point, there is still some useful information about Vietnam to be found in his work.

If taken with other sources on Vietnamese history (one recommendation are the works of Cornell University’s Keith W. Taylor), Murphey’s reluctant coverage may assist a newcomer in learning some introductory things about the Vietnamese nation and its people.

Prior to the invasion by the Chinese Han Dynasty in 111 B.C., there existed a Vietnamese kingdom named Nam-Viet in what is today Guangdong and Guangxi (Murphy 2010: 191). The capital of the Nam-Viet kingdom was located in what is today the city of Guangzhou (aka Canton) (Holcombe 2011: 9).

After the fall of the Han, the people of Viet would wrestle from the grips of Chinese control, occasionally breaking free, but ultimately being recaptured by a new Chinese dynasty. The Viet people’s fight for independence would eventually be achieved once and for all in 938 A.D., with Ngo Quyen’s victory at the Battle of Bach Dang River.

The people of Vietnam have ancient roots that stretch back more than 4,000 years.

Ancestors of the Vietnamese people are known as the “Hundred Viets” race. These Hunded Viets occupied a vast region in Asia that included today’s northern Vietnam and much of today’s China south of the Yangtze River.

Today, Vietnam is a nation in Southeast Asia, with a rich and proud history that is only beginning to truly be grasped by western observers.

Cited:

Holcombe, Charles. A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilization to the Twenty-First Century. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2011.

Murphey, Rhoads. East Asia: A New History, 5th Edition. Boston: Longman. 2010.

4,000+ Years and Counting: Essential Facts About the Vietnamese People

Posted in Ancient History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2020 by Ian Pham
Photo by Dương Nhân on Pexels.com

Introduction:

There is already a lot of information out there about Vietnam and the Vietnamese people. Much of the following is common knowledge.

We are a nation in Southeast Asia.

We fought a bloody and destructive war in the 20th century, which took place between the 1950s and 1970s. The U.S. was involved in this war and fought alongside the good guys (the South Vietnamese).

Since the 10th century, we became an independent nation called Dai Viet (“Great Viet”) after 1,000 years of Chinese occupation, which started when the Han Dynasty took over in the first century BC.

Vietnam has some pretty incredible historical heroes, such as Lady Trieu, who led a valiant but ultimately unsuccessful rebellion against the Kingdom of Wu in the third century; General Tran Hung Dao, who crushed the mighty Mongol Yuan Empire invaders in the 14th century; and Emperor Nguyen Hue Quang Trung, who eviscerated the invaders from the Manchu Qing Dynasty in the 18th century.

These are just a few of the things that encompass the long and storied heritage of the Vietnamese people. They are a cornerstone of the Vietnamese identity, and are commonly known to anyone who is interested in Vietnamese history.

A statue of Emperor Quang Trung of the Tay Son Dynasty. Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam. Photo shared in accordance with CC BY-SA 3.0. (via Bùi Thụy Đào Nguyên / Wikimedia Commons).

As important and timeless as these truths are, however, they are things that happened relatively recently, within the last 2,000 years in the AD era (Anno Domini; also known as the Common Era [CE]; after the birth of Christ). Therefore, they do not explain who the Vietnamese people were in ancient times, in the BC era (Before Christ) of the western calendar.

And so, in pursuit of a deeper understanding of Vietnamese history, the following questions are raised:

  1. Did Vietnam exist before 2,000 years ago?
  2. If yes, what was Vietnam like before 2,000 years ago?
  3. Just how old are the Vietnamese people?

The proceeding sections of this article will present more detailed answers to the questions above. If you’re short on time right now, though, then the quick version of the answers, in their respective order, are:

  1. Yes.
  2. Pretty sophisticated and impressive.
  3. Really, really, really old.

Brief Answers:

1. Yes, a Vietnamese state did exist before 2,000 years ago:

It wasn’t called “Vietnam” during that time, but it did exist. And it existed in several forms in different time periods.

Vietnam had a number of names throughout its existence. Some (but not all) of these names include “Van Lang,” “Au Lac,” “Nam-Viet,” and “Dai-Viet.” It was not until the 19th century that the modern name “Viet-Nam” was adapted by the Nguyen Dynasty.

The Vietnamese state we will talk about specifically in the next section is Au Lac.

2. This Vietnamese state, Au Lac, was independent, sophisticated, and impressive.

In the first millennium BC, there existed the Vietnamese state of Au Lac. Its capital city was named Co Loa. As the next section will show, Co Loa was quite advanced and developed, signifying that the people who built it were socially, politically, and culturally sophisticated.

3. The Vietnamese people have existed for more than 4,000 years.

Besides the testament presented by the state of Au Lac, there is evidence that the Vietnamese people have existed in northern Vietnam and much of southern China for a really, really, really long time.

Read on to find more detailed explanations for these answers.

Co Loa Citadel and the Vietnamese state of Au Lac in the first millennium BC:

In his book The Origins of Ancient Vietnam (2015), Nam C. Kim presents valuable insight into the state of Au Lac. From Au Lac, the Vietnamese people can trace their heritage back to at least the first millennium BC.

Traditional accounts signify that the kingdom of Au Lac was founded through conquest by a man named An Duong Vuong (aka “King An Duong”) in the third century BC (Kim, 2015: 5). There is common agreement that in Vietnamese tradition, King An Duong is recognized as one of the early ancestors of the Vietnamese people.

Following his conquest, the newly crowned King An Duong ordered the construction of a large citadel in Tay-vu called Co Loa Thanh (aka “Co Loa Citadel”). This citadel, which may simply be called “Co Loa,” would be the capital city of Au Lac, and thus, the political and power center of this new kingdom (Kim, 2015: 5).

(Note: Be careful not to confuse “Co Loa,” the name of the capital city of Au Lac, with “Cao Lo,” the name of one of King An Duong’s advisors, who is also an important historical figure associated with the city’s founding.)

The statue of Cao Lo, builder of the mythical magic crossbow that, according to legend, allowed King An Duong to conquer countless enemies in battle. Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo shared in accordance with CC BY-SA 4.0. (via Julez A. / Wikimedia Commons).

What is significant about the city of Co Loa is its size and sophistication.

Kim’s account presents the fact that Co Loa was a large and heavily fortified city. This, he argues, is proof of significant complexity and consolidated authority that was present within this Viet society when the city was built (2015: 6).

The name “Co Loa” itself means “old snail city.” It comes from the city’s artful and intricate architecture, whose “walls appear to be laid out in concentric rings of earthen ramparts reminiscent of a snail shell,” (Kim, 2015: 5).

The builders of the Co Loa settlement, which Kim calls the “Co Loa Polity,” is said to be an organized political entity. They were centralized, operated at the state level, and had longstanding political institutions (2015: 9).

All of this suggests that the founders of Au Lac, and its capital Co Loa, were people of military, political, and cultural sophistication. These early ancestors of the Vietnamese people were organized, civilized, and well-established.

In addition to Au Lac, the general Red River Delta region in northern Vietnam has been considered the “heartland” of Vietnamese civilization since at least the third millennium BC. (Kim, 2015: 18).

Further investigation into Vietnam’s past shows the existence of ancient peoples whose roots stretch further back than is commonly understood in popular culture.

Collectively, these peoples are known as the Hundred Viets, and had occupied the regions of northern Vietnam and southern China long before the Chinese came.

The Hundred Viets peoples who inhabited Southern China before the Chinese did:

One of the more commonly known examples of Vietnamese people occupying parts of southern China comes from Nam-Viet, another kingdom that also existed in the first millennium BC. Based on its founding year, Nam-Viet is newer than Au Lac.

Nam-Viet existed between 208-110 BC, and, like Au Lac, was a state of Vietnamese origin. It was located in what is today the city of Guangzhou, China (Holcombe, 2011: 9). The name “Nam-Viet,” if translated to English, means “Southern Viet.”

Earlier than this, possibly by a thousand years, there existed yet another Vietnamese kingdom. Charles Holcombe, in A History of East Asia (2011), talks about an early “Bronze Age kingdom called Viet,” which was “located even farther north [than Guangzhou], in the vicinity of the modern Chinese Province of Zhejiang, almost half way up the coast of what is today China!” (2011: 9).

Tellingly, it is also noted by Holcombe that, “Early Chinese texts, in fact, referred to most of what is now southeast China as the land of the ‘Hundred Viets,'” (2011: 9).

A snapshot of modern-day Zhejiang Province in southeast China. Notice the province of Anhui directly northwest. These locations were once the homes of several Viet groups before the arrival of the Chinese.

Holcombe also spends some time in his book briefly talking about one specific tribe of the Hundred Viets. These are the Mountain Viets (in Chinese, “Shan Yue”), who occupied the lower Yangtze River area, and who took their last stand against the Chinese kingdom of Wu before being defeated in the third century AD (2011: 62).

During the “Three Kingdoms” era in Chinese history, the Kingdom of Wu waged a military campaign against the Mountain Viets. This campaign started in the year 234 AD, lasted for three years, and culminated in the surrender of approximately 100,000 Mountain Viets at what today is modern Anhui Province in China (Holcombe 2011: 62).

From Holcombe’s account, it appears that the Mountain Viets were then assimilated into the Chinese population. After the Three Kingdoms period, the name “Mountain Viet” was not spoken of again (2011: 62).

The evidence here shows that before the Chinese came, much of what is today southern China was inhabited by the ancestors of the Vietnamese people. More specifically, it is proof that the Vietnamese people have a long and deep history that is much older and more sophisticated than is commonly believed.

4,000+ Years and counting:

Whether it be the kingdoms of Au Lac and Nam-Viet during the mid-late first millennium BC, or the Kingdom of Viet before that during the Bronze Age, it is clear that prior to the AD era, the Vietnamese people did exist.

The evidence shows that the various Viet kingdoms are connected to a larger family of ancient Viet peoples, which, together, comprise the “Hundred Viets” race.

The Dong Son Bronze Drum is a known symbol of Vietnamese antiquity. This photo was taken at the Vietnam History Museum, and posted to Wikimedia Commons on April 13, 2009 by Binh Giang (Public Domain).

The Hundred Viets occupied vast areas of both East Asia and Southeast Asia, reaching from what is northern Vietnam today, all the way through modern-day southern China up to the Yangtze River.

While further research continues to provide more clarity on just how old the Vietnamese people are, current findings show that they have existed for at least 4,000 years.

Not bad.

Cited:

Holcombe, Charles. A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilization to the Twenty-First Century. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2011.

Kim, Nam C. The Origins of Ancient Vietnam. New York: Oxford University Press. 2015.

Pacific This Week: Trump Calls Out “Wacko” China Official, Pompeo Defends Ally Australia, Hong Kong in Trouble

Posted in I. News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2020 by Ian Pham

There’s a lot of stuff happening in the Pacific. Twitter is weirder than ever. Here are some things that happened in Pacific politics this past week. Thank God for President Trump.

China Tries to Blame Everyone But Itself for the Pandemic It Created. President Trump Calls Them Out.

On Wednesday morning, President Donald J. Trump sent out a tweet ripping an unnamed Chinese official for trying to shift blame to other countries for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tweet came as a response to the latest blame-shifting statement by China, as part of its aggressive propaganda campaign to blind the world to the fact that the novel coronavirus, also known as the Chinese coronovirus and the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, originated from China in the city of Wuhan.

Trump’s tweet reads:

Some wacko in China just released a statement blaming everybody other than China for the Virus which has now killed hundreds of thousands of people. Please explain to this dope that it was the “incompetence of China”, and nothing else, that did this mass Worldwide killing!

China has been condemned by the U.S. as negligent and incompetent in its handling of the spread of COVID-19. There is also evidence suggesting that China knew of the virus and decided not to inform the world when it could have.

China Threatens Australia for Wanting COVID-19 Investigation. Secretary Pompeo Says U.S. Stands With Australia.

Australia asked for an independent inquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus, and for obvious reasons, China was angry about it.

In response to Australia’s call for the investigation, China threatened Australia with economic retaliation. Sanctions on Australian beef and barley were implemented by China, but the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is choosing not to interpret the act as economic retaliation by China.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sounded off on China’s threats to Australia, saying that: “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) chose to threaten Australia with economic retribution for the simple act of asking for an independent inquiry into the origins of the virus… It’s not right.”

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers remarks to Stanford University students at The Hoover Institution, Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California on January 13, 2020. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha / Public Domain]

On behalf of the U.S., Pompeo made it clear that: “We stand with Australia and the more than 120 nations now who have taken up the American call for an inquiry into the origins of the virus, so we can understand what went wrong and save lives now, and in the future.”

China Threatens Hong Kong with New “National Security” Measures. U.S. Pushes Back, Warns China of “Strong Response.”

After two years of two years of pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, the despotic Chinese Communist Party has decided to take heavy action against the semi-autonomous city and its people.

This past week, China announced that it will be “reviewing” a new law allowing the communist government to crack down on freedom of expression and other fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong.

Beijing describes the dictatorial measures as “establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security.”

The U.S. has rebuked China’s actions, with State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus saying, “Any effort to impose national security legislation that does not reflect the will of the people of Hong Kong would be highly destabilizing, and would be met with strong condemnation from the United States and the international community.”

Furthermore, National Security Advisor to the Trump Administration, Robert O’Brien, on Fox News’ “The Story,” gave a lengthy condemnation of China’s attack on Hong Kong’s freedom:

The Communist Party of China agreed with the United Kingdom back in 1997 that for 50 years after the turnover of Hong Kong to China that the people of Hong Kong would enjoy a capitalist system and their way of life that encompasses rule of law, freedom of speech... Unfortunately, some 27 years early, the Chinese Communist Party has decided that there's too much freedom in Hong Kong and they don't want to allow them to have their way of life or their capitalist system... If China moves forward and takes strong action under this new national security law against the people of Hong Kong, America will respond. I think other countries in the world will respond, including the United Kingdom and many other of our allies and friends.

President Trump himself has commented on the matter, saying that, in regards to the measures themselves, “nobody knows yet” how things will play out, but, “If it happens, we’ll address that issue very strongly.”

Trump has often expressed support for the people of Hong Kong in their opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

In late November of 2019, in the midst of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Trump sent Beijing into a panic by signing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would allow the U.S. to sanction officials in China and Hong Kong if they violate human rights in Hong Kong.

Trump also signed a second bill prohibiting the “export to Hong Kong police of certain nonlethal munitions, including tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, water cannons, stun guns and tasers.”

Responding to Trump’s signing of the bills, protesters in Hong Kong held a special “Thanksgiving Rally,” honoring the President and his support for their cause. Protestors at the rally waved posters of Trump’s face, superimposed on Sylvester Stallone’s body in the role of Rocky Balboa.

As humorous as the photo was, Hong Kong protesters attached significant meaning to the posters, declaring the image as a “depiction of American resolve against China.”

Naturally, Trump tweeted the picture to troll his haters.

And naturally, his haters got offended, outraged, mad, and sad.

Thank God for President Trump.

*****

TYPO CORRECTION: I mistakenly wrote “province of Wuhan” when I meant to write “city of Wuhan.” The typo has been fixed 🙂 .

Chinese Officials Tried To Strong-Arm the U.S. During Trump’s November 2017 Visit — General Kelly and the Boys Threw Down, Because America

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , on March 5, 2018 by Ian Pham

John KellyU.S. Chief of Staff, and former General in the United States Marine Corps, John F. Kelly. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

This event took place during President Donald J. Trump’s visit to China in November of 2017. The small incident was kept hush-hush by both sides, on China’s end probably because of shear shame and embarrassment, while on the U.S. side likely because they don’t care. Not very many people knew about the “scuffle” until February 2018, when Axios’ Jonathan Swan provided the scoop on how events unfolded.

How it all went down, according to the Swan source, and subsequently reported by Fox, The Hill, CNBC, and other news outlets, are as follows.

On November 9, 2017, President Trump was in Beijing, China, as part of his Asia tour.

At the capital city’s “Great Hall of the People,” where President Trump and company were paying a visit, Chinese officials blocked the way of one U.S. military aide from entering the premises. The American official in question was holding an important briefcase, the “nuclear football,” pivotal for the authorization and launch of a nuclear strike.

According to The Hill, “The nuclear football is the black briefcase containing the nuclear launch codes for the president. The aide carrying it is required to remain close to the president at all times.”

In response to Chinese obstruction, another American official ran to inform U.S. Chief of Staff, former U.S. Marine General John Kelly, of the situation.

Kelly, who was in a nearby room, promptly arrived on the scene and instructed the Americans to go on through.

“We’re moving in,” were the words of General Kelly, and the Americans pressed forward.

A Chinese official then put his hands on Kelly, grabbing him, before the former U.S. General shoved the Chinese official’s hand away.

In the next instant, a U.S. Secret Service agent got involved and tackled the Chinese official to the ground.

According to Axios, while several sources familiar with the event said that the U.S. Secret Service agent had downed the Chinese official, an official statement by the U.S. Secret Service denies that anyone actually got knocked to the ground.

The situation de-escalated from there.

Everything happened very quickly, and it was over in an instant.

Later, the Chinese head of security detail apologized to Trump and the U.S. for the “misunderstanding.”

While the Chinese call it a “misunderstanding,” there is reason to doubt their claim. This is not the first time that China has overstepped their boundaries and tried to disrespect a visiting delegation, nor will it be the last.

In December of 2017, only one month after the quiet kerfuffle with the Trump delegation, Chinese guards were caught on video beating a South Korean journalist during South Korean president Moon Jae-In’s visit to Beijing. It is said that the guards were acting under direct orders from the Chinese police.

Much further back, in September of 2016, the Chinese pulled a stunt on then-U.S. president Barack Obama as well.

During the 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, then-president Obama was denied a red carpet welcome and a staircase to exit from Air Force One. As a result, Obama had to come out through a side door of his plane, “the ass” of Air Force One, before navigating his own way to the red carpet. Below, Chinese officials were clashing with Obama administration officials, with the host nation screaming at the Americans, “This is our country! This is our airport!”

The entire incident was said to be a “calculated diplomatic snub,” designed to deliberately insult and make the U.S. look weak. All the other world leaders at Hangzhou, including Britain’s Theresa May, India’s Narendra Modi, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, had received a red carpet welcome, staircase and all. The only, only country not to receive this formal courtesy was the United States and Obama. In classic Obama fashion, he just took it quietly, downplayed the insult, put a positive spin on his own feeble response, and let the Chinese get away with it.

Luckily, with Trump in the White House, this sort of thing doesn’t fly anymore. When commenting on the fiasco in 2016, then-candidate Trump was mocked by liberals for calling out China and saying he would have left if the Chinese treated him that way. Looking back now, it seems Trump knew exactly what he was talking about.

In the case of Obama, the Chinese were loud, obnoxious, and audacious about their blatant disrespect of the United States.

With President Trump, and the smackdown laid by General John Kelly and the U.S. delegation, the Chinese apologized, and quietly hoped that the Americans will not mention the event. According to the Swan source, U.S. officials were “asked to keep quiet about the incident,” but it is not specified in the report who had made that request.

Strong leadership. It makes a difference.

America.

President Trump Just Approved Plan for U.S. Navy’s Increased Flexibility in the South China Sea, Which is Great

Posted in Opinions, Politics with tags , , , , , on July 22, 2017 by Ian Pham

Donald Trump, South China Sea(Sunday Express)

Yes, I fully support this move, for obvious reasons.

It’s no secret my views on China. The rude, disrespectful, and uncivil conduct on the international stage, the constant blatant violations of international law, the groveling, whining, and playing the victim when they get caught and called out for expansionism, espionage, and encroaching on other nations’ sovereignties, and so much more. Plus, China is a totalitarian dictatorship that kidnaps, terrorizes, and murders anyone who speaks out against the Chinese government’s crimes against humanity. And, there’s also the little matter of them evidently trying to invade Vietnam, doing so by currently destroying Vietnam’s environment including forests, highlands, coastal waters, etc., killing off Vietnam’s food supply, poisoning Vietnam’s water supply, sending in staggering numbers of undocumented Chinese “workers,” and many more things beyond the scope of this article. There’s also that. So, yes, I am not a fan of China.

China is a threat to international stability and peace, and is, by these measures, a threat to the free world and liberal democracies everywhere.

For this reason, I argue that U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent approval of a plan that allows the U.S. Navy more flexibility to act and react to happenings in the South China Sea is a very, very good thing.

As reported by The Times of India:

US President Donald Trump approved a plan giving the country’s navy greater freedom in operating in the South China Sea and put pressure on China’s efforts to enlarge its military presence by artificially building reefs and atolls in the area.

The move is seen as a challenge to Beijing’s maritime claims over most of the South China Sea and its attempts to overrule overlapping claims by five other countries, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines.

The US move will keep China’s expanding navy busy in the South China Sea and make it difficult for Beijing to deal with its territorial disputes with other countries such as India and Japan…

The new plan, which was submitted by US defence secretary Jim Mattis, involves a full-year schedule of when US navy ships will sail through contested waters.

It seems that under the new U.S. president, China will no longer be able to freely violate international law, throw its weight around without consequence, and make a mockery of international cooperation in a shamefully belittling way that only China is capable of doing.

As per usual, China is employing their time-tested strategy of playing the victim and complaining vociferously while at the same time ignoring all claims and evidence of their wrongdoing.

According to Business Insider:

China has responded forcefully to US incursions into the region, telling the US the moves were provocative and that they must ask permission, which doesn’t align with international law or UN conventions.

“China’s military will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and regional peace and stability,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in response to US bombers flying in the region.

While at the same time (ibid)…

Over the last few years, China has ambitiously built up islands on reefs and atolls in the South China Sea and militarized them with radar outposts, military-grade runways, and shelters for missile defenses.

Military analysts believe China hopes to expand its air defense and identification zone into the western Pacific and build a blue-water navy to rival the US’s, but six other countries also lay claim to parts of the region.

Seriously, how stupid does China think the rest of the world is?

You remember in elementary school, there was that kid who tried to steal your chocolate milk on the playground, but then ran away crying and snitching to the teacher after you got up and broke his nose? That kid is China. China is the crying snitch with the broken nose.

Always plotting, stealing, and sabotaging other nations, then playing the victim when they get caught or called out. That’s China. Pathetic.

I’m glad the United States is finally doing something about this China problem.

I know a lot of you may not be the biggest fans of President Trump (myself included at times), but when he does something right, credit is given where credit is due.

Get ready, East Asia, because America is back.

China Disrespects President Obama at G20 Summit, Shows China Has ‘Little Man Syndrome’

Posted in Opinions, Politics with tags , , , on September 6, 2016 by Ian Pham

Obama G20 - 2016Photo via Daily Mail

According to multiple news outlets, China, the self-proclaimed “superpower” who is demanding that everyone in the world respect them, took it upon themselves to openly “snub” President Barack Obama at the G20 summit in Hangzhou this past weekend.

The Guardian details the event as follows:

Chinese leaders have been accused of delivering a calculated diplomatic snub to Barack Obama after the US President was not provided with a staircase to leave his plane during his chaotic arrival in Hangzhou before the start of the G20.

… When Obama did find his way on to a red carpet on the tarmac below there were heated altercations between US and Chinese officials, with one Chinese official caught on video shouting: “This is our country! This is our airport!”

From the same source, Mexican official Jorge Guajardo is quoted as saying: “These things do not happen by mistake. Not with the Chinese… I’ve dealt with the Chinese for six years. I’ve done these visits… I know exactly how these things get worked out. It’s down to the last detail and everything. It’s not a mistake. It’s not.”

The Telegraph provides a similar account, adding:

“All the other world leaders appeared to have been welcomed to the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in traditional diplomatic style, treading onto a red carpet laid on a rolling airport staircase outside the main exit of the aircraft.”

If you thought this was childish, and unbecoming of anything remotely close to the realm of “superpower” behavior, or the behavior of any self-respecting man or woman, for that matter, then you’re completely right.

This behavior is not the behavior of a civilized nation, a self-respecting nation, and definitely not the behavior of a nation who assumes the role of a world superpower.

I was disappointed and irritated by the news of what the Chinese did at the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, but I wasn’t surprised. They’ve done this before, numerous times, in numerous countries, in numerous different ways.

What the Chinese did to Obama in Hangzhou is just one example of China’s belittling attitude towards the international community, and another reason why China is not a superpower. Not even close.

China is bitter, insecure, and self-conscious at the fact that they are not a superpower. As a result, they are doing whatever they can to project the appearance of superpower. Sadly for them, in trying so hard to appear “superpower-ish”, they’re making themselves look very, very small.

It takes more than military might and economic clout to be a superpower (although America smashes China in both of these areas). To be a superpower, one does require these elements, but it takes so much more.

America is a superpower, not only because of her military and economic power. She is a superpower because of her superior ideals, her belief that all are created equal, and that we are all born with a set of inalienable rights that can never be taken away from us.

America is a superpower because she stands by these ideals, because she champions these ideals, and when abroad, her representative, exemplified in the form of President of the United States of America, adheres to these ideals, no matter how lowly and contemptible her adversary is willing to sink.

There are a number of ways President Obama could have handled this situation. For him, the decision was a graceful shrug, a smile, and a step above his unruly hosts.

In response to this incident, Obama replies that he “wouldn’t overcrank the significance,” according to Australian news outlet ABC Online.

I may not agree with everything Obama has done during his time in office, but the way he carried himself during this instance was pure class.

The Chinese tried to demonstrate their “strength” by trying to embarrass Obama publicly, and he rebutted them by simply reaffirming what the Chinese have already affirmed themselves: That the leaders of China are small men, with short fuses, and little understanding of the word “respect,” for others, and for themselves.

By shrugging off this rude gesture, Obama shows the world that he is too big to be fettered by such small actions. In maintaining his dignity, patience, and stature, Obama, without as much as saying a word on the subject, clearly explains why America is the world superpower, and why China is not, and never will be.

 

U.S. Presidential Candidates and Their Stances on China

Posted in Economics, IV. Columns, Politics with tags , , , , , on August 30, 2012 by Ian Pham

As the presidential race heats up, many of us (or maybe it’s just me) are wondering what the candidates’ stance on China will be.  Mitt Romney has already made his ground clear on the matter, pledging to take a tougher position on the PRC as currency manipulators and thieves of intellectual property.  From what is shown so far, Governor Romney has taken, or promises to take a hardline stance on the Chinese, and shows no reservation on sparking a “trade war” with the Asian giant.  According to Mr. Romney, we won’t be “starting” a trade war with China, we are “already in a trade war” with China.

What about President Obama?  Prior to his presidency, Mr. Obama’s stance on China was neither friendly nor hostile.  In the words of the president (before he was president), “They’re [China] neither our enemy or our friend. They’re competitors.”  In the same statement, President Obama also stated that his presidential aims were to establish relationships with the PRC and help stabilize the region.  From this point of view, the president’s stance in previous years were less cynical, and more optimistic.  This optimism however, will change after his inauguration, and a swift change in policy would quickly follow.

President Obama would quickly learn the hard way that nice guys finish last.  After being harassed by the Chinese Navy in the Southeast Asia Sea in 2008 (the Impeccable Incident), snuffed by the Chinese leadership at the Copenhagen Summit in 2009, and the ongoing issue of currency manipulation (just to name a few), the president’s stance on China would take a turn for the strong.  After his return from Copenhagen, President Obama would sell billions of dollars in arms to Taiwan, a direct response to the Chinese after Copenhagen.  Beijing responded with waves of hostility and harsh words, which the president coyly brushed off.

This was just the start, however.  In the latter half of 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a statement in Hanoi declaring the Southeast Asia Sea a “national interest” of the United States, a statement that greatly angered the Chinese, who were desperately trying to keeping the U.S. out of Asian affairs.  The Obama administration would then release statements saying that as time goes on, the U.S.’s role in Asia would only get bigger.  Earlier this year, January 2012, the president would make promises to bring jobs back to America and launch investigations into China’s unfair trade practices.  Considering the president’s actions in the past several years, the Obama Administration’s stance has become quite clear.

Where does this leave Governor Romney?  For now, we can only say that his stance on China looks promising.  He has for a long time made strong statements in favor of punishing the Chinese for their poor conduct on the international stage.  However, one must be wary of any promises made by politicians.  This is a lesson in history.  Even President Obama has broken a few promises made during the presidential race (Guantanamo Bay, anyone?).  Who knows, it is possible that Mr. Romney will follow through on his promises of punishing the PRC for their disregarding of their colleagues in the world stage.  However, it is also a possibility that promises of economic development and favorable trade agreements with China may lure the Republican nominee away from his initial goals.  Regardless of which party, instances like this have happened before, and quite frequently in politics.

To put simply, I believe that Governor Romney makes an appealing case against Beijing.  If he were to follow through on these promises and not collapse under the many pressures that come with being the most powerful man in the world, then I am all for it.  My position on President Obama is that he has proven himself through the various actions outlined above.  Furthermore, he has shown much more teeth in dealing with the Chinese than many of the presidents before him.  For this reason, and for this particular issue, it seems more likely that our current president, Mr. Barack Obama would handle China in a more effective manner.

Nonetheless, Mr. Romney has made an attractive case in the China issue.  If he follows through on his plans, then America will benefit greatly from it.  Can Mitt Romney take the presidency from Barack Obama?  Besides China, the American economy is a big issue right now, and Governor Romney has made some strong statements about creating work for Americans.  Will President Obama be able to counter Romney’s attacks on his business credentials?  There is still a long time before election day this November, what do you think?

Standing One’s Ground… In the Sea

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by Ian Pham

Tensions have been flaring between the Philippines and China over a topic we know all too well: sovereignty in the Southeast Asia Sea.  As China continues to pursue its rapacious claims over the entire sea in Southeast Asia, one country has stepped up to challenge the Asian giant’s “indisputable” claims of “indisputable” sovereignty, which, along with every other claim China is making, are “indisputable.”  This gutsy contestation comes from China’s little neighbor to the east, the Philippines.

The incident began in early April, when Filippino authorities spotted eight Chinese naval vessels stationed near the Philippines’ Scarborough Shoal.  What followed was a four day standoff between the Philippines and China near Filippino territory, from the identification of the Chinese ships on 6 April 2012, to the near detainment of these vessels on 10 April 2012.  To this day, the diplomatic crisis between China and the Philippines remains unresolved, as neither country shows any sign of backing down.

China’s government and state-run media agencies continue to threaten the Philippines with economic and military retribution if the country continues to resist the assertions of the PRC.  China has increased, and continues to increase, the number of military vessels deployed near the disputed Scarborough islands, which the Chinese call Huangyan.  Tourism from China to the Philippines have been blocked, and the Chinese Embassy in Manila continues to accuse the Philippines of violating China’s “indisputable” sovereignty.

Meanwhile, the Filippino people have gathered in protest outside of the Chinese embassy, sending their message to the Chinese government.  They carry with them signs saying “Stop Chinese Aggression Now!”, “China Back Off!”, and the like.  The Philippines government has also taken a tough stance against the PRC, standing by their people in the face of Chinese aggression.  The country has made military purchases in preparation of armed conflict with the PRC.  Weapons have been purchased from the U.S., with further transactions planned with Japan and South Korea.

Even with these new military expenditures however, the Philippines will still be no match for China in terms of military capability.  The People’s Republic of China exponentially dwarfs the Philippines in military spending.  Materially, the Philippines does not stand a chance against China, the giant to the west.  That being said, the Philippines has taken the necessary steps to defend the rights of their people.  Though they are outclassed and outnumbered, the Philippines refuse to bow down to the demands of a foreign bully, putting them leaps and bounds above the Communists in Vietnam.

Unlike the Communists in Vietnam, who refuse to stand up to the terrorist activities of the Chinese navy, the Philippines is not afraid to speak out.  When the Chinese military kidnapped and terrorized the fishermen of Vietnam, the VCP remained silent on the matter for months at a time.  Any attempt by the people of Vietnam to stand up for their fellow Vietnamese were met with heavy repression by the Communist Party in Vietnam.  Even the brief protests permitted by the Vietnamese government last summer have been quashed for fear of a vengeful PRC.  Put simply, Filippino President Benigno Aquino has resoundingly accomplished what Nguyen Tan Dung was too cowardly to follow though with.

China may be stronger than the Philippines for the time being, but the Philippines has the world on its side.  The Filippino people are fully in support of their government in defence against China, and continue to do so with no hesitation.  Furthermore, the basis of the Philippines arguments are based on international law, which follow the guidelines of the international community.  China’s rebuttal of “indisputable” historical claims remain to be proven, with the recurring term “indisputable” as their only source of defence.  As long as the Philippines stays firm in defence of its people, China will have a very difficult time in Southeast Asia.

Footage: Chinese Workers Destroying Property and Attacking Vietnamese Citizens

Posted in Economics, Politics, Society, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2011 by Ian Pham

The following is footage of one of the most severe cases of violence and destruction of Vietnamese properties at the hands of illegal Chinese laborers.  Though this incident took place quite a while ago, December 28, 2008, it is definitive to what has been happening, and still happening in Vietnam today.  The coverage and dialogue is all in Vietnamese, but worry not, for I can walk you through the entire video, right here.

This particular incident took place in the province of Thanh Hoa, at a local business owned by Mr. Nguyen Van Den, on December 28, 2008.  In the interview with Mr. Den, he clearly outlines how the incident went down. Six Chinese laborers entered his convenience store, opened up some packaged goods of his, and refused to pay.  When confronted by Mr. Den’s wife, a fight broke out between her and the Chinese.  When Mr. Den intervened to stop the altercation and protect his wife, the Chinese goons attacked him as well.

It did not end there however.  When the Chinese goons returned, their entourage had grown from six to forty, their only purpose to rip the store apart and further terrorize the shop owner.  The outcome, total pandemonium as Mr. and Mrs. Nguyen were violently beaten by a mob of foreign delinquents.  The angry mob grew even larger as the riot went on, from 40 to 200 illegal workers.  Not only did they destroy Den’s store completely, but they didn’t feel satisfied until his whole family was black and blue.  Den’s business was ruined as a result, his family, and even some of his neighbors and friends were left bloody and bruised on the street.

Around the three minute mark of the video, the interview switches to the Vietnamese police chief, Nguyen Nhu Nhan, who, shamefully enough, is trying to rationalize the incident on the Chinese’s behalf.  He was defending the Chinese in the incident, accusing the shopkeeper of being the aggressor. Furthermore, Nhan outlines the events of other such incidents up to that point, taking the Chinese side on all of the events, claiming that they were the victims in each situation.  This police chief is a prime example of a Communist lapdog, bowing down to China and turning his back on his own people.

It is a sad, sad truth that many Vietnamese citizens have to put up with this kind of harassment from these violent foreigners every single day. The scale of violence may vary depending on the incident, this was probably one of the worst cases.  Regardless of the degree of destruction, such reckless and violent behavior should never be condoned by the Vietnamese government.  Even if one Vietnamese citizen was subjected to this kind of treatment, the government should come to their defense without a hint of hesitation.  Sadly, this is not the case.  As you have seen, the Vietnamese police were completely useless in the matter.  They are only good for one thing, suppressing the Vietnamese people.  This time, the Chinese are already doing it for them, so they don’t have to lift a finger.  Vietnamese Communists.  Shame.

Going Bankrupt?

Posted in Economics, Politics with tags , , , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by Ian Pham

Here is something that I hope many of you will find interesting.  There is word going around from some analysts, suggesting that the Communist Party of Vietnam is going bankrupt.  This is more than speculation, but since the Communist system is built upon nothing but lies, it is a very real possibility.  How can this be?  Isn’t Vietnam one of Asia’s second fastest growing economies, only behind China, with an annual GDP growth of 7-8%?  Maybe, but maybe not.

Let’s talk about China for a moment.  It is widely believed that the Chinese economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.  Strong GDP figures, healthy numbers on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and so on.  But hold on a minute, how do we know that these figures are what the Chinese Communists say they are?  An article by Taipen Daily editor Justice Litle puts these figures directly into question.

According to Litle, many of China’s claims to economic growth are strongly exaggerated, even to the point of outright fabrication.  In his article, “China Has Reason to be Terrified” (February 25, 2011), Litle goes over the discrepancies in China’s statistics on economic growth, looking at the reasons why the numbers just don’t add up.  To further strengthen his argument, Litle quotes the words of a Li Kequiang, China’s prominent political insider, who refers to the statistical figures as “man-made” and “for references only.”  To summarize, it is possible that the stats for China’s economic growth, as released by Beijing, may be completely untrue.  Though we may not be able to prove it yet, the ferocity of China’s economic growth may be fabricated. Furthermore, it is possible that the country is more of a paper tiger than is generally perceived.

Let’s now look back at Communist Vietnam, who, to the chagrin of your’s truly, always seems to be following in Beijing’s footsteps.  Nowadays, it is believed that Vietnam is the new up-and-coming economy in Asia, with a strong annual growth and ever-increasing market strength.  This general perception, like that of China’s, may also be nothing but pure bull.  Not only is Vietnam’s economy not what its leaders claim it to be, but its condition may actually be worse.  Exponentially worse, as a matter of fact.  Unlike China, who may still have the investment and economic clout to sustain itself, the smaller economy of Vietnam might not even have enough money to keep its economy afloat for much longer.  As a matter of fact, many believe that Vietnam’s economy is set to collapse in the not-too-distant future, taking the Communists with it.

It seems that the Communist regime is not as sustainable as the fools hoped it would be.  Vietnam’s Communist dictators are starting to run out of steam, taking so much money out of the economy that the system itself is now in jeopardy.  Though it is not positively certain that the Communists are on their way out, one should still feel joy in the possibility that their impending collapse may happen very soon.  Vietnam is in need of a revolution, and this need grows steadily stronger with time.  Double digit inflation is plaguing the Vietnamese economy, and this new evidence of statistical fabrication only strengthens the possibility that the Communists are losing grip of their own system.  This may be the breaking point of the Communist regime.  It is obvious that they’ve pushed the people too far, but it seems that they are pushing the system to the limit as well.  It is only a matter of time now, Vietnam’s revolution may not be far away.