China Japan

Chenggang Rui on China and Japan

Chenggang Rui
I first met Chenggang Rui at the 2006 Asia Society Young Leaders Summit in Seoul. I had no idea he was younger than me as he had a self-confidence of years beyond his actual age.
The NY Times has a long profile of Chenggang: Capitalism Finds Voice in China TV. It’s a good read and covers a the Starbucks in the Forbidden City issue that became a hot topic right after I had met him in late 2006.
What’s more interesting about Chenggang for me is that he has very thoughtful views on Japan, which is not that common in China (at least on the Chinese Internet.) ESWN has a great translation of a post from Chenggang’s blog from September 2006 where he discusses his views on Japan.

Japan is a country that is closest to us but one about which we least understand. Most of our young people know much more about the European and American countries than Japan. Of course, Japan is not an easy country to understand, and there are two sides to the Japanese people. But from the viewpoint of a third person, Japan is no more difficult to understand than China. The problem is not that Japan cannot be understood. Instead, the issue is whether we are willing to try to understand. (Ruth Benedict’s <The Chrysanthemum and The Sword> and Lai Xiao’er’s are excellent books).

Those foreign friends who have visited China told me almost without exception that China was more splendid and better than they imagined. A trip to China often corrected their bad or mistaken ideas through reading too many novels. If you genuinely want to know Japan, a trip to Japan can often change many things. With this purpose, I went to visit Japan and it changed many of my previous over-simplified and subjective views.

EastSouthWestNorth: Rui Chenggang On Japan

China Internet Korea News

Nothing But Net

This is a few months late but JP Morgan’s Imran Khan has a lengthy 2009 Internet Investment Guide (or here) out that is worth reading for it’s coverage of China, Korea and Russia.

China Internet Japan Korea mobile video

Benjamin Joffe – Asia’s Best of Breed

I really enjoyed Benjamin’s newest presentation on Asian Internet businesses in comparison to Western ones.

Presentation at eComm in San Francisco in March 2009 about Asian mobile ecosystem, especially Japan, and comparisons with Apple’s iPhone and Facebook. Some extra like mobile SNS, mobile novels and various other considerations of interest.

Blogs China

MacKinnon to Obama – in Talking to China, Remember its People

Great letter to President Obama from Rebecca MacKinnon.

Just as you have used new technology to engage with the American electorate, your China policy can be greatly strengthened if you conduct a real conversation with the Chinese people. Listen as much as you talk; provide a much-needed platform for open discussion. The U.S. embassy in Beijing should build a Chinese-language website modeled after, focused not just on U.S.-China relations, but on the range of concerns and interests – from environment, to food safety, to factory safety standards, to education and real estate law — shared by ordinary Chinese and Americans. Some linguistically talented State Department employees should start blogging in Chinese. Open up the comments sections, see how the Chinese blogosphere responds, then respond to them in turn. Translate some of the Chinese conversation into English for Americans to read and react, then translate it back. Sure there will be censorship problems on the Chinese side, but if enough Chinese find the conversation important and relevant to their lives, the censors ultimately won’t be able to stop it. Nor should they want to if they’re wise – because the resulting conversation would help both governments build a more stable and rational relationship that would truly benefit the people of both countries.

Dear President Obama: in Talking to China, Remember its People

China News

CCTV Reporter’s Arrest Causes a Stir

The Wall Street Journal is reporting about a the arrest of a CCTV reporter in Beijing by policemen from Shanxi Province, China, which is newsworthy because CCTV is the Chinese Government’s official TV station: CCTV Reporter’s Arrest Causes a Stir.

I actually met this reporter last month here in Tokyo and heard her story first-hand. What is not reported on by the WSJ is a key point, the reporter, Li (which is not her real name), was not on the CCTV payroll when she was researching and reporting on this particular news item. Her tapes and reporting media were all confiscated so I’m almost positive we’ll never see that article she was going to write or the information that she had gathered.

What I was impressed by was her commitment to ethical journalism and her desire to get the story out even if she wasn’t on the CCTV payroll at that particular time. She deserves to be praised for what she did, not jailed, and Reporters Sans Frontieres should be supporting her (not to mention CCTV itself.) For all of the negative imagery there is about the media in China, especially the state-run media, I was impressed to met a young journalist who could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Woodward & Bernstein.