Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said his Chinese counterpart had threatened him that Beijing would “go to war” if Manila begins drilling for oil in the South China Sea.
.. “We do not want to quarrel with you. We want to maintain a warm relationship but if you force the issue we will go to war.”
.. Mr. Duterte has a record of inaccuracies and exaggeration.
Life in China is saturated with pretense. People feign ignorance and speak in ambiguities. Everyone in China knows that a censorship system exists, but there is very little discussion of why it exists.
.. The content offered by the Chinese state media, after its processing by political censors, is not free information. It is information that has been chosen, filtered and assigned its place, inevitably restricting the free and independent will of readers and viewers.
.. Judgments become distorted and rationality itself begins to slip away. Group behavior can become wild, abnormal and violent.
.. Whenever the state controls or blocks information, it not only reasserts its absolute power; it also elicits from the people whom it rules a voluntary submission to the system and an acknowledgment of its dominion. This, in turn, supports the axiom of the debased: Accept dependency in return for practical benefits.
.. The self-silenced majority, sycophants of a powerful regime, resentful of people like me who speak out, are doubly bitter because they know that their debasement comes by their own hand.
.. Because the censorship system needs cooperation and tacit understanding from the censored, I disagree with the common view that the censored are simply its victims. Voluntary self-censorship brings benefits to a person, and the system would not work if the voluntary aspect were not there.
.. Managers of artistic and cultural projects, though, need to do more than that; they need to show proactively that they “get it” and will accommodate the authoritarians and protect their public image. They know that if anything causes unhappiness higher up, a project, and perhaps an organization, will be scrubbed.
New York property developer Kushner Cos. launched a weekend marketing campaign for a New Jersey development, targeting major Chinese cities for wealthy individuals to invest a combined $150 million for the chance to secure U.S. immigration rights.The developer, owned by the family of Trump administration senior adviser Jared Kushner, is trying to draw investment into twin 66-floor commercial-and-residential towers called One Journal Square that would cost almost $1 billion to build, according to marketing materials. Up to 300 individuals who put $500,000 each into the project could be eligible for green cards under a U.S. investment-for-immigration program called EB-5, the materials said.
The China marketing push, being led by Mr. Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, began in Beijing on Saturday and shifted to Shanghai on Sunday.
So what explains their appeal?
“I like them because they express such positive values,” said Jia Su, a 24-year-old advertising worker in Beijing. She has followed the group since she was a university student and now manages the Weibo account of a fan club for TFBoys. “They are nice, kind, hardworking. That’s what the Japanese and Korean boy bands don’t have.”
Unlike many teenage pop stars in Japan, South Korea and elsewhere, the members of TFBoys display no signs of youthful rebellion. They decidedly do not walk on the wild side. They sing of studying hard and serving the nation. The group’s music is cheerful with upbeat lyrics, and the boys’ appearance tends toward neat outfits and sweet smiles.
.. That wholesome schoolboy image has won TFBoys love not only from Chinese fans, but also from the government. They have twice been featured on the Chinese Lunar New Year television gala staged by CCTV, the state broadcaster.
.. “One way the Chinese government controls the entertainment industry,” said Zhu Dake, a cultural critic at Tongji University in Shanghai, “is by honoring and financially rewarding those who, from the government’s perspective, are conveying positive values.”
In this case, “positive values” means not just traditional values such as filial piety, social harmony and hard work, but also deference to the party line.
.. Since South Korea agreed last year to allow the United States to install a missile defense system — called the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad — South Korean shows have been blocked from the Chinese internet, and South Korean singers and actors have been barred from Chinese television.
.. “No company can risk sponsoring a ‘bad boy’ band that might end up on the government’s blacklist,”
.. “Before the early 2000s, the mainland Chinese entertainment industry was dominated by Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Celebrities from those places were regarded as true stars,” Mr. Zou said. “But it’s different now. We have the money, and the market. What’s more, entertainment companies have learned the key to producing successful idols.”
.. “There’s a Chinese saying: At the age of 3 you can already see what a man will be like when he is old.”