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The coming conflict over Taiwan

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,051 ✭✭✭ Yurt2


    Can't think of a more miserable place to host a Winter Olympics. Beijing is awful in winter: colder than a witches tit, polluted (I presume they'll shut down industry and power plants to prevent this - although there is pressure on the power grid so that may be fun), little in the way of snow so it won't exactly be a winter wonderland, and a lot of the events will be over 100km away from the city.

    Throw in the fact that 99% of international fans will be prevented from attending and you'll have a crap games in any case.



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,499 ✭✭✭✭ klaz


    We really should be hoping that it goes ahead without a hitch. The Olympics are an incredible drain on resources, and every nation to do them for the last few decades has come out with massive financial losses. China doing the Olympics puts a strain on an economy that's already struggling, with very few actual benefits. Having Japan before them, means that they'll pull out all the stops to outdo them.. so, expect serious repercussions to the Chinese economy after the events are finished.

    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle 



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,087 ✭✭✭ Peterteanh


    Ya, it's a pity though but I think Biden is right this time. I still hope to visit one day.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,087 ✭✭✭ Peterteanh


    Ya, I'm sure the government will make sure a good spectacle happens no matter what. There is so much shite going on in the world now it might go fairly unnoticed compared to normal. Who knows 😀

    I do wonder if the Olympics will even exist as they do now in a decade or two. Lots of countries losing interest in hosting them due to the economics involved.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,051 ✭✭✭ Yurt2


    Beijing is a good place to visit but not in winter or the height of summer. Plenty to see and do for 5 or so days. To generalise though, Beijingers are dog rough. They're at the centre of the Chinese world and boy don't they let you know it, the only real place in China where the politics of the communist party gets overbearing. Their accent would make you wince as well.

    Much nicer places to go in China. Yunnan and Sichuan would be top of my list. Honourable mention to Qinghai for a taste of Tibet (interior Sichuan for this also).



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  • Registered Users Posts: 15,499 ✭✭✭✭ klaz


    I can't agree. Beijing is huge.. and draws in people from all over China. What do you mean by dog rough?

    I spent a year working in Beijing, before I moved to Xi'an. Personally, I quite liked most of the people I met there (similar to my experience with the rest of China), the only real issue being the pollution, and the traffic. Take those two problems away from Beijing, and I probably would have stayed. As for the accent, I quite liked the rolling R's put to Mandarin. There are plenty of dialects way worse throughout the country. I'd also add another 5 days on top of your original 5 to stay in BJ. Grab an actual local, and hit the food streets. You could have a blast for a week just wandering the back streets, eating street food, drinking on corners, and talking to all kinds of people.


    Sichuan is a great spot, stick with Chengdu, and avoid Chongqing (since Chengdu does it all better.. although if you're LGBT then CQ is better). Personally, I love Shaanxi, which is why I stayed there for a decade. Would also recommend the area around Zhuhai in the south. Shenzhen is also worth some time, just to see the duality of Chinese modernisation (Shanghai/GZ are just too big to really appreciate in the same way)

    China is definitely worth a visit.. although I would suggest leaving western standards behind at the border. You'll have a much better time if you're not comparing/judging everything you see.. which is particularly true for the food you'd encounter. Still.. I suspect you'd have a blast there (judging by your posts you seem an openminded kind of person). TBH most of the dodgy people I met in China were Westerners, rather than Chinese people... Western tourists and expats can ruin your experience in China if you're not careful with who you spend time with.

    There are serious negatives with regards to China as a nation, especially with it's government.. but the Chinese people can be, just, wonderful. Incredibly frustrating at times, but it's an experience worth having. I've never regretted living there.

    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle 



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,051 ✭✭✭ Yurt2


    Beijingers(老北京人)= patriotism that frequently spills over into nationalism, I was once subject to an unsolicited drunken rant from a middle-aged man about how America has no history and China has 5000 years (didn't have the heart to tell him I wasn't American, the 5000 years thing is historical bunk and the Greeks have them beat); weird paranoia about spies including warning posters on public transport about Chinese women not to consort with foreign men; cops raiding foreigner frequented bars and drug testing all the laowai for the hell of it (wasn't into that scene, but still); shabby urban environment and a lot of the character of the city has been bulldozed for gaudy overpriced apartment blocks. Basically, the people aren't chill, their accent is awful, too much politics and waves of anti-foreigner nonsense when the local government feels like it. It's also not a good value for money city, it's as expensive as Seoul or Tokyo for most things bar the local hole-in-the-wall food without any of the class of those cities. Also, one of the last reliable boltholes of international culture, the Bookworm (ran by a suitably grumpy Irishman) was forced out of business. Partly for real estate reasons, partly it is suggested the place hosted authors and artistic events that made the party uncomfortable.

    There's still enough of old-Beijing left to make it worth a trip for a newcomer to China, but it's by far my least favourite major city in China. Wouldn't be rushing back there for any reason.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,702 ✭✭✭ recode the site


    You’ll not get a better place to enjoy Beijing Duck! Goes well washed down with a native red.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,702 ✭✭✭ recode the site


    Re the Beijing regional accent, it’s distinctive! You are right on that. Described as rhotic, I got an introduction to Mandarin from a guide there. He had a stunning grasp of Irish & Celtic affairs without ever having stepped foot in Ireland and introduced himself as “Donchada is ainm dom”, maybe the most intelligent individual I ever encountered. Went on to a university in Wales for post grad Celtic studies. The accent reminds me of West Country England.



  • Registered Users Posts: 30,226 ✭✭✭✭ Gatling


    Sounds very East Germany from the 50's onwards only with a massive dose of steroids



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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,702 ✭✭✭ recode the site


    Re “dog rough” Chinese people, I came across them on a cruise I will not forget. Having toured the regions of Beijing & Shanghai, where people were absolutely 100% fine, a part of my tour package was around 2012 was a 5 day cruise to Fukuoka & Nagasaki in Japan with a stop in Jeju, South Korea. It was one of the most godamn awful experiences I ever had in my life as majority of Chinese Han people on board were uncouth to an extreme degree. I won’t even go into it too much but one lovely young Chinese couple from Hong Kong got their 2 year old child kicked in a lift on board ship.

    It had nothing to do with them being “Chinese”, everything to do with their social/education level. Hong Kong people, Taiwan people and others were asking “where do these people come from? They are insane!” It was like a ship full of Dublin antisocial whackers on board, and the Chinese Cruise Director shared a little diplomatic info with some of us who complained. “They have worked manually for years, they have no education but now have the money to cruise”.

    One notable things was, none of those anti-social brigade drank a single drop of alcohol. Would have been even worse if they did. Instead they occupied the casino. The bars/cafes were empty but for a few foreign stragglers who enjoyed a quiet chat.

    Trying to re-board the ship after a delightful stop in Nagasaki where we were advised to address the bus driver correctly (his status being due respect), it was absolute bedlam with literally savage people head butting their way back onto ship. It was so unpleasant I decided to abandon my shore trip in South Korea.

    Back in Shanghai had a mature, very wise and highly educated local guide. She explained diplomatically, in a most beautifully humble way, the background of the people we had encountered.

    “From the experience you related to me I am ashamed of my nation. I need to tell you why the people you met were so badly behaved”. She went on to tell us how these mainly 40 something people were from rural areas, where education had been sparse. They worked hard & had built up savings enough to undertake a trip to Japan, but had few basic social skills.

    In a country of that sheer magnitude anybody’s experience could parallel my own, but it would be true to say that modern market forces have probably done little to preserve ye old Confucius-tic philosophies.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,051 ✭✭✭ Yurt2


    There's quite a bit of freedom to be had there until there isn't. It comes in waves - from what I understand the last few years under the Xi era haven't been fun for people working and doing business in Beijing, and that's not even to speak of those working in diplomacy for countries that the party considers 'adversarial'. Knew some grizzled journalists of the old-school type covering China for many years, most have gone home as they're simply not allowed do their jobs anymore (and it was always difficult).

    There's a Chinese proverb: 天高皇帝远 'Heaven is high and the Emperor is far away'. Basically, the further away from Beijing you are, the more you can get away with. Has always been true for China, when the hammer falls and the party feels paranoid, it falls on Beijing first.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,051 ✭✭✭ Yurt2


    It all sounds very familiar! In fairness, the country has come an awful long way over the last couple of decades. My first time in China, and the trip that got me hooked on the place, was a multi-week train journey around the country many years ago. This was before the high-speed rail network or internal air travel took off, so all sorts of classes from country bumpkins to urban educated would pile-in on sleeper trains. Some of the wild and uncouth behaviour I saw on those journeys I wont get into. I've seen all of the bodily fluids either excreted, projected or spilled on those iron cross-country trains of doom!

    Could talk for yards about the place, and I've bored the sh*te out of a few Irish friends trying to explain the weirdness of China.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,702 ✭✭✭ recode the site


    It sure is the most extreme of places if you’ve experienced culture beyond urban Beijing/Shanghai etc! Not unexpected considering the magnitude of the place, but I was back then stunned and made curious by it!

    I have a relative who was a very connected diplomatic to Chinese matters, but I suspect maybe even they didn’t quite grasp the full diversity of Chinese society.

    Post edited by recode the site on


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,499 ✭✭✭✭ klaz


    Beijingers(老北京人)= patriotism that frequently spills over into nationalism

    To be fair, that's the case with the vast majority of Chinese people I've encountered on the mainland. Their culture, and the conditioning they receive demands it of them to be that way. I've known people who were westernised in everything from feminism to LGBQT.. and yet, mention Tibet or Taiwan, and you see the shutters go down around their brains/ears, and they're ready to start foaming in the mouth in response. I've seen students of mine who I've had throughout their whole graduate period of four years, just flip on a slight comment about Chinese nationalism and their perceived borders. You really can't tell when it comes to Chinese people, because you've no idea just how extensive their conditioning has been. Even my ex, who I adore, and knew for a very long time, could flip suddenly when it came to these things, and she'd spent time abroad... and was one of the most westernised Chinese people I've known.

    As for the 5k years of Chinese history... ahh.. Chinese logic. I know people seem to think there's only one kind of logic, but I doubt they've ever lived in China. The mental flips in logic, and double standards applied boggles the mind sometimes. Still, I've always found it amusing since it's so easy to poke holes in their reasoning, and I've never hesitated in doing so. Naturally avoiding the trinity of sensitive topics, but everything else is fair game.

    There's still enough of old-Beijing left to make it worth a trip for a newcomer to China, but it's by far my least favourite major city in China. Wouldn't be rushing back there for any reason.

    Oh I agree... but then I don't like any of the Tier 1 cities. They're all superficial monstrosities, and everyone is out to scam one another. Ugh. Money, money, money. I've always preferred the tier 2 cities... the scam mindset is still there but not everywhere, and it's relatively easy to avoid. Also a greater degree of honesty, and quite welcoming people.

    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle 



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,499 ✭✭✭✭ klaz


    It had nothing to do with them being “Chinese”, everything to do with their social/education level. Hong Kong people, Taiwan people and others were asking “where do these people come from? They are insane!” It was like a ship full of Dublin antisocial whackers on board, and the Chinese Cruise Director shared a little diplomatic info with some of us who complained. “They have worked manually for years, they have no education but now have the money to cruise”.

    Actually, it's everything to do with being Chinese. First off, Chinese people (younger gen seem marginally better) are horrible tourists, and have zero respect for anything. Something seems to happen to them once they join one of their tour groups, or enter a hotel area, and they just turn into monsters.

    Secondly, most of the wealthy in China (apart from the old families, and the political elites) came from poor families who owned land in desirable areas of cities. The land was bought up by the government/businesses (in the 70s/80s), and suddenly these families became enormously wealthy.. with little idea of how to become sophisticated. The parents/grandparents would be peasants with that mindset (don't think working class.. think lower), their children raised on having loads of money.. and little in the way of common sense or respect for others. <Shudders> I did a stint mingling with the truly wealthy in Xian and Shenzhen, and I'm not in a rush to return there. Fun for a few weeks, but God no, horrible people.

    In a country of that sheer magnitude anybody’s experience could parallel my own, but it would be true to say that modern market forces have probably done little to preserve ye old Confucius-tic philosophies.

    Confucius type behavior doesn't equal courtesy to non-Chinese people. We are less than human in the minds of many Chinese people. It's just how they were raised, and in many ways, Confucius's philosophies contributed to such a worldview.

    How do I put this...? Chinese people will talk forever about how polite "Chinese people" are. And in the next second, loudly cough up phlegm, and spit on the ground beside your feet. That's mostly the area of older people and males. Young women typically won't spit like that unless they're from the countryside.

    Chinese society is very layered. I've known people with class A manners, and those who had horrible manners. There's a wide spectrum of behavior and attitudes, often with conflicting positions, where you might find a racist with perfect manners, but a helpful sweet old guy with terrible manners. A huge population, varied educational standards or access, and massive inequalities ensure that people in China are not easy to categorise. Unless you do it the way Chinese people do. Country people, City people. Those from the North, and those from the South. And the stereotypes abound... and people are expected to conform to those stereotypes.

    Still.. I like young people in China. There's potential there for them to be different, and better than the generations that went before. Although, I've also seen that potential squashed quite a few times, with the person turning into a clone of the "good traditional Chinese person" routine.

    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle 



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,499 ✭✭✭✭ klaz


    I suspect maybe even they didn’t quite grasp the full diversity of Chinese society.

    I don't think, anyone who is not Chinese, can.

    As foreigners, even if we're fluent in Mandarin, are kinda cocooned within Chinese society, where the Chinese themselves decide what we should be exposed to... and whether there's someone who can explain what's going on, in a way we might appreciate (and still, it might be all lies). I've lost count of the cultural references I've been told to be true and then found out later that it was all rubbish.

    Chinese people love to project an image of what China and Chinese society represents... and it's rarely real. It's fun though, trying to figure it all out, and not as complicated as I expected (at least what I understand is going on in Shaanxi... which wouldn't be accurate for Sichuan)

    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle 



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,702 ✭✭✭ recode the site


    I’m laughing here at Chinese categorising of people. Yep. Yep. Yep! My guide said “and here you see the Local Gardaí and you wonder what they do… we’ll they are looking at the car registrations and determining if the drivers are Jackeens or Culchies. Today is Jackeens Day so the Culchies you see being stopped are being sent home.

    That was the Beijing guide. The Shanghai guide admitted to half of China being totally uncivilised. I mean with gutter manners.

    I have been through all 7 continents and encountered many cultures on the planet from abject poverty to riches. In 2O20 I came through poorest areas of Namibia where cleanliness was uppermost in society and the opposite in China, except that in Beijing/Shanghai there was no graffiti or litter as commonly found in most societies, even ones like Crete where cars are left safe in villages with keys in ignition.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,087 ✭✭✭ Peterteanh


    Headline in today's Guardian:

    China says Australia, UK and US will ‘pay price’ for Winter Olympics action.


    Not sure what the "price" is yet. Have Ireland announced any diplomatic boycott or are we staying quiet or perhaps we are waiting for an overall EU response?





  • Registered Users Posts: 1,975 ✭✭✭ XsApollo


    Lithuania are in a spot of bother with them also.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,087 ✭✭✭ Peterteanh


    Ya, they seem to have really gone out on a limb. They could be in trouble, I wouldn't expect Germany to back them up too aggressively when they need the Chinese market so badly.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,051 ✭✭✭ archer22


    The cost of running the games will be chickenfeed to China, they are able to pour trillions into projects such as the belt and road for example.

    BTW why do you go to China a country you obviously wish ill to?

    And if it's such a "police state" how come people like you are allowed to work there and as you have stated previously in education no less!...doesn't add up!



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,975 ✭✭✭ XsApollo


    They went out on a limb back in 1989-1990 too.

    there a few more Eastern European countries increasing ties with Taiwan that will get them in trouble too.

    they seem to have more solidarity with Taiwan due to their own experience with the USSR.

    hopefully it will be too many for the EU to ignore.



  • Registered Users Posts: 30,226 ✭✭✭✭ Gatling


    They stopped Croatia selling weapons to them in the last few years ,and then they stopped all Croatian businesses going to Taiwan , those cheap loans came with a lot of small print giving China a fairly large say in who and where you can do business with



  • Registered Users Posts: 424 ✭✭  Cognitive Dissident


    The question is - will it be acceptable for the West to allow China to take Taiwan?

    The ideological battle against authoritarianism/ communism seems to have lost its zeal when everyone relies on everyone else for profits and increasing standards of living.

    There is the problem of Taiwan currently producing the most advanced microchip technology, something that would give China a strong military advantage if they had access to it.

    Then there is reality of every country potentially getting involved in such a war being armed with nukes. The risk of war might be too great.



  • Registered Users Posts: 21,554 ✭✭✭✭ Kermit.de.frog


    I guess the calculation of China and Russia today is that we, in the west, are too comfortable with our lives to risk conflict.

    Whereas a big portion of their people know real hardship, are closer to it and are just tougher.

    So China takes Taiwan and Russia takes Ukraine. But that's just the start of the slippery slope imo.

    Look at what appeasement led to before WW2.

    Give them an inch and they'll take a mile and they'll keep taking it until suddenly it's on our doorstep.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,975 ✭✭✭ XsApollo


    Yea, they are a bunch of wan*kers alright.

    In the last few years resentment is growing and growing towards China and it has nothing to do with Taiwan really, except that it is an issue to highlight that.

    A tribunal today has Said China is guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims, which really if that doesn’t force a change of Tac from Europe and The US then I think nothing will.



  • Registered Users Posts: 30,226 ✭✭✭✭ Gatling


    But just as russia kept the FIFA world cup after they invaded and occupied parts of Ukraine , China gets to keep the Olympics and other global events while parading on the worlds stage as a country of saints , whats a little genocide between friends in UN , but we will forever hear well America did this and America did that ,



  • Registered Users Posts: 674 ✭✭✭ matchbox2021


    Most people that were criticizing the CCP regime for the last few years were called 'trumpists'. Its very fashionable to criticize the US, gets you lots of virtue points.

    I know if given the choice where I'd like to live.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,227 ✭✭✭ joseywhales


    Yeah sometimes I see people drone on about the us being the cause of all the geo political issues and wars on the planet. Countries like the us and china are incomparable in terms of personal liberty. I can call Biden, the government, either party , every name under the sun and write about it, publish it in the us whether it's an evidence based opinion or not. Noone from the us government will care. I don't think I would get away with the same in China. That alone tells me which country I want to have more influence in the world. Furthermore there is a lot about us democracy that I dislike(for example I would love to see ranked choice voting for federal elections to help break the two party stranglehold), however it is miles apart from totalitarian regimes, there is still universal suffrage(with some gerrymandering) and the government still represents the people. I have no idea what the people of China want for example, we only see the will of ccp. This is also a huge strategic strength for the US. You could wipe out the political leadership in the US in a strike but it makes little difference, in a couple of hours the chain of command would be re-established, the leaders replaceable with little power struggle. There are strengths to democracy that we don't see tested in the modern era, mainly that it's rule based on consensus and not just authority.



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