The politics of the toad king

Xinze Jiang z5055861 FinalAss4 Ping Fri12

The politics of the great toad king

Politics is a quite dangerous word in China, because political power means everything in China. Different to many other countries, in China political capital is the most powerful weapon. Politicians do not rely on rich men, but rich men must rely on politicians. In China, the Chinese government controls every corner, the Chinese communist party has the greatest power, meanwhile, the party is in extremely fear of losing its power. Therefore, talking about politics in China is a quite dangerous thing, especially when you do something against the government. From the first leader Mao Zedong to his successor Deng Xiaoping, and Deng’s successor Jiang Zemin, we can easily find that old, retired politicians will not give up their power easily. With this concern and pressure, the Chinese government has a very strict censorship on the political topic. In recent years, Toad worship occurred and has become more and more influential. In this term, Toad indicates Jiang Zemin, the former president of the People’ republic of China. The worshippers are often some young people under 25. They believe that Jiang looks like a toad, and they share his funny video and funny quotes on the internet. They call Jiang as HaHa (means toad in Chinese.), and describe themselves as Hasi, which means toad fan in Chinese. This is a popular network culture, unfortunately, the Chinese government regards this as a dangerous sign, and banned toad worship by censorship machine.

 

Toad worship attracted journalists around the whole world. In the next part of my article, I will discuss two articles about Toad worship. One is from BBC News The politics of toad kings and fairy tales in China, written by Scottish journalist Carrie Gracie. The second one is from Hong Kong Free Press, Defying web censors, Chinese ‘worship’ toads to mark a former state leader’s 90th birthday, written by Hong Kong journalist Oiwan Lam.

 

In Gracie’s view, the toad worship is a sign, shows that: “Old politicians never die in China. They may “retire” but in the godfather realm of China’s Communist Party elite, some never give up influence.” She believes that: “Chinese politics is anything but simple and naive. It is a subtle world rich in literary and historical allegory.”, and toad worship proved it.

 

This sentence is an interesting evaluation claim, she pointed out that the political world in China is rich in literary and historical allegory, which means that no one in China will talk about politics openly. Everyone knows that you cannot directly write something to criticize the government online, the only result is that your account will be banned, and if you are famous, you may be prisoned. One example is that Bi Fujian, a former compere of CCTV, he was very famous in China, but he lost his job, because he criticized Mao Zedong in a private party. Gracie also had her own pieces of evidence, Pu Zhiqiang and Wang Yu. They are both political journalists, were sent to prison because they wrote many articles to criticize the government. In America, many journalists and talk shows are famous for sneering at politicians or exposing political scandals. Gracie used these two people as pieces of evidence to show readers the result of doing so in China, and make them understand her primary claim, that talking about politics openly in China is very dangerous.

 

So, if people do not have freedom to criticize the government, what would they do? In her opinion, the answers are literary and historical allegory, the toad worship is such an allegory. Interestingly, this sentence will be more meaningful for Chinese. Chinese people are more sensitive about the allegory, because in Chinese history, those allegories were usually come with revolution and suppression. Many revolutionists would make up an allegory to attract followers, and the government would suppress them as soon as possible. Therefore, this sentence will make Chinese readers realized the dangerous political environment of China.

 

“By underlining that two decades ago China had a leader who was open, human and friendly to the west, the toad worshippers are making the point that in Xi Jinping they now have a leader who is not.”

 

This is her explanation about the motivation of toad fans. She pointed out that people were missing the free environment of Jiang’s time. However, what is the real implied meaning of toad worship? She listed four famous fairy tales: Sown White, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Frog Prince and 1984. This is a very wise skill, link the complicated Chinese political environment to simple and naïve fairy tales. Gracie described Xi Jingping, the current president of China as the jealous queen, prisoned Jiang as the White Snow, and arrested Jiang’s allies as killing the seven dwarfs. Meanwhile, she used this story to expose another group of people in China—toadies. Who were performing the mirror, offering flattery to Xi. She believed that Jiang was the Prince to those toad fans, because they are dreaming that Jiang is wise president.

 

Those four stories are very simple and naïve to most of the people, however, the politics in China just looks like those. The author used those four stories to remind readers that the politics people can read in Chinese newspaper are just such simple and naïve, but they can find the dangerous political struggle if they think more.

 

“This kissing a frog and turning him into a prince is surely a case of rose-tinted spectacles.”

 

In the end part of her article, Gracie told all toad fans that, Jiang was not their prince, they should be soberer.

 

“Let’s face it, Jiang Zemin was often vain and self -regarding in office, he oversaw a period of explosive corruption, and after his retirement from active politics, his placemen and cronies threw grit in the wheels of the next team’s attempts at reform.”

Gracie exposed Jiang’s crime with “Let’s face” it as the beginning, brought a special feeling to readers, that there would come a typhoon, but she would stay with them, suffer the typhoon with them. This can make readers be more close to her, and more willing to believe her.

 

Then, she started with “surely”, to claim that regarded Jiang as a frog prince was the absence of real political royalty. “Surely” is a strong word, made readers feel she was very convinced and determined.

 

“So if you’re a member of the Chinese Communist Party, look into your own mirror this weekend and ask yourself whether you are a toady or a “Toady”?

 

If you’re young and smart and imaginative for your country, ask yourself… even if only in the privacy of your own head… whether there should be space to be something else again?”

 

In the end of her article, she used two “if you are” to make readers introspect their identities, and their behaviours. From her end part, we can easily find out that her target readers are Chinese. Then we can have a better understanding of the article’s structure.

Gracie started with a clam that old politicians would never give up their power, and then she pointed out the Jiang Zemin and the toad worship proved it, make readers have a clear understanding about the toad worship and the political environment of China.

 

Then she soon pointed out that most of the toad fans were young people, who never experienced Jiang’s government. She implied that most of the toad fans might be ignorant and sequacious, but she did not point it out at the beginning part of her article. Because her target readers were Chinese, so that some of her readers may be toad fans. Then she started her explanation, and used some fairy tales to introduce the conflict between Jiang and Xi. She used 1964 6.4 event as an example, to remind readers the dangerous of this kind of worship. This is an excellent example for Chinese people. Many Chinese will never forget the event, because it was one of the most influential events in China.

 

Many students started a parade to ask for freedom and democracy in Tiananmen square, and the government command army to suppress. Then, in the last part of her article she pointed out that Jiang was not a good president, and young people in China should understand this point and know their duty. The wisest part of the article was the author did not tell readers her main point in the start of the article, but in the end part. So, that readers will not feel be taught at the beginning, but after they read the whole article.

 

The second article Defying web censors, Chinese ‘worship’ toads to mark a former state leader’s 90th birthday was like the first one, but focused more on web censors. The author Oiwan Lam believed that “Toad worship is a way of people to defy web censors, and people are expressing their nostalgia of a free environment through the toad worship.” She believed that toad worship was a subculture popular in young people groups, and the main reason they were doing so was trying to resist web censors, and enjoying the pleasure of challenging the authority. Her article started with the 90th birthday of Jiang. This article was written on 27th August, one week after Jiang’s birthday. So, starting with his birthday could catch many people’s attention. Then, she pointed out that toad worship shew that people were missing the old time, and Xi’s government regarded this as a threaten. Lam posted many funny birthday pictures to prove that toad worship was very popular in Internet. Then she shared a video, in the video Jiang criticized Hong Kong reporter Cheung Bo Wah for being “too young” and “too simple and naive.” She explained that this was the reason why many people became toad fans. They are missing a president who was not stubborn and obstinate, who was enlightened and funny. This affects the bottom line of Xi’s government. She used many examples show this point. First, a WeChat public account about toad worship only managed to survive for barely one year. It was banned soon. Second, the government authorities issued a warning against public celebrations of Jiang’s 90th. However, in her view, this is a good chance for toad fans to challenge the authority. She introduced that many people held the private birthday parties and made birthday cards for Jiang.

 

“Nostalgia” was the key word of this article. Chinese people will not feel unfamiliar to this word. China has a very long history, and many dynasties changed in this Country. Every time, when the new dynasty let its people down, nostalgia will show up. For example, in Qing dynasty, people hated the government, so many revolution groups were appealing about “rebelling Qing dynasty and rebuilding Ming dynasty” Toad worship shows people hate Xi’s government, Lam provided a strong evidence to prove this point.

She quoted a tweet from Murongxuecun. This is a very famous writer in China, many people in China are his fans. Using his tweet can be more persuasive than Lan explaining by herself. In his tweet, he said that “While the toad’s era was not free, it looked better than Bun’s [meaning Xi’s] era. In this sense, Chinese people worshiping the toad is similar to prisoners in confinement, missing their brief outdoor recess.” As a famous writer, Murongxuecun wrote a tweet rich in hint and sarcasm. Take this sentence as an example. He used “Bun” as a nick of Xi. Bun is a very well-known food in China, a little bit like Hamburger. In 2014, Xi went to a popular Bun shop named Qingfeng Bun shop and had a lunch there. The Chinese government publicized this event to show Xi was approachable, but many people believed this was only a show. He also used a metaphor, said toad fans was like prisoners. In some situations, they are all real prisoner, under the confinement of censorship.

 

Since Jiang announced Falun Gong was heresy, members of Falun Gong made up many fake news about Jiang’s death or arrest online. This is one of the reasons that online censor in China is so strict, and people are missing Jiang so much. However, in recent years, with the series of arrests of Jiang’s allies, people are terrified. No one loves political struggles. Both of two articles introduced toad worship. The first one mainly talked about the complicate and dangerous political struggles in China, and the ignorance of some young toad fans, while the second one was introducing the web censors and the resistance of toad fans. They have different emphasis, but they are all very persuasive. The best way to persuade someone is showing them facts, and both two articles used this strategy. The first article gave many examples of Xi was trying to make Jiang lose his force, and talking about politics openly may send you into prison. The second one posted many pictures, to prove that many toad fans tried to celebrate the birthday of Jiang and challenged Xi’s Government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links of News:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-37127656

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/08/24/defying-web-censors-chinese-worship-toads-mark-former-state-leaders-90th-birthday/

The consequences of Brexit for the United Kingdom

Xinze Jiang z5055861

 

 

The consequences of Brexit for the United Kingdom

 

There is no doubt that the Brexit was the most influential political and economic event happen in 2016. In the June 2016, Prime Minister David Cameron called a United Kingdom European Union (EU) referendum to decide if UK would still be a membership of EU. As a result, 52% voted to leave the EU, UK will no longer be a membership of EU. This result shocked the whole world, because EU is the most powerful politico-economic union in the world, and UK is an important membership of EU. This result will bring many unsure changes to every country, especially to the UK. Many articles predict that the Brexit will first damage UK’s economic, and cause the independence of Scotland. However, there are two opinion pieces by respected outlets came up with counterviews. One by Russia Today website entitled “Some reasons why Brexit is good for Britain”and the other entitled “Brexit: Is Scotland brave enough to defy the UK?”by Steve Cannane, Europe correspondent for ABC News. These two articles all discussed the social, economy and politic situations of UK, and challenges that the UK might face. However, both of two authors were optimistic about the future of UK. The first article believed that Brexit would be good for UK’s economy, Steve Cannane’ article talked the reason that Scotland could not be an independent country from an economic view.

 

First, let us take a look for the article from RT News (Russia Today), in this article, RT News stated that Brexit would be good for the British market. First, Brexit will make Britain become an independence market, and it is in conductive to Britain. RT News used three Non-EU countries like Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland as examples, all of these three countries have their own trade agreements with EU, which avail themselves in international business environment. By telling these examples, RT News make audiences believed that, as a bigger economic entity, UK can have more advantages in re-negotiation, and get a better trading term with EU. We all know that Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are all not EU countries, but they all have their own trading terms with EU, which are even better than some EU countries. So that, if UK leaves EU, it can no longer obey EU’s trading conditions, and become an independence market. So that UK can re-negotiate with EU directly, just like RT New said, the UK now has room to clinch new trade deals without seeking the consensus of 28 quarrelling countries. In order to prove its argument, RT News quoted a statement from Patrick Minford, Professor of Applied Economics at Cardiff Business School as an evidence.

 

“In the long term, Brexit will herald a major growth-boosting period, as the UK breaks free of the over-mighty EU with its protectionist mindset and establishes free trade and intelligent regulation aimed at UK economic interests.”

 

Professor Minford said that herald a major growth-boosting period for the UK in the long term. As a professor and authority, his words will be more convictive, he said that Brexit was good for Britain in long term, audiences will easily believe that Brexit was good for Britain.

Then, RT News talked about British pound, and deemed that weaken pound will make British exports more competitive. In the beginning of this paragraph, RT News said that “there are certainly both positive and negative aspects to a weakening national currency” honestly, to expressed they had considered both positive and negative side of a weakening national currency, so they could show audiences that they did not only talk the aspect that was good for them argument. Follow that, RT News started explaining why they believed that weak pound would improve British economy. RT News used a simple example, UK exporters can now sell their goods cheaper and increase their profit margins, so that make their industries more completive in the international market. Through this simple example, audiences can easily understand that why does weak currency can help British industries. RT News also took deficit as another example. They appealed to the fact, that in the last quarter of 2015, it reached a record deficit of 7.2 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. They used this number to illustrate that the UK had a serious problem on deficit. So that audience will pay more attention to the benefit of weakening British pound. Both of these two examples were very easy to understand. Many ordinary audiences cannot understand some complicated economic principles. They would not understand many financial terms. However, these two examples were only talked about two simple daily events, which most of the audiences can easily comprehend.

After talking about currency, RT News analysis the influence of new Premier minister Theresa May, and argues that the new Premier Minister can help investors overcome Brexit concerns. In order to prove this argument, RT News wrote that:

 

“Despite the Brexit uncertainty, Britain’s premier stock index, the FTSE 100, rallied to 11-month highs. While analysts on Monday attributed the FTSE’s rise to the news Theresa May will succeed David Cameron as Prime Minister; the truth is the index has been surging for the last two weeks after the Brexit vote. The blue-chip index has gained nearly 16 percent since its post-Brexit low on June 24 and is up more than 20 percent from February.”

 

They used FTSE index as an example, to illustrate that investor had overcome Brexit concern. However, in my opinion, I do not think this example is very persuasive. Because the UK has not actually started Brexit, many problems of Brexit have not occurred. So, maybe when the UK really started Brexit, the index will decrease again. They also used a quote to prove their argument:

 

“Theresa May is clearly the market’s preferred choice for Britain’s top job, as evidenced by the reaction that greeted Leadsom’s stand-down statement. May’s lack of interest in rushing to activate Article 50 and her relatively less contentious relationship with the EU when compared to her (now long gone) rivals, as well as the general cheer at the mere fact of the UK once again has a PM is arguably responsible for the rise from the FTSE and pound,”

 

This quote was from another authority people, Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex. About this point, RT News did not provide many convictive evidence, so they quoted an authority person as a support, to tell audiences that they were not the only one who believed that the new Prime Minister would make audiences overcome Brexit concern.

 

In the last part of the article, RT New made a conclusion that the UK may become a safe haven in the long run. The term “safe haven” was from the Barclays bank, as a bank in world’s top five hundred , investors will regard it as a super authority. So they will believe that the UK is a real safe haven. RT News also talked about the corporate tax rate, the UK government proposed lowering corporate tax rate to 15 percent. They believed that A five percent tax cut might make the country one of the most competitive global economies.

 

Second, we can have a look for Steven Cannane’ article. During his article, he mainly talked the Scotland issue. We all know that the UK is a union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Different to England, Scotland is not interested in leaving EU, an in 2014, Scotland was voting for independence. Many people believe that Scotland will soon start another vote for independence. However, Cannane believed that Scotland will not become an independent country, and independence could damage Scotland’s economy. Cannane firstly introduced the many Scots feel cheated by last week’s Brexit referendum, and about 62 percent of Scots voted to stay in EU. Through this, audiences can clearly understand the independence willing of Scots. However, Cannane refuted the possibility of independence. He said that, on a Scotland independence poll, about 59 percent people voted independence, but this was only because of the emotional aftermath of the Brexit poll. He believed that EU would not be willing to negotiate with Scotland if it chose to leave the UK, so that the independence would damage its economy.

His explanation started with two questions:

 

“Would Scotland be forced into adopting the Euro as their currency? Would the Scottish people accept that?”

 

He used these two questions to lead readers to think about the consequences of independence, and warn readers that EU is not an accommodating union, it will consider its own interest before considering Scotland. Then, he started analyzing oil. He analyzed that, Scotland people’s blueprint for economic independence was based on oil. In their plan, oil should be sitting north of $100 a barrel. Unfortunately, after the Brexit vote, it was under $50 a barrel. Cannane used these numbers to tell his readers that Scotland had lost its economy basis of becoming independence. Meanwhile, He talked the subsidization from the UK. He stated that UK government spend billions of dollars to subsidize Scotland, and EU will not match this number. Cannane discussed two main economy basis of Scotland: oil and subsidization, but he rejected both of them. Oil price is only $50 now, and EU cannot provide Scotland enough subsidization. So that, readers will realize that Scotland does have any power to independent.

In his article, Cannane first introduced the statement about the second independence referendum from the leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon to show the serious situation in Scotland, then Cannane used these two pieces of evidence to support his argument, that independence will damage its economy, and illustrate that Scotland cannot become an independent country.

 

Naturally, both of two article argued that Brexit would not be bad for Britain. RT News provided some explanations to illustrate that Brexit would make UK’s market more completive in globe business, and Steven Cannane’s article talked the reasons that why Scotland would not become an independent country. However, neither of these two articles talked about other problems that might be caused by Brexit. So we still need to consider other consequences of Brexit.