September 07, 2005

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Daily linklets 7th September

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posted by Simon on 09.07.05 at 02:58 PM in the Daily linklets category.


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Rising Above Yahoos
Excerpt: I was wondering how Yahoo! would deal with the CCP. Now, I know. According to Reporters Without Borders, Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) does not have to give beijing information, as it allegedly did on Shi Tao. Also, allegedly, Yahoo!’s servers...
Weblog: Barbarian Envoy
Tracked: September 7, 2005 08:15 PM

East Meets Westerner Meets the Fantabulist
Excerpt: I've tried to remain silent on the issue of our favorite stalker, but as long as bloggers are willing to accommodate him someone has to expose his sins. Please see the comments to this post (ignore the long, tedious comment...
Weblog: The Peking Duck
Tracked: September 11, 2005 02:21 AM


Given the complete lack of evidence for security threats at the WTO meeting, I laugh heartily at you calling me a moonbat.

posted by: Tom - Daai Tou Laam on 09.07.05 at 01:10 PM [permalink]

Tom, I'm not calling you a moonbat...this time. I'm referring to the collection of Korean farmers, Levis wearing uni students and motley crew of anarchists, commies and others who will no doubt be visiting the Big Lychee in early December.

posted by: Simon on 09.07.05 at 01:14 PM [permalink]

And people defending their livelihoods against negotiations based upon which trading bloc can wield the most diplomatic/economic power are moonbats? *geesh*

If the WTO were half as much about "free trade" as the "pro-globalisation" faction waxes poetically about, it might not be so farcical.

The fate of the WTO negotiations in Cancun proved that they had nothing to do with free trade and all about the US and EU trying to pry economic concessions out of other countries while refusing to create a level playing field going the opposite direction.

So this time it's opening up banking and securities markets to huge multi-nationals while refusing to budge on agricultural subsidies rather than opium and tea, but the negotiations still aren't about "free trade".

posted by: Tom - Daai Tou Laam on 09.07.05 at 01:24 PM [permalink]

What is the WTO about if it's not about free trade? The problem at Cancun was the developing economies, lead by Brazil and India, would not make any concessions on their trade barriers unless the EU, Japan and US dismantled all of theirs. Fair enough, except the previous WTO/GATT rounds have required little from developing countries but huge concessions from the big economies. This time the big ones said it was time for the developing countries to make some of their own concessions, which they weren't prepared to do.

Don't get me wrong: the EU, Japan and US all have some horrible trade policies. But the blame can be fairly shared over Cancun. They won't budge on agriculture unless developing countries move. I'd have though that's fair.

Let's leave this pettty idea that this all about the US and EU exploiting poor countries. It's nothing of the sort.

posted by: Simon on 09.07.05 at 01:48 PM [permalink]

As some of you no doubt already know, I have an interest in deconstructing English-language China blogs, as well as those characters who contribute to them. In order to deconstruct bloggers, I have at times written under the guise of various personas, and I have also at times provoked bloggers and blog hosts in order to test their responses, to see how blog communities behave towards dissidents, to see whether the "tribal mind" also exists in cyberspace, and if so, how it manifests itself through acts of online loyalty and aggression towards the "Other".

Some time ago now, I also wrote an article on the ethnocentrism of English-language China blogs for the China Daily as part of my efforts to deconstruct, and I have now been asked to write a follow-up to this. What follows below is a draft only, and I would like to invite readers of Simon's World to comment critically on it, as I may wish to revise it before submitting it.

Mark Anthony Jones

“Regimes of truth” – how Westerners imagine China

My earlier article on the pages of the China Daily, which focussed on the disappointing ethnocentrism of English-language China blogs, provoked quite a lengthy and heated response among readers, with many dismissing it as merely the revengeful product of a man “with an axe to grind” or as the discourse of a “CCP apologist” wilfully blind to the “obvious”.

It was the product of neither.

Rather, it was simply a critical comment made by me on the prevalent discourse pushed by many English-language China blogs. What I would like to do now is to place these blog sites into a wider context in order to further explore their validity or lack thereof, and in order to do this, I shall draw heavily from the theories of Michel Foucault and the late Edward Said.

Let us begin with Foucault, who argued that knowledge or “truth” is in effect a function of power, and that those who hold power can and do use it to further their own interests. Foucault described this “regime of truth” as being “linked in a circular relation with systems of power which produce and sustain it, and to effects of power which it induces and which extend it.” According to this theory then, images of China would tend to become a bulwark for a particular set of policies towards that country, or even for a more general policy. Information would be carefully selected and propagated to justify that policy or set of policies. The relationship between knowledge and reality would dwindle in importance beside that between knowledge and power.

The other theory I shall use is that of Edward Said, who argued that Western scholars misrepresent and produce distorted accounts of Eastern civilisations because of their ethnocentric attitudes. In particular, Said criticised Western commentators for their frequent failure and inability to examine Asian societies in their own terms.

Let me begin by examining whether or not Foucault’s theory of power and knowledge can be applied to Western images of China, and whether or not English-language China blogs like The Peking Duck reflect a wider discourse.

Colin Mackerras, in his book Western Images of China, believes that the dominant images the West has had of China, both past and present, “accord with, rather than oppose, the interests of the main Western authorities or governments of the day.” Mackerras’s study shows quite clearly that there has indeed been a “regime of truth” concerning China, which has effected and raised “the status of those who are charged with saying what counts as true” about that country. Having carried out both thorough qualitative and quantitative research, Mackerras reaches the conclusion that the period following the Beijing [incident] to the present represents the most complicated period since Roman times in terms of Western images of China:

“What is striking about this period is that the preoccupation of Western images with matters concerned with human rights and dissidents gained an added emphasis at just the same time that the general standard of livelihood of the Chinese people rose to an extent unprecedented in China’s history. This is not to deny the existence of human rights issues, but the focus they received in the Western media was both ironic and unwarranted by comparison with the improvements.”

I couldn’t agree more, and this is the issue I have not only with the corporate media of the West, but also with the English-language China blogs that I criticised in my earlier article, whose lack of fairness and balance I would suggest simply mirrors the “regime of truth” propagated by Western governments, who of course formulate foreign policies designed to service the needs of a particular social class.

The “regime of truth” I speak about is quite different from that which existed in previous times throughout history, and as Mackerras has observed, that’s because today “its source is only partly within the governments of Western countries, and rests to some extent with vocal groups within society that are preoccupied with particular issues and have the ways and means to project their views and exert an influence on society out of proportion to their size.” Where I disagree with Mackerras is in how to account for this phenomenon. While he sees this as an indication of the “growing power of [grassroots] democratic institutions” in the West, I see it more as reflecting the diverging interests of capital – a split which we see exposed by the current disputes that are taking place in both Europe and the U.S. over quotas imposed in the textiles trade. Western manufacturers often have conflicting interests with retailers and consumers, and lobbying groups from both sides continually seek to influence government policy when it comes to trade relations with China. Usually it is the retailers and distributors who praise China’s development and place in the world, while the manufacturers are the ones who, not surprisingly, draw attention to human rights issues as a means to justify trade barriers and other policies of protectionism. Even the smallest of grassroots political movements can manage to exert a huge influence on society when their message is exploited by politicians representing the more powerful sectors of the economy.

Like much of the corporate media in the West, blog sites like The Peking Duck focus largely on China’s human rights issues, but offer only a one-sided view. Sure, individual bloggers are free to express diverging views in the comments section of each thread, but those brave enough to do so are often swamped by personal insults and are dismissed as “CCP apologists” before being effectively ostracised. Even at the level of the individual blog site, there exists a “regime of truth”.

One issue which often crops up in both the Western media and therefore on China blogs, is that of Tibet, and the images produced are almost always strongly negative. Hollywood films like Seven Years in Tibet have helped to popularise images among Westerners of China as an evil, murderous monolith, not too dissimilar to Nazi Germany. One only has to visit Tibet, as I have, to see that the claims made against China are exaggerated – sometimes wildly. While genuine human rights issues do exist in Tibet, and throughout China more widely (as they do in all countries), the notion that Tibetans are being “swamped” by Han Chinese in their own “country” is simply not true, for the Han population in Tibet outside of Lhasa remains relatively very small – though of course this image does not get very much of a hearing in the West.

The argument that Tibetan culture is being “destroyed” is as equally fictitious. Anybody who visits Tibet today (including the Kham region, where Han influence is at its strongest) will encounter a thriving Tibetan culture, though in the major cities and tourist destinations such culture exists to some extent in a commodified form, with retailers who are often Han. But in this sense, the fate of Tibetan culture is no different from that of all other minority and indigenous cultures throughout the world – all of which now rely to some extent at least on commercialism to help keep them maintained or revived. Tibetan Buddhism is no exception - widely practiced still throughout Tibet, and evidently quite freely, it is nevertheless becoming increasingly commercialised – a response largely to the growth in a Tibetan tourist industry which draws from both Chinese domestic and foreign markets. It is not only Han entrepreneurs who benefit from the commercialisation of Tibetan Buddhism, but so too do many Tibetan Buddhists themselves, and foreign publishers and filmmakers are also in the habit of cashing in on it, even turning the Dalai Lama himself into a commodity, whose plethora of forewords and postscripts are frequently used to market other peoples’ books on topics ranging from the strictly spiritual to the overtly political.

Another theme which frequently pops up in the Western media, and therefore also on the pages of English-language China blogs, is this idea that China’s rapid economic development somehow poses a threat to the Western world. It is a theme more commonly explored by Americans than anyone else, which no doubt reflects a deeply ingrained American fear for its “imagined community’s” future position as global hegemon. There are many in the United States who worry that China may one day eventually surpass them in terms of world influence, and while many, if not most, may wish for good general relations with China, in particular in economic terms, they may not always be too keen to assist in China’s rise. This deeply ingrained fear I think is tamed more often than not through comfort, in that the trend among professional journalists and bloggers alike is to belittle China by dismissing it as dysfunctional, as hopelessly backward, as a society whose political system is incapable of managing effectively the country’s many social and environmental challenges – all of which are constantly entertained as being the possible root causes of a possible future breakdown. Predictions of China’s impending collapse represent little more than wishing thinking, fantasies for those who feel threatened to seek comfort in.

Examples of such “comfort-thinking” can be found regularly on the pages of The Peking Duck blog, but perhaps no better example can be found there than the report detailing John Pomfret’s address on China, to be found in The Peking Duck’s November 14 archive. Pomfret, who was former bureau chief of the Washington Post's Beijing office, reportedly argued in a speech he gave in the U.S. “that there is no need for the West to fear China becoming a global superpower along the lines of the USA” because, says Pomfret, “not all of China’s dreams [can] be achieved because hard-wired into their DNA are serious constraints that will keep China from becoming what it aspires to. Most of China is a third-, fourth- and fifth-world country" under constant threat from unimaginable poverty, so many people to employ, AIDS, a devastated environment, etc.

Richard, the owner and host of The Peking Duck, was of course enthusiastic in his endorsement of Pomfret’s views, comfortable perhaps with the thought that China is unlikely to ever become a “global superpower” capable of surpassing the “imagined community” that he is so emotionally bonded to – that of the United States.

Pomfret’s use of the “DNA” metaphor to bolster his argument that China is simply not capable of ever rising to the status of a superpower is interesting in itself, for its implicit racism, and it is onto issues of racism and ethnocentrism that I shall now turn to.

Have corporate image-makers in the West distorted their audience’s image of China with ethnocentric biases, by a failure to judge China on its own terms? Once again, the observations of Colin Mackerras are worth considering:

“The controversy over human rights…[is] based at least in part on whether it is appropriate to give priority to the rights of the individual or the community, with critical images of China based largely on an emphasis on the universality of individual rights.”

Of course, all societies need to strike a balance when it comes to protecting the rights of individuals and the rights of the wider community. Freedom of speech for example, is indeed negotiable, even in Western societies, where various forms of censorship are practiced in the interests of protecting the wider community. Apart from defamation laws, racial vilification laws exist in most Western countries. These racial vilification laws differ slightly from country to country, but let us take Australia's racial vilification laws as an example. The law there forbids the public airing (including the use of websites) of any messages that can be shown to cause "insult, humiliation or distress" to an individual or group of individuals based on their ethnicity, nationality or religious affiliation. This is how a "hate" site is defined. Hate sites do not necessarily need to incite hatred - they need only to cause "insult, humiliation or distress" to be classified as a "hate" site.

The racial vilification laws of New Zealand, Canada, and most Western Europeans countries are almost the same in this regard. And these laws are often put into practice. In 2002, an Australian man by the name of Frederick Toben for example, was ordered by the Australian Government to shut down his website which claimed that the Nazi holocaust did not occur because it caused some Jewish Australians considerable "distress".

China has every right to formulate its own laws, and it has every right, just like every other country, to ban websites and other publications that cause its own citizens "insult, humiliation or distress," or to censor information in the interests of maintaining social cohesion and stability. It’s not difficult to charge many Western critics of China with a failure to see human rights problems in Chinese terms. This is not to say, of course, that Chinese society ought not to be open to criticism by foreigners and Chinese nationals alike, but rather, that such criticisms need to be based on empirically verifiable research, and that any conclusions drawn need to be fair and balanced, and that the people of China ought to be judged in their own terms, not according to the values of Westerners. The right balance struck in protecting the rights of the individual against the rights of the wider community in one country, may not necessarily represent an appropriate balance for another. You can often borrow ideas, but you can’t borrow situations.

The hosts of most blog sites simply copy and paste other peoples’ articles, often with the corporate media as the source, in order to generate discussion. Here, I once again draw upon Foucault’s theory of power and knowledge: the U.S. government only has to feed information into a giant international mass media machine to put its own views over to the Western world, and when it comes to managing foreign relations, information is always carefully selected and propagated in order to justify the government policies of the day. My argument here is that many blog hosts, like Richard the host of The Peking Duck for example, merely help to further reinforce such dominant images, negative images that reflect a political discourse, because it is he who normally does all of the selecting – it is he who decides which China-related articles are introduced to his readers for critical discussion. And when it comes to choosing, Richard to date has proven to be rather selective, in that over 80 percent of all of his China-related articles view China through negative eyes, with most of them having been selected from U.S. corporate media sources. He has every right to choose which articles he wants to introduce to his readers of course, after all, it is his site. But thanks to his biased selection, the relationship between the “knowledge” he presents and the realities of China dwindles in importance when compared to the “knowledge” he presents and the exercising of corporate power, since it is predominantly the “knowledge” produced by corporate power that he draws most heavily from when making his selections.

Finally, I acknowledge that the relationship between images and realities is an enormously complex and problematic one. But as Colin Mackerras has so rightly pointed out, the fact is, “China has been over the centuries, and remains, a country so diverse that misery and joy, poverty and prosperity have all been and are all completely real….[but] different observers attach distinct scales of importance to the same phenomena because each may differ sharply from the others in knowledge, experience, skills, and assumptions.”

Even China “specialists” find it difficult to fit together images and realities, and so one might imagine how much more difficult it is for the great majority who make no pretence to knowledge about China and who, if interested, seek guidance in the formulation of their own images. Those who seek such guidance from the plethora of existing English-language China blogs should thus read them with some considerable caution, and should avoid being swept up by the harsh storms of China-bashing vindictiveness that are more often than not brewed in what are essentially little more than teacups, sometimes filled to the brim with thick and poisonous bile, poured from the mouths of hate-filled bloggers whose insults to both China and to people like me are cathartic, though the release of such aggression signifies, arguably, failures on their part to attain sublimated forms of enjoyment in a foreign country that does not always, depending on where exactly they reside, provide them with the same levels of immediate gratification that they may have been accustomed to in their home countries. Release then, I would argue, for some at least, often takes the form of an unarticulated ethnocentrism.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.07.05 at 04:20 PM [permalink]

One of the other things that makes The Peking Duck site so interesting and worthy of study, is that almost as much space is dedicated to U.S. politics, and here we can see the same kind of trend - a clear bias in the types of American-related articles Richard chooses to select for reader discussion. The vast majority of his American-related articles focus on the political, with almost every single article expressing "truth" through Democtratic Party lenses. In this sense, The Peking Duck also mirrors the sharp divisions in U.S. society, especially when readers like Conrad write in to defend the Republican viewpoint. The Peking Duck can perhaps be seen as a microcosm of U.S. society, although by carefully selecting articles that reflect a clear bias, Richard the owner and host has effectively produced a political platform to promote Democratic Party views and agendas.

Through his biased selection of both China-related and American-related articles from the U.S. corporate media, Richard effectively represents the interests of certains corporate sectors in the U.S. and global economies.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.07.05 at 05:03 PM [permalink]

What are you smokin' by making those claims about Cancun? *geesh* The developing nations weren't asking for dismantling all of anything. *geesh*

And the notion of trying to run an equivalency of trade barriers between developed and developing countries is lunacy at best. The history of the US and its financial sector to produce these mature multi-national financial institutions is fraught with political favours and quid pro quo.

And as you point out the WTO meetings are about states trying to procure trade advantages for "their" companies, ie friends and campaign contributors, while surrendering as few trade concessions as possible, especially for your friends and campaign contributors.

Sounds more like the British East India Company and the Crown's mercantilism opening trade markets wrapped in "Free Trade" vocabulary (what did you write about the marketing of the Dark Side of the Force?) rather than anything having to do with comparative advantage as defined by Adam Smith.

{Or are you going to tell me that all of those political contributions and lobbying from large US based multi-national financial services corporations are altruistic and not about trying to increase their profits by state meddling in the marketplace?}

posted by: Tom - Daai Tou Laam on 09.07.05 at 07:28 PM [permalink]

for Mark Anthony Jones.

china daily apparently doesn't take journalism, it takes essays.

i'd cut it in half if i was you and spice it up a bit. kind of hard to read as it is.


posted by: doug crets on 09.07.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]


Everything you've said applies equally to the developing countries involved.

We'll have to agree to disagree.

posted by: Simon on 09.08.05 at 11:47 AM [permalink]


Please get your own blog. That is the most appropriate forum for posting articles like this.

Naturally I disagree with much of what you said. Said's criticisms are essentially circular - no Westerner can comment on Asian societies because they are Western. That's complete nonsense. In a free market of ideas, anyone can comment on any society they like. The validity of those views is re-enforced by their popularity. As for ethnocentrism, people are always going to view things through the prism of their own experiences and background. To expect otherwise is to expect us to not be human.

I understand the point on human rights vs economic development in viewing China. However these days you can hardly open a paper without seeing another "China miracle" article, so I'm not sure that point holds true any more. I also agree with you that China is more nuanced than often given credit for. However your point that each country has the right to forumate its own laws founders because China's people have not chosen their leaders and laws, but had them imposed upon them.

But coming back to the main point. Of course particular blog sites reflect the biases of their author. Peking Duck makes no attempts to hide his bias, his views and his feelings. He only posts "one-sided articles" because that's his perogative. Just as individual countries have the right to make laws as they see fit, individual site owners have the right to post whatever they like.

That's why I encourage you to get your own site. You obviously have your own views, and are free to express them (a right, I note, many in China do not have). The ethnocentrism or otherwise of other sites is their perogative. Until you have your own site where you state your own views and stand to defend them, your criticisms ring hollow.

posted by: Simon on 09.08.05 at 11:58 AM [permalink]

Dear Simon,

I have been away travelling for work all day today, but I will address all of your criticisms tomorrow.

Until then, thanks for your comments. The China Daily free talk forum (where I have also posted this draft) has also stimulated a number of interesting responses (around 6 or 7 so far).

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Antohny Jones on 09.08.05 at 05:06 PM [permalink]

Engaging the freak? Amazing. If I wanted to read the freak's nacissitic-inspired pretend-intellectual crap, I'd read the China Daily. I'm outta here.

posted by: Martyn on 09.08.05 at 07:38 PM [permalink]

Dear Simon,

I shall now address all of your criticisms.

(1). You say that Edward Said's theory is "circular" in that it implies that no Westerner can ever be qualified to make critical observations of Asian societies. This is a fair comment, but I think that you have perhaps misunderstood Said's theory here - because that's certainly not the conclusion that he himself drew. It is possible for Westerners, said Said, "not to be blind to human reality". Of course us Westerners are capable, if we are careful enough, if we have the right attitude, to view other cultures in their own terms. There was, for example, little of the ethnocentrist in Marco Polo, despite the threat the Mongols had appeared to present to Europe not long before his time. What is striking is how fair he was, the extent to which he was prepared to see and judge China in its own terms - especially as far as the Emperor and political system were concerned. One can hardly charge a man like Du Halde with ethnocentrism either, when his work on China was so defensive about it, and both Voltaire and Quesnay praised China in order to criticise their own country - the precise antithesis of ethnocentrism.

It wasn't really until the 19th century when Europe had begun its Industrial Revolution that such strong ethnocentric views towards Asia began to surface heavily and strongly. Confidence in its own superiority was at a peak for Europeans, and this occured just at the time when China's civilisation was in sharp decline. So it is not surprising that the overwhelming majority of images presented at that time reflected feelings of superiority in a sharply ethnocentrist way.

Simon, it is curious to me that you speak of a "free market" of ideas, and that you then go on to judge the validity of such ideas by how popular they are! Can we say then, to take your logic to its extreme, that Nazi ideas of race were valid and ethical? These ideas, after all, were held by the fair majority of Germans back in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The inherent superiority of the German people was a popular idea among Germans themselves for a while. Surely we cannot say that ideas are valid simply by how popular they are! You treat ideas as though they were merely free-floating commodities.

(2) Your argument that China is almost daily viewed by the Western corporate media as being an economic miracle is a valid one, but then look, I did, in my article above, point out the fact that the bourgeoisie of the West are split in their attitudes towards China - that Western images of China are thus now more complex and ambiguous than ever - than since Roman times. As I said, many manufacturers feel threatened by China's rise - they don't like the competition, and hence they exploit and exaggerate human rights issues as a tool to help lobby governments into imposing trade restrictions, etc. Other industries, like the education industry, as well as the retailers and distributors of consumer goods - they usually praise China's place in the world, as they stand to benefit from having easy access to China's markets, and from being able to import cheap goods from China.

My argument here, is that the overwhelming majority of images selected by Richard reflect the interests of those sectors in the U.S. economy who feel threatened by China's economic rise - hence the heavy focus on human rigthts issues.

(3) You argue that the CCP does not have a right to formulate laws on the basis that they were never elected into power, and that they therefore do not have the mandate to formulate laws. This seems to me like a rather silly argument really. Where, for starters, is your evidence to show that the majority of Chinese mainlanders don't support the CCP? You only have to talk to people here to discover that attitudes towards CCP rule vary greatly, and that such attidues are always very complex. On the one hand, we have the overwhelming majority of middle class mainlanders (which has now grown to over 11 million) who generally support the CCP, because they can see very clearly that life in China's urban coastal areas has improved greatly over the last 20 years. Deng Xiaoping is especially enormously popular here in Shenzhen - not surprisingly perhaps, since he chose Shenzhen as the country's first SEZ - and Shenzhen is now officially the mainland's third most developed city: Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou comes in at fourth.

Such popular sentiments among the middle classes here are mirrored by the country's celebrities - everyone from Zhang Ziyi to Yao Ming praise the CCP as having, on balance, a positive legacy.

I have also met many who are ambivalent towards the CCP, and a few who have expressed strong criticisms of it - and openly so. Anecdotal evidence on my part, I know, but this is the strong impression that I have gained after having lived and worked here for almost four years - and I spent my first two years here in a small provincial town in the middle of Jiangsu - most people I spoke to there also praised the CCP, though critically.

Life in China's more remote villages is far more compex though, but even in villages that have engaged in open conflicts with authority over land thefts, corruption issues, etc., you will find that the majority continue to view the CCP in positive terms, and that they often appeal to the law and to the law courts as a way of fighting local authorities - often successfully too I might add. In other words, they don't usually blame the CCP for their problems, but rather, corrupt individuals at the local level. Clearly, even the most oppressed and economically disadvantaged here on the mainland place a high use-value and regard for the laws of the land - laws which you claim the CCP has no mandate to introduce and to enforce.

Most Chinese here will also tell you that capitalism here, and the growing liberalism this has given expression to, was only made possible by the fact that the CCP, under Mao, had brought about the necessary stability to enable economic growth and developemnt to have occured. This is also the dominant view among most Western scholars too by the way. That is not to say that Mao didn't have his many serious faults, but rather, that his overall legacy as leader of the CCP has been a historically important and progressive one.

Your views towards democracy issues and the CCP reflect (it would seem) an unwillingness on your part to view the CCP and the attitudes of the Chinese in their own terms. For you, China can only progress into something truly admirable if it adopts the political culture of the West. Many will disagree with you on this - including many Westerners. Democracy does not always lead to stability and peace for starters - it can in some societies create more problems than it solves, and I shall be more than happy to discuss this with you in more detail if you are interested.

(4) I agree that blog hosts (like Richard for example) have every right to select whatever articles they like to introduce to their readers. I have NEVER suggested otherwise, and I made this very clear in my draft article above. My purpose in writing this article is to deconstruct - to examine the nature of such English-language China blogs. My conclusion is that they reflect the corporate interests of a particular section of the ruling classes of the U.S. and the Western "democracies" in general - and that's becasue the overwhelming majority of the articles selected for use by such blog hosts have the corporate media as their source, though even here, articles are carefully selected, so that in effect they mirror the interests not of retailers and importers, but rather, of the "old" economy - the textiles industry, car manufacturers, etc.

(5) I don't see the logic in arguing that one has to have a blog of his/her own in order to me able to make valid criticisms of other peoples' blogs. Please explain, in philosophical terms, why you think so.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.09.05 at 11:07 AM [permalink]

Mr Jones,
A truly thorough and fascinating structuralist critique of China blogs. I'll never be able to read sites like TPD and this one again, without baring your analysis in mind.

I'm not sure about your take on Tibet though - but then I guess your analysis of what has taken place there doesn't really detract in any way from your overall argument.

posted by: Helen on 09.09.05 at 04:18 PM [permalink]


Let me address each in turn:

1. This whole point boils down to one thing: in your view the only valid way to view a culture or society is through their own eyes. Marco Polo was inevitably influenced by his own background, regardless of the empathy he showed for the cultures he met. There is nothing wrong with "going native", but it is not the only legitimate method of discussing societies and cultures.

2. I put to you a different view - that TPD's views represent his heartfelt concerns for the rights of a people he cares deeply about. That it may co-incide with corporate interests is irrelevant. I see correlation but not causation. You seem to suggest Richard is a tool of these corporate interests, but that is not the only nor correct explaination.

3. You've miscontrued my point. The CCP are the governing party of China, of course they can make laws. They can only continue to govern via fear/control and/or benevloent dictatorship. This has been the case for some time. If the CCP are as widely popular as your anecdotal evidence suggests, they should be comfortable subjecting themselves to a popular democratic mandate. However I also would note that freedom of expression is not a widely known part of modern Chinese discource - as you well know, criticising the CCP is still a fraught business for Mainlanders. I have given the CCP credit perviously for their achievements - bringing order to a chaotic state, and since Deng's reforms bringing literally millions out of poverty. But it has come at a very high price.

You also perpetuate the fallacy that democracy is a "Western" value. It is no such thing. I advocate the people need to have impartial courts, corruption free government, freedom to express themselves via the press and assembly, and the ability to vote for those who govern them. It is the model adopted by the West and it has proved successful in creating peaceful, prosperous societies. China is trying a different model to create a peaceful, prosperous society. I do not think it can last, whereas the USA has lasted 300 years and English democracy even longer. They've got runs on the board, so to speak.

4. I'm missing your point here. The point of a blog is that the owner can post whatever takes their fancy. As I said above, if that co-incides with corporate interests, that means nothing in itself. As for relying on corporate media, most bloggers are individuals without the resources of major media corporations. We have to rely on them. What bloggers do (often) is de-construct those stories, or use them to highlight their politics, or to emphasise a point. TPD acknowledges a love for China and the Chinese people. It's the Government he has a problem with.

5. I am imploring you to get your own site for several reasons:
a. Clearly you have a lot to say, and while I'm happy to debate in my comments section, you could open this up to a wider audience again via your own site.
b. Call it the stones/greenhouse effect - until you have your own, your comments might be valid but lack conviction.
c. Your own "ethnocentrism" point should apply to yourself, no? If you cannot view a blog from a blogger's perspective, you are guilty of exactly what you are accusing TPD.
d. An analogy: a book reviewer can come from any background, but the best reviews usually come from authors (see George Orwell for one example).

posted by: Simon on 09.09.05 at 04:20 PM [permalink]

Dear Simon,

Thanks again for your spirited arguments. I shall not address all of your points, as I am busy right now, but firstly let me say that I agree with you that Richard's blog correlates with the interests of a particular section of the U.S. ruling class, but that like you, I see no causation in this. But then, I was not suggesting that there was any causation, other than Richard's own political bias, which can most clearly be seen reflected in his American-related posts. What Richard is guilty of though, is in presenting to his readers a lack of balance, and I think that that is a reasonable criticism for me to make.

I am not challenging his right to push a particular discourse - I am merely alerting readers to the fact that he does push a discourse, and this discourse reflects those of particular class interests.

I have no doubt that Richard's interest in the Chinese people is heartfelt and sincere - but then, I have never argued otherwise. His criticms of the CCP, while in many cases are valid and reasonable, nevertheless, on the whole, reflect a lack of balance and fairness. This has always been my main problem with his site, and with others like it.

Finally, I have never suggested that "democracy" is a Western value only - but you need to define what you mean by "democracy". I do not agree that the Westminster system is necessarily well suited to all other countries and cultures, nor do I think that the Westminster system is particularly "democratic".

China's model is still in its infancy, and is still evolving. I think it is way too soon to make judgements - the jury is still out on that one!

And I don't see how I can be judged to be lacking in conviction, simply because my comments are placed on somebody else's blog, instead of on a blog of my own!

Also, being able to view a blog from the blogger's perspective hardly equates to "ethnocentrism", does it? My imagination is indeed good enough to be able to empathise with a blogger, and to view a blog from the blogger's point of view. But my task here is to deconstruct the blog, not to empathise with it or its owner. It is possible to deconstruct another society, another culture, and to still avoid viewing it ethnocentrically. It's a matter of looking at a society, or at the key players and shapers of a society, and then determining what they are out to achieve, and why they choose the methods they do. That is, to view that society and its people and culture in its own terms, and to measure its successes or failures in it own terms. To do this fairly, doesn't mean that one has to avoid being critical.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.09.05 at 06:03 PM [permalink]

Before people start to take the freak seriously and give him the attention he craves, don't you think you should know who he really is?

Check out this for a full explaination---in his own words:

posted by: Martyn on 09.09.05 at 08:27 PM [permalink]

I might add that our narcissistic freak friend has now learned the use of proxy servers. He's recently appeared on TPD in various guises praising his own article here on simonworld and providing details of how other readers can find it. What a fool. Must have been quite a revelation to learn about proxy servers - something that all China expats have known for years.

Simon: a rabid dog is still a rabid dog, even if it allows you to pet it sometimes. I'm numbed that you are willingly engaging the freak even knowing what he is and what he has done.

I'd like to respectfully point out, perhaps you've also noticed Simon, how the freak never bothers to comment on your posts or ever engage you on anything that you have to say. Where are his comments? After all, you allow him to post freely here, unlike TPD which bans his posts immediately. No, he only comments on HIS OWN posts as above because narcissists only care about themselves and their own views.

Despite this, you engage him point-for-point. as if he is a normal person.

If anyone wants to read the the truth about Mark Anthony Jones impersonating women, asking other TPD commenters to send him photos of their penis, assuming many, many aliases in order to praise and support his own cut+pasted comments, explaining that he trolls China-related websites for "fun and selfish entertainment". Then please, please go and read that above link that I provided.

Trust me, once you've read that, you'll think twice before engaging, or even reading the words of MArk Anthony Jones.

What's your excuse Simon?

posted by: Martyn on 09.10.05 at 04:28 AM [permalink]

Martyn, is there really any need for you to be this rude and aggressive towards others? I read the link you mentioned above on the Fantabulist, and I encourage others to do so as well because the entire episode really is quite amusing. I really don't understand why you have such a chip on your shoulder.

Besides, Mr. Jones' article here on this site ought to be read and judged for what it says. What Mr. Jones has written elsewhere in the past is irrelevant.

And Mr.Jones, one request. Please bring back Dr.Anne Myers - her cheeky analyses were wonderfully entertaining and amusing.

posted by: Helen on 09.10.05 at 10:12 AM [permalink]

Well, I'd never! I'd never have imagined that I would one day have a comment of mine deleted from a blog site, but that's exactly what happened to me earlier today over at the Peking Duck.

Did I use any expletives? No. Did I insult anybody? No. So what was my crime? I was accused by somebody called Other Lisa of having a writing style similar or identical to that of Mr.Jones, and within minutes the host of that site deleted my comment.

My comment, incidentally, voiced criticism over this very behaviour. The night before, I and at least two others were accused of being Mr. Jones. Today, another writer named Math was also accused of being Mr.Jones (though everybody else's comments have yet to be deleted - only mine). I find it very sad that everytime somebody expresses a dissenting view over there that they are immediately written off and dismissed as being Mr.Jones.

I have come to the awful conclusion that the Peking Duck not only "mirrors" Western "regimes of truth" (as Mr. Jones argues in his article above), but that the Peking Duck is itself a regime of truth. The site is managed like the Ministry of Truth depicted in Orwell's novel. They not only delete comments they don't like, but they justify doing so by accusing their victims of being somebody they're not. Dissenters are smeared and insulted and deleted.

I shall never read the Peking Duck again. I've deleted it from my reading list!

posted by: Helen on 09.10.05 at 11:19 AM [permalink]

Simon, do you really want your site to become the receptacle for this kind of trash? Don't you see what you're setting yourself up for? It's a true disgrace.

posted by: Richard on 09.10.05 at 11:56 AM [permalink]

What's disgraceful Richard, is that people like you and Martyn are trying to prevent me from having a reasonable discussion with people like Simon himself and others on this site. The conversation here was progressing along quite intelligently until Martyn surfaced to do nothing other than to insult me. Well Martyn, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" - I mean, how about behaving like adults for once.

You can block me from making comments on your site Richard, and you can delete others who you suspect are really me, that's fine. That's you right to do so, but by doing so you merely detract from the integrity of your own site.

My article posted here is perfectly reasonable in what it says Richard. If you disagree with my arguments then why not challenge the arguments themselves, instead of trying to smear me or to bully other blog hosts into also censoring my views?

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.10.05 at 12:44 PM [permalink]

The way that certain blog hosts attempt to smear and to dismiss those whose views they strongly oppose is a subject that in itself is worth examining more closely, and which I think I will write about in my next article.

Just take one of today's posts on the Peking Duck for example: the one titled: "Karen Hughes: Ambassador of Truth". Richard doesn't like her political affiliations and views, which is fine. I don't either. But just take a good look at how he attempts to marginalise her views and to discredit her! He does so by calling into question her very humanity, and by attacking her sexual morality. He writes, "Hughes is the kind of whore who gives PR people a very bad name. She is not human, she is a talking-points robot, a string of sound bites laid end to end."

Very nice of you Richard, to label this woman a "whore" simply because you strongly oppose her views politically. You may not have meant "whore" literally, but your choice of word carries with it certain derogatory implications, and it is in fact a common tactic by men to discredit women by calling them "whores" or "sluts" etc.

George Orwell wrote an entire essay on how such language is used to smear and to distort and to empower.

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.10.05 at 01:08 PM [permalink]

"Helen" = Mark. It's pretty obvious from the use of language and the way it's structured.

posted by: Other Lisa on 09.10.05 at 03:02 PM [permalink]


I've always been clear in my comments policy. To date MAJ has not breached any of those rules. He has something to say and while I may completely disagree with much of it, he is within his rights to say it. It's my definition of freedom of speech. I would hope those that read this site can respect my decisions in how I moderate comments.

That said, MAJ you are sailing close to the wind. Your past history on this and other sites has been to use multiple identities, as Other Lisa has mentioned. I have already told you to get your own blog if you want a soapbox for your thoughts. However to date at this site you have stayed within the bounds I've set, so I have no particular reason to ban you. Nor do I envisage I will have such reason unless you break the rules, and that includes plagarising without citing sources, continually use of multiple personalities, libeluous attacks and so on.

To those who disagree with how I am treating MAJ, I'm sorry but this is my site. Richard runs his how he chooses, and I run this how I choose. I believe in freedom of speach and I believe in practicising what I preach. I fully understand Richard's reasons for banning MAJ from his site and believe they are justified. But MAJ has not justified banning from here...yet.

MAJ - I'll reply to your rebuttal, but only on Monday. If you are using mutliple names for comments, please stop. If you've got something to say, use your own name only.

I hope you can all respect that. If you've got an issue with it or good reasons why I'm wrong, I'm all ears. But the burden of proof is on those making the accusations until MAJ crosses the line. I know Richard and others will disagree with this, but I trust you can respect me and my integrity enough to believe that I will deal with this properly.

posted by: Simon on 09.10.05 at 07:23 PM [permalink]

It wasn't only Richard's decision to ban MAJ from TPD - EVERY SINGLE COMMENTER - turned against MAJ for his stupidity, lies, multiple aliases (like "Helen" above), cut+pasted comments and general narcissistic obsession with himself.

As I said, if you want to allow this narcisstic freak to use and abuse your site to pedal his mentally-disturbed and ignorant views as a ruse for attacking TPD and its owner, fine - it's your site - as you keep reminding us. That, however, is the only excuse you have mate.

You believe in freedom of speech? What the hell has that got to do with anything? The man MAJ is a proven and self-admitted pathological liar, a self-admitted schizophrenic, someone who spams the comments of blogs for his own selfish pleasure and mindless entertainment.

The above article mentions TPD multiple times. Do you think it is any coincidence that this was the same site where, by his own stupid actions, he was exposed and totally humiliated as both a liar and a cheat?

The China blogasphere is a thriving community where news+views are put forward and exchanged. I'm proud to be a member of this community and you are also a huge part of it. However, MAJ has been a shit-stain on this very same communitiy that I love.

We don't need puerile self-obsessed fools like MAJ spewing out his revenge-filled, psuedo-intellectual crap - anywhere.

If I was guest-blogging on TPD and some commenter came on with lengthy diatribes that included slagging off "Simon" and "Simonworld" multiple times, then I would delete it without a second's hesitation.

Unfortunately you blab on about 'your rules' and bloody 'freedom of speech'. It just doesn't wash with me mate. Doesn't wash at all.

Perhaps when/if MAJ gets to know your surname and writes to YOUR boss accusing you of running a hate-site and telling him/her that he is involved in some stupid "experiment" and hopes that he can correspond nand find out more about you, THEN you might not be so inclined to crap on about 'your site rules' and 'freedom of speech'.

I sincerely hope that doesn't happen Simon mate, trust me, I sincerely hope it doesn't as I wouldn't wish that kind of crap on anyone...but MAJ has a history, he has done exactly that before -- that same history that you are so keen to dismiss and regard as irrelevant as long as he doesn't break your precious site rules.

As long as dupes like yourself allow this idiot to use and abuse your site as a vehicle for his self-obsessed crap and personal vendetta against TPD then he will continue to spew it out.

I thought you were one of us. Unfortunately you're not.

Take a good look at yourself mate and tell me with a clear conscience that you consider that what you're doing is right. Tell me that your soul-searching has told you that it's okay to allow MAJ to post his crap on Simonworld.


posted by: Martyn on 09.10.05 at 10:25 PM [permalink]


You are, as usual, behaving in an outrageous manner - you are guilty here of all the things you accuse me of, and more. For starters, I am not a "self-admitted schizophrenic" and I have never written to Richard's former employers! Never! Where is all the proof for these allegations that you make? You are just being ridiculous and outright malicious. I have made NO personal attacks against Richard in either of my articles. None. But all you do is to make personal attacks, and you are, quite frankly, the biggest liar I have ever encountered in cyberspace. I have no intentions of engaging with you anymore. Keep attacking me if you like, but rteally you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.12.05 at 10:15 AM [permalink]

And Richard and Martyn- if I post my comments on other peoples' blogs so what? Please tell me what is fundamentally wrong with that? Nothing! Another blogger (a regular reader of Simon World) has even emailed me wanting my permission to "publish" both my previous and my latest China Daily articles on his own blog. So is there anything wrong with that - that my writings may appear on multiple blogs? Grow up will you, and be reasonable.

And why insult Simon, calling him a "dupe" etc.? My article above is perfectly reasonable. I have not insulted anybody in it. I have not made personal attacks against anybody. Why are you being so spiteful and vindictive? And why are you twisting the truth so much? For example, you claim that I requested other readers to email me photos of their penis. You know damn well that this is not true! Another writer suggested, and jokingly, that Dr Myers will be asking Conrad to send her a photo of his penis next. Dr Myers later responded (obviously not seriously) to this by doing just that. So stop painting me out to be the sexual pervert that I am not. You are just being plain malicious. Period.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.12.05 at 10:44 AM [permalink]

Well, in keeping with Simon's open comments policy where anything goes no matter how destructive or deranged, let me put up my own post so people here can see exactly what's going on. Then decide who's believable. I would usually never do this, but Simon feels whoever wants to use his comments for whatver ends is free to do so. Thus, I need to defend myself from everyone's favorite stalker.

This is from my own blog, posted July 11, 2005:

I will let readers draw their own conclusions about this rather intriguing bit of research started by commenter KLS about fellow commenter MAJ in the last open thread:

MAJ why are you just copying and pasting other people's work?

for example, your really long comment above, starting "Dear Simon and Conrad, The value of the dollar vs the euro is directly related to..."

this is word-for-word copied from elsewhere.

I took a random line and googled it. the line was:
"the US effectively controls the world oil-market as the"

via google I discovered two websites where a long essay has been posted about euros and dollars and oil.
you copied and pasted over 700 words direct from that!

-see Iraq/Iraq_dollar_vs_euro.html

the only thing you changed was to insert intros such as "Simon, Conrad - also remember that..." at the beginning of one or two of the paragraphs.

or take your next long comment, starting:
"Dear Conrad,
The other argument put forward by political analysists"

you directly copied and pasted 500 words that appear on this website:

wouldn't it have been good manners to acknowledge that these words are not your own? and, rather than filling up a thread, to have provided links to these websites instead?

Posted by KLS at July 11, 2005 11:54 AM .

Oh dear, this is an intriguing development indeed. I was so impressed, I started doing my own investigation.

Here's what our feckless Marxist said yesterday (scroll to comment placed at 2:19):

More than four-fifths of all foreign exchange transactions and half of all the world exports are denominated in dollars and US currency accounts for about two-thirds of all official exchange reserves. The fact that billions of dollars worth of oil is priced in dollars ensures the world domination of the dollar. It allows the US to act as the world's central bank, printing currency acceptable everywhere. The dollar has become an oil-backed, not gold-backed, currency.

Well said. Even brilliant. Only, here's what Z Magazine had to say on the subject back in February 2004:

More than four-fifths of all foreign exchange transactions and half of all the world exports are denominated in dollars and U.S. currency accounts for about two-thirds of all official exchange reserves. The fact that billions of dollars worth of oil is priced in dollars ensures the world domination of the dollar. It allows the U.S. to act as the world’s central bank, printing currency acceptable everywhere. The dollar has become an oil-backed, not gold-backed, currency.

Well, well. What are the odds of that being a pure coincidence? And what would the good Dr. Anne Meyers have to say about someone so insecure and eager for attention and approval that he would resort to such nasty tricks, a la Jayson Blair?

A few days earlier, our friend was caught doing the same thing and, as usual, had a sorta-kinda excuse akin to a dog eating one's homework; that excuse, where he said he had made reference to his source and was rapidly cutting and pasting and blah blah blah - that excuse won't fly this time because there's no attribution. Zero. It is literally an act of deception, in which MAJ consciously and consistently led us all to believe he himself was the author. And that is a very serious offense.

Again, I like MAJ. But when you blog, what you write is there for everyone to see, and if you get caught BS'ing, your crediblity is gone for good. This is a matter of lying. Deception. Fraud. And he's a repeat offender. And not even the good "Dr." Anne Myers can get him out of this mess. Sorry if this causes you a tad of embarrassment, Mark, but you left yourself wide open. I invite readers to comb the archives and find other instances of MAJ's creative cut & paste capabilities. There's a lot more where these few examples came from.

Oh, and I can already visualize Mark's reaction: [Click here, and scroll down to the photo.]

And whatever you do, don't miss the comments to that post, where Jones admits to impersonating an elderly female doctor and requesting photos of the penises of male readers of Peking Duck. And he says Martyn and I should be ashamed.

posted by: richard on 09.12.05 at 10:55 AM [permalink]

Richard - all I can say is that I really do hope that readers take the time to carefully read through the Fantabulist thread, so that they can see for themselves (a) how entertaining that entire episode was, (b) how malicious you are being in claiming that I was after photos of other peoples' penises because as I said in my comment above, that is a serious distortion of the truth.

At any rate, nothing in the Fantabulist thread invalidates any of the arguments I have presented above, does it?

Your behaviour on this site says more about you than it does about me Richard.

Have a nice day!

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.12.05 at 11:07 AM [permalink]

[NOTE - Mark maintains he did not post this comment on the CD forum]

Then there was Jones' confession on China Daily, which should be required reading.

Let us move on from the present tit-fot-tat nonsense.

I admit that it is bad practice to copy and paste significant passages from other peoples' articles without acknowledging the source. What I do really, is little different from what any journalist or academic writer does when they're putting together an essay or a polemic, except that I do not take the time and the care to acknowledge my sources. And why should I? I have far better things to do. It really makes no difference.

I'm not the big fraud that Richard makes me out to be. I believe most bloggers and even most commenters here cut and paste most of their material, which is written by someone else. Everyone does it.

O.K. I accept the criticism though. It is bad practice. And I cannot hide the fact that I adopted various and disparate personas for my posting on Peking Duck, as I explained in Richard's post "The Fantabulist." My strategy was to present myself merely as a creation, as a persona, no different from Dr Myers. Well, I did create Dr Myers, and the Mark Anthony Jones that I present on Peking Duck is in many ways not the Mark Anthony Jones that I present to my friends and colleagues, who is altogether different again from the Mark Anthony Jones that I present to say, my grandparents for example. We all alter our behavioural patterns quite automatically, depending on the social scene we're in. So what's wrong with pretending to be different people and having a little fun along the way? Don't we all have multiple personalities?

So why did I create Dr Myers, and why has the Mark Anthony Jones Peking Duck persona changed over time? Well, that really is an easy question to answer. I'm bored!

I work as the Academic Director for GAC, a Chinese company licensed to manage training centres that deliver a university foundations program. I'm paid adequately, but we have no training centres open yet, and I have been here in this job for just over one year. This is my fourth year in China though.

So basically, for the last 13 months, I have been paid to sit in a nice air conditioned luxury office, in front of this computer, but with absolutely no work to do! I'm not exaggerating when I say that. I sit here from 9 to 5 each week day, in front of this computer. I'm the only foreigner here in this office, and normally the only other person here is the secretary. So reading Peking Duck is one of the ways I entertain myself while at work.

So, in my boredom, I decided to experiment on Richard and his readers, who would be unknowing guineau pigs as I tried to manipulate and predict their reactions. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it did not. I was surprised, frankly, that Richard never posted photographs of me that I sent him unsolicited. I predicted he would try to embarrass me with them, and it was an interesting test. I also admit I may have gone a bit far, dwelling on the private parts of several male commenters while I was being Dr Myers and even requesting photos of their genitalia. But what of it? I was bored and it offered me amusement.

There is no need to smear me as a cutter and paster or as an adopter of various personas. I freely admit these things. But these were very small matters and they have been blown out of all proportion by the Peking Duck henchmen. So let us move on and discuss my article itself and its documented complaints against Peking Duck, Horse's Mouth and their commenters. Let us stay on subject and focus on the matter at hand, and not unimportant and irrelevant aspects of my personal life. Thank you all, and I look forward to your comments on the China-bashing blogs in English.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: richard on 09.12.05 at 11:08 AM [permalink]

OK, time out.

Richard - I know the issues you have with MAJ. However it is wrong to characterise my comments as a place "where anything goes no matter how destructive or deranged". As I've stated previously, MAJ has done nothing on these pages to breach the rules of decency or respect that I expect people to abide by. You are within your rights to reply as you have, pointing out MAJ's past. But keep this civil.

MAJ - this applies to you as well. You're right in saying let's move on.

Debate the matters at hand (where I disagree on many levels with MAJ). I find it amazing that the Kissel case, where there are many heated emotions and in a real case of life and death, has managed to remain civil over the course of 250+ comments. We're all adults here. Let's behave like it.

posted by: Simon on 09.12.05 at 11:13 AM [permalink]

Dear Simon,

I respectfully request that you delete the above comment, as I did not write it. Somebody else wrote that comment, and pasted it under my name on the China Daily forum. It paraphrases me in parts, but I did not produce this comment. Richard is what, close to [edit] years of age, and this is how he behaves? And he and Martyn both accuse me of being a "freak"!

I am not going to comment any further to anybody who launches into vicious personal attacks - only to those comments which focus critically on the arguments I express in my article above.

Thank you.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.12.05 at 11:17 AM [permalink]

Simon I'll engage with you, not Dr. Meyers or whoever the other fellow is. You saw how he invented new "personas" (to use his own words) to congratulate himself for comments here. Yet you permit it. You allow him to post diatribes thinly veiled to take potshots at me. So please, get used to it: I will also avail myself of your infinite generosity and tolerance and defend myself. Jones is trying to destroy me. I've tried to tell you that. His comments have nothing to do with your linklets, he's just getting free space to spread his poison. And you allow it, ducking behind your comments policy which, I'm afraid, gives anyone the right to do whatever he or she damn chooses here, even if it hurts the lives of others. So enjoy the increased number of comments, but realize it will destroy your blog and drive away readers, as it did to me. You know what Jones is and what he is doing. But you allow it because it's in line with your "policy." Fine. Now you can have the honor of being the Madge blog, a receptacle for trash and slander and phony comments cooing about the genius of his "structuralist" brilliance. Remember how you had to delete his comments and close down the thread because he kept using your comments to hurt me? Remember? Now he's being a bit more subtle, but his intentions are plain to the naked eye. It's your choice to harbor his brand of cyber-terrorism. Just realize that it is poison, and it will infect your entire blog. Your choice.

posted by: richard on 09.12.05 at 11:26 AM [permalink]

I just received an email from a regular reader of both TPD and Simon World - the one I referred to earlier, from the peroson wo wanting my permission to publish both my origianl China Daily article, and my recent one, printed above. My initial response was to say yes, though I warned the person in question that by publishing my articles on his blog, he will likely be inviting for himself considerable trouble. Below is his response:

"Dear Mr Jones,

Thank you very much for your permission. I undertake to handle your article as requested. I will publish it by the end of this month.

I have noted the angry remarks made by "Richard and friends". But my policy is simple: either one's article is worth publishing or it is not. The fact that one's internet behaviour might be not agreeable is neither here nor there."

Finally! Somebody decent-minded, and with intelligence!

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.12.05 at 11:27 AM [permalink]

Richard - how am I trying to "destroy" you? You're being absolutely bloody ridiculous. There is nothing in my article above which says anything malicious about you. You're being way over the top - way over-sensitive.

You're the one who is clearly behaving maliciously here. How is my article "hurting" your "life"? Where is the "poison" that you speak of?

Please be reasonable.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.12.05 at 11:36 AM [permalink]

Re-read the Fantabulist, Simon, and tell me how anyone can believe a single word our friend says? Dr. Meyers, Stephen Bryce and at least four other "personas," all telling us how smart he is.

posted by: richard on 09.12.05 at 11:38 AM [permalink]

Richard, I'm not a fool. I'm well aware of the history behind this. But so far MAJ has played within the rules on this site. He hasn't attacked you personally, although he has attacked your blog and views. I've told MAJ to desist from using multiple personalities and find it a great irony that he has been a victim of the same problem in the China Daily thread. People can judge him on the comments he makes, and they are now well versed on his history thanks to your postings. Readers will attach whatever credence they choose based on the information.

I am not doing this to encourage comments. I have already likely lost readers for allowing MAJ to post here. That's a shame but it is a choice readers can make for themselves. I hope they can see past a comment thread and enjoy the huge variety of comment on these pages.

Should he repeat the previous episode where his attacks became personal, I will ban him. But he has followed the code so far and I see no legitimate reason to ban him. You call that him being "more subtle". I like to think he has learnt from his mistakes.

MAJ has not yet abused my tolerance or the rules of this site. Until such time as he does, he's free to post comments here. The second he steps over the line, he'll be banned, as will anyone else. I hope everyone can respect my judgement and integrity enough in moderating these comments.

posted by: Simon on 09.12.05 at 12:08 PM [permalink]

Okay Simon. You know I wouldn't get upset like this if I didn't honestly fear for my future. I know what this person is capable of, and I'm sure you saw his China Daily post where he casually reveals my last name, knowing I wish to keep it private. That says so much. No person with a conscience does something like that. And he's done so much worse than that, and when you give him a platform, it aids and abets his very devious intentions. I would stop this in an instant if he would show the maturity and decency to simply agree not to keep referencing my blog, and to stop referring to my age and last name (although he is wrong on my age - still, you know he's using this because he believes it can hurt me). I'm stuck, and I was silent for days, and finally I just had to say something. He sends me emails, he posts on my site, he contacts my employer - and I have begged him to give me just this simple courtesy: Please Mark, just leave me alone. But he can't, whether it's due to some personality disorder or loneliness or...I just don't know. I have always thought of you and I as friends and still look back on our meeting in Singapore as one of the high points of my sojourn there. To see you letting him snipe at me simply breaks my heart, because it's not you and it's not what your blog is about. Follow your conscience, do what you feel is appropriate. I am willing to stop this right now. All I ask is that MAJ respect my right to privacy and to a life, and stop going onto other blogs to take shots at me. Is that really so much? I am willing to be extend the olive branch and end this all. But whenever I do, I am shocked to see Mark only ramp up the campaign. I don't understand it, and I just want it to sop. Please?

posted by: richard on 09.12.05 at 12:36 PM [permalink]

Grammatical error: Should have been "you and me. And thanks for closing the other thread. It was definitely time.

posted by: richard on 09.12.05 at 12:39 PM [permalink]

Richard - I have NEVER contacted your employer! Stop lying!

And what are these "devious" intentions of mine that you claim I have? You're being ridiculous. I didn't say that you were [edit]. I said almost. So what? How is that supposed to "hurt" you?

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.12.05 at 01:02 PM [permalink]

I saw what MAJ wrote to my employer. It is a matter of fact, not conjecture. He also denied being "Dr. Anne Meyers" until the proof was presented. Then he cavalierly dismissed id it -- he was bored at GAC, so it was okay. This is called sociopathic behavior, having no qualms at all about lying and hurting anyone in your path. And all readers of the Fantabulist know this; Madge has admitted doing these things. He cannot deny this. It's all there, in how own words, try as he might to back-pedal now.

If I wish to keep my name and age private,that is my right. Anyone who intentionally sets out to reveal such private information is behaving in an inappropriate manner. Everyone with a conscience realizes this.

Simon, how would you feel to have someone go to various blogs and to China Daily revealing details of your life that, for whatever reason, you choose to keep private? Information about your wife, your children? Is this acceptable? Is it a sign of maturity and politeness? Or of a harrassment mentality, a person bent on needling and upsetting another human being for nothing but sadistic pleasure? I think we all know the answer. That we even have to argue about it is so strange, so sad.

posted by: richard on 09.12.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

Richard - you may very well have seen whatever it was that somebody else sent to your employer, but it was most certainly NOT sent by me - and I think you know that. Where is your proof that it was me who sent your employer this letter?

This is as low as it gets Richard. I'm disgusted.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.12.05 at 01:22 PM [permalink]

Richard, I understand your position and I've stood up for you both here and behind the scenes, as you well know. I appreciate the hurt and anger you feel. However I cannot ban MAJ from here because of what he may or may not have done somewhere else. You're right, I wouldn't like someone revealing private details of my life, but I also know that publishing a blog potentially exposes me to that risk.

If what MAJ is says is true (and I understand his credibility is not necessarily high) then it seems there are far more sinister undertones than anyone has been aware. Let's all work together and get to the bottom of it. Who knows, we may all end up getting along well at the end of this and being able to debate the issues again.

posted by: Simon on 09.12.05 at 01:34 PM [permalink]

Thank you Simon, for being so reasonable. Neither my original China Daily article nor the one above makes any personal attacks whatsoever against Richard (unless you consider me mentioning his surname as an attack, which I maintain is silly - I did, after all, discover his surname from this very site!) I wish that Richard would stop harrassing me. Every time I post a critical analysis of his site on blogs other than his own, he launches himself into a vicious smear campaign. My article on the September 8 linklet didn't even mention him or his blog, and yet he still saw fit to post nasty and malicious comments about me on that thread.

We may all indeed end up getting along if we can focus on debating issues, and I sincerely hope that this is what eventuates. But I have every right to deconstruct Richard's blog. If he can't accept criticisms of it, then perhaps he shouldn't host a blog at all. There really is no need for him to attack me personally each time I deconstruct his blog. He can attack my views, sure, but to conclude that I must be a deranged psychopath stalking him is just plain ridiculous., and to accuse me of writing letters to his employers is just incredibly vicious.

Other blog hosts want to publish my articles from the China Daily on their sites, and yes, they have read the Fantabulist, etc., and they can judge the episode for what it was, not for what Richard has been trying to make it out to be.

I look forward to discussing the arguments raised, rather than having to waste so much of my time defending myself against every charge under the sun.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.12.05 at 01:54 PM [permalink]

It is interesting that each of those who have injected their thoughts into this subject have their own confined level or stream of observation. That summarizes the big picture of the problem. Most people find their area of comfort and tend to remain in that area.
Western governments find their truths in frail agendas that promote their own needs. Those who find their governments to be of complete and total authority follow along with the promoted information. Others who regard government to be less than honest determine their own truths by other sources of information that may or may not be accurate.
Then there are the adventurers. They seek out their truth by discovery and yet, they only learn that which they have discovered by restricting their adventure to safe boundries.
I find this to be "human nature" in view of the diverse opinions found in the west as well as those diverse Chinese mis-conceptions of the west!
In the end, things seem equal in the mystery of east and west. Each provence is a world within a country of diverse worlds just as you would find in the U.S. To apply a blanket statement to one culture by another is to ignore the many other truths that exist. Life in Yunnan is totally different from life in Shanghai as you would find Montana being totally different from New York.
These opinions, wide and diverse as they are, only apply to a narrow stream of individuals who see the world through similar eyes. We all must remember the uneducated laborer, the dreamers, the adventurers and all those who are part of our complicated cultures within cultures.
Each set of individuals represent an individual stream of ideas which flow next to a totally different stream which in turn is part of an infinite number of streams of ideas.

posted by: spiritrace on 09.12.05 at 02:53 PM [permalink]

It is interesting that each of those who have injected their thoughts into this subject have their own confined level or stream of observation. That summarizes the big picture of the problem. Most people find their area of comfort and tend to remain in that area.
Western governments find their truths in frail agendas that promote their own needs. Those who find their governments to be of complete and total authority follow along with the promoted information. Others who regard government to be less than honest determine their own truths by other sources of information that may or may not be accurate.
Then there are the adventurers. They seek out their truth by discovery and yet, they only learn that which they have discovered by restricting their adventure to safe boundries.
I find this to be "human nature" in view of the diverse opinions found in the west as well as those diverse Chinese mis-conceptions of the west!
In the end, things seem equal in the mystery of east and west. Each provence is a world within a country of diverse worlds just as you would find in the U.S. To apply a blanket statement to one culture by another is to ignore the many other truths that exist. Life in Yunnan is totally different from life in Shanghai as you would find Montana being totally different from New York.
These opinions, wide and diverse as they are, only apply to a narrow stream of individuals who see the world through similar eyes. We all must remember the uneducated laborer, the dreamers, the adventurers and all those who are part of our complicated cultures within cultures.
Each set of individuals represent an individual stream of ideas which flow next to a totally different stream which in turn is part of an infinite number of streams of ideas.

posted by: spiritrace on 09.12.05 at 02:57 PM [permalink]

If what MAJ is says is true (and I understand his credibility is not necessarily high) then it seems there are far more sinister undertones than anyone has been aware. Let's all work together and get to the bottom of it. Who knows, we may all end up getting along well at the end of this and being able to debate the issues again.

Yes, Simon, thanks for being so reasonable. Look at Mark's admitted lies in the Fantabulist, especially his own commentsa, where he first denies and then admits being a 65-year-old woman, and tell me he is in any way a valid source and a sincere dispense of insight. Tell me you honestly believe that, and we'll let it go. Also, you assured me earier you would remove any of Madge's references to my age (whatever he mnay imagine it to be). I would appreciate your sticking to your word.

posted by: richard on 09.12.05 at 05:36 PM [permalink]


I've edited as per your request. You've also hit the nail on the head: MAJ's past has been clearly laid out, and everyone can judge the validity of his comments and views based on that.

posted by: Simon on 09.12.05 at 05:45 PM [permalink]

Of all the China Daily comments, this one certainly gave me the most chuckles:

Yes, congratulations to my dear friend with the intriguingly shaped member, M.A. Jones! And congratulations to Mopy, who is also M.A. Jones, for doing such a fine job congratulating himself for his own genius. Oh what a fine thread! In my 44 years of service as a psychotherapist and analologist, I've rarely seen anything like it. M.A. Jones and his throbbing member has squirted a new load of, I mean life into the CD threads! What does it matter that he calls himself Mopy or Stephen or Mark or Dr. Myles - what matters is, he is having fun! And when M.A. Jones has fun we all have fun! Here's to this thread going on and on forever in a glorious atomic chain reaction that makes Hiroshima look like a Chinese sparkler. Here's to M.A. Jones' member, and all the smegma dripping and stinking on it! Here's to Mopy's used tampon! Oh, praise God, praise Mao for this glorious thread! As M.A. Jones' personal proctologist, I can assure you he's been exiting rich, technicolor bricks ever since he posted his piece de resistance. Come on, M.A. Jones, we all breathlessly await your next impersonation telling us all how brilliant you are! Don't leave us in suspence -- more, more, more! And since you said your school is well aware of this thread, I hope they too can join in the fun and praise you and your droppings. I hope they appreciate our love of you and the creative characters you've created, and the stories that have flowed out of your ars, um, your febrile imagination! Keep it up, M.A. Jones. Way, way up, firm, erect and proud, with a bit of liquid oozing out of the tip, and veins pulsing and protruding in proud Marxist form!

Oh, what fun it's been! The thread that will last forever! A tribute to M.A. Jones, my adored patient, and all he stands for, integrity, wisdom and honesty. Let us all kowtow to my patient. Let me snap on my latex glove and show him how deep my appreciation goes! Oh, wait a minute, I think he might have just a spot of diarreah....

No, I didn't write it. But whoever did is damnned smart.

posted by: richard on 09.12.05 at 05:51 PM [permalink]

Dear Simon,

You might also like to delete the comment Richard posted above, beginning, "Then there was Jones'..." as I did not write this at all. Somebody posted it under my name on the China Daily site.

The Fantabulist episode surely doesn't invalidate my arguments above? Are you saying Richard, that that one episode invalidates all that I say for the rest of my life, and that other blog hosts therefore shouldn't allow me to post on their blogs? Surely you're not that unreasonable, are you?

If you disagree with my analysis, fine, say why? But please don't continue to smear me, or to bully other blog hosts into deleting my comments on the basis of the Fantabulist episode.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.12.05 at 05:55 PM [permalink]

The above comment also gave me a lot of chuckles too Richard! :)

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 09.12.05 at 05:57 PM [permalink]

MAJ - the comment Richard cut and pasted for the CD forum has been ammended to note your contention that you did not post it.

posted by: Simon on 09.12.05 at 06:08 PM [permalink]

I would actually like Simon to delete the entire thread. That's fine with me. I mean Madge no harm, and said I wanted a peace, where he would simply respect my privacy and leave me alone. Notice it took about 40 seconds for him to respond to my last comment to Simon, so he is obviously waiting here, living from one comment to the next. Simon, what I'm trying to get you to realize is that this is his life. All these invented people who never commented on your site or my site before who suddennly show up and make comments about Madge's brilliance -- you don't see this as a red flag? He stated, in so many words (in earlier comments), that this is his life, because he doesn't have enough work to do. Again, see his own comments explaining why he "created" Dr Meyers. See his own comments where se said he does this to get a rise out of people because he is bored. It's okay, you can have your comments policy and keep him on as a mascot here. I have to bear the brunt of it, not you, so I guess you're happy. But I suggest you limit him to this now old and unread thread. Once this spreads to the top, that's the end of this blog, as no one wants to read this crap. And no one will have any respect for you.

posted by: richard on 09.12.05 at 06:09 PM [permalink]

Okay, thanks for editing Simon. As I've said before, I am willing to stop this nonsense and declare a complkete truce any time. I even wrote a post about it, and then deleted it from my site because Madge needs to be contained and there was no reason to prod him on to do yet more damage. But you will discover something - Madge always has to have the last word. And it will go on and on until you close the thread, and the next one he infects.

posted by: richard on 09.12.05 at 06:13 PM [permalink]

I agree with Richard...this thread is a waste of everyone's time and energy.

Let's call this a truce and all get on with our lives.

The thread is closed.

posted by: Simon on 09.12.05 at 06:23 PM [permalink]

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