October 16, 2005

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Peking Duck: Peaceable Poultry or Communist Collaborator?

In June 18, 1976, hippie Christian rocker Pedro the Lion reminds us

Speeding toward the ground Through the air without a sound So gracefully

Twelve flights down, nearly naked on the ground
Skin and tragedy always attract a crowd

Well, considering that SimonWorld's quality has doubtless been speeding toward the ground without our Captain, and we've had plenty of skin (and commentary), it's time to throw some tragedy into the mix. Let's attract a crowd.

And what's more tragic than two bloggers who don't agree? Nothing.

So, without knowing anything else than Peking Duck is on Sinophile Simon's regular rotation, and that TM Lutas is on Sinophile TPMB's regular rotation, so both are extremely intelligent, well-spoken, and accomplished bloggers, I present

Peking Duck: Peaceable Poultry or Communist Collaborator?

From TM Lutas' account:

I picked up The Peking Duck into my regular blog reading because I think I should get more information about the PRC in my news diet. The header of the comments page was really optimistic:

Note to commenters: All viewpoints are tolerated. Comments will never be deleted or edited except in cases of blatant disrespect or maliciousness as determined by the site owner. Thank you for commenting.

Unfortunately, the actual policy doesn't follow the header. I'm banned. I still read the thing and occasionally try to comment on the odd chance that the ban might be lifted. Sigh, to no avail so far. Anyway, this article on Afghanistan got my fire up. Under the Taliban, articles critical of sharia were a quick way to commit suicide. Now, they're an entry into a slow, deliberate judicial process to determine whether a crime against the state religion was committed, something you might have easily seen in 19th century England.

My rejected comment below:

A US that were imperialist, colonialist, would be a miserable failure if this is the result of our imposed government in Afghanistan. A US that is trying to set up a process whereby real governments, chosen by Afghans, start the long process of reconciliation with the modern world would view the Karzai government as a success.

Ultimately, the lash punishments will fall if the people want them to in a free Afghanistan. The forces that support such punishments would have already killed the author and possibly the publisher of the magazine in question. Today, they're submitting the article for the government to decide whether charges should be filed. If you can hardly see a difference between the two, get better glasses

Was TM Lutas' comment out of bounds? Peking Duck too strict in censorship?

posted by Dan tdaxp on 10.16.05 at 10:19 AM in the


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I got the impression from what Lutas said that he wasn't banned for that comment, he was banned a while ago but tried commenting again just recently to no avail.

In any case though, it's puzzling. TM is usually quite polite in his comments, so I don't know why anybody would ban him.

posted by: Matt McIntosh on 10.16.05 at 12:42 PM [permalink]

Bingfeng was accused of "CCP minion" in the debate on the Guardian Taishi report:


posted by: LfC on 10.16.05 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

Someone else was recently banned for the Duck for posting, trolling as some people call it, long arguements. Really the Duck has seriously declined in quality and its been a slow slide to the bottom for the last couple of months now.

posted by: Jing on 10.17.05 at 01:36 AM [permalink]

Jing, why not try reading my new China blog then? I have a very clear Guest Book policy, and if you go to the China Articles section, you will see that I write about the bigger issues - which I am interested in exploring with those among you who are interested enough to engage in discussion by leaving intelligent comments.

My site is at:
f r e e w e b . c o m / f l o w i n g w a t e r s

or try the mirror site, which allows longer comments to be posted, at:


Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 10.17.05 at 12:22 PM [permalink]

I know, I know, I have a really bad blog and an evil comments policy. I ban everyone and delete all the comments. Go there now and see how few comments I have on my blog.

Jing, you and I disagree all the time - have I ever banned you? Deleted you? Have I ever banned Bingfeng? I do not ban people for posting long arguments; go see some of Sun Bing's and everlasting's comments - very long and very good.

Simon, you nad I have bitter fights about politics. Have I ever deleted or banned your comments, ever?

LFC, I just went back to the thread you cited, and no where, ever did I call bingfeng a "minion" and I don't think he is. Please don't misrepresent the truth; it only makes you look bad.

Lutas is being less than truthful about why I banned him and he knows it. But this was a shrewd move on his part, and an even shrewder move on Simon's part. :-)

Look, if you have a problem with my blog, there are plenty of others. Those who comment there regularly know I will not delete comments that disagree with me. You have to work for it.

By the way, it's nice to see an active comment thread over here.

posted by: richard on 10.17.05 at 03:02 PM [permalink]

I do apologize to LFC - I did say this to Bingfeng: "The minions are people like you, bright and decent and well-intentioned, but conditioned to believe the Pary line and ever ready to respond in a Pavlovian manner to any sign of an outsider criticizing or questioning the Party." While that isn't quite calling him a minion, it's close enough, and I forgot that I said it. Sorry for questioning your integrity.

posted by: richard on 10.17.05 at 03:15 PM [permalink]

I posted this a minute ago but it didn't show up so I'll try once more:

I did say this to BF in my comments: "The minions are people like you, bright and decent and well-intentioned, but conditioned to believe the Pary line and ever ready to respond in a Pavlovian manner to any sign of an outsider criticizing or questioning the Party."

While I didn't call him a minion per se, what I said was close enough to that, so I apologize for calling into question your integrity; I was wrong, and forgot that I wrote that. Sincerely sorry about that.

posted by: richard on 10.17.05 at 03:27 PM [permalink]

Don't bring me into this - this was all driven by a guest poster.

The golden rule is simple - each blog/site owner can do as they like. If anyone's got a problem with it, start their own blog. Richard runs his site how he likes, and he still gets more comments that the rest of us put together. That tells us all something.

posted by: Simon on 10.17.05 at 04:06 PM [permalink]

And Simon, sorry for getting snarky - I was just surprised to see another thread about my blog over here. Hope you had a good trip, and that's a great post you did on Taishi today.

posted by: richard on 10.17.05 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

Never mind. I appreciate that you have made two unequivocal and prompt corrections.

Simon is of course right to say that "[Richard] still gets more comments that the rest of us put together." A single open thread in TPD can attract more than a hundred comments, more than the total of my 2.5 month old blog. But that is exactly the reason why some bloggers take issue with the way you blog / your comment policy.

Your Taishi posts / responses to commentators disappointed me. Because I had and still have expectations.

posted by: LfC on 10.17.05 at 05:54 PM [permalink]

LFC, I wish I could be all things to all people. I speak/write what I feel, and my coverage of the Taishi story was totally sincere and comes to the exact same conclusions as Rebecca MacKinnon and Simon, to the letter. That doesn't mean my assesment was right, but it does mean I'm not the only one who sees it that way. Anyway, I write about lots of stuff. If I can be the same as Mao - 70 percent good, 30 percent not-so-god - I'll be satisfied.

posted by: richard on 10.17.05 at 06:06 PM [permalink]

For once you're exercising a little sense of humour Richard. I'm referring to the last line in your comment immediately above, of course!

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 10.17.05 at 06:21 PM [permalink]

For once you're exercising a bit of sense of humour Richard! I'm referring to your last sentence in the comment you left immediately above, of course.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 10.17.05 at 06:23 PM [permalink]


I am not disappointed by your STANCE. Disagreement, perhaps. But not disappointment. In fact, I criticised Mr Joffe-Walt for creating the red herring – I think on the "red herring" point (that the grassroots democracy is the core issue), we (Rebecca, you, Simon and me and many other bloggers) are in agreement.

In the Taishi post in question, I really cannot see why Bingfeng deserved the label. To me this is not tolerance.

"Those who disagree with you are not necessarily stupid or insane. Nobody needs to be described as silly: let your analysis prove that he is" (The Economist Style Guide).

posted by: LfC on 10.17.05 at 07:26 PM [permalink]

LFC, I like Bingfeng and didn't mean to label him as anything. If I was harsh on him, I'm sorry about that. I thought that in this episode he was, perhaps without knowing it, parroting the Party line, but I know he has the brains to do his own thinking. Again, I can't please everyone all the time, and I hope you don't judge one hastily written comment, one of many, as representativce of my entire site. (I wrote it so quickly I didn't even remember writing it; sometimes my site is like that.)

posted by: richard on 10.17.05 at 11:24 PM [permalink]


If anyone was upset by this post I apologize. This post was by me, not Simon. I enjoy reading TM and PD, and enjoy reading to sites that link to TM (like TPMB) and PD (like SW), so this interested me. Again, I apologize.

On a slightly happier note, another cross-blog conversation is going very well. See Thomas P.M. Barnett and John Robb on the Iraq War.

posted by: Dan tdaxp on 10.17.05 at 11:28 PM [permalink]

I am going to break with tradition and comment. I do not comment on this site because it is a whore forum for Mark Jones and he is a mentalist.

I have had comments edited on Peking Duck because I referred to my dislike of Other Lisa's posts and comments. She ruins the site for me, not the deletion policy. After she told everyone to mourn after Katrina, I am still waiting for similar words from her after 54,000 dead in the earthquake. I will not hold my breathe.

As I read it, Dan txpqrt is just a little blogger using the big blogger Peking Duck name to drum up comments for his little post. Nothing more than that.

Grow up and learn to blog about a real subject Dan twqipfgkhldpoekizxeqi. That is my advice.

Simon will accept anyone (Mark Jones) and anything (this post) on this site to try and drum up comments. Shame, because that is exactly why I do not comment here.

posted by: Brian on 10.18.05 at 12:34 AM [permalink]

Duck's running dog?

posted by: lin on 10.18.05 at 02:58 AM [permalink]

Brian, as I told you, I appreciate your comments and - so everyone here is clear - I have never deleted them; I did, openly, edit your personal snipe at Lisa, which I said was inappropriate. As for her asking people to pray for Katrina victims and not mentioning the earthquake - she knew New Orleans and had a personal attachment to it, like blogger Joseph Bosco, who can be accused of the same offense. To wish the people of New Orleans well but to not blog about catastrophes in other places is no crime. I haven't blogged a word about the earthquake or many other global issues because I don't have time and I have to prioritize with the items that are closest to me. So this is an unfair criticisms, I believe.

posted by: richard on 10.18.05 at 09:59 AM [permalink]

Not to be nosy, but I notice Richard never did bother to explain why he banned TM. I've searched his site and I can't find a single comment by TM that's even remotely offensive. Enquiring minds what to know.

posted by: Matt McIntosh on 10.18.05 at 12:22 PM [permalink]

I don't wanna sound like an asshole here, but I guess I will anyway. Here's the definition of minion.
minion: a servile dependent, follower, or underling.
This will sound rude, but I think it fits bingfeng ok. He's never exactly "suprised" me with any of his comments. He's like an interactive version of the People's Daily. Additionally, he's always quite happy to engage in similar name calling and personal attacks.

posted by: Kevin on 10.18.05 at 04:58 PM [permalink]

Kevin, why unnecessarily insult Bingfeng? Does it give you a thrill?

Besides, if you bother to read Bingfeng's posts about the Taishi issue, you might end up quite impressed - he asks searching and pertinent questions, all the right questions in fact.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Mark Anthony Jones on 10.18.05 at 05:34 PM [permalink]

I wouldn't say that was an unnecessary insult. I just stated my opinion, without even pretending I was someone else, as some of us do.
I have read bingfeng's posts on taishi, and was far from impressed. I would not hesitate to call him a minion. Sorry if that offends you.
Feel free to visit http://tinyurl.com/7qbvj
for my opinion on "questions."

posted by: Kevin on 10.18.05 at 06:05 PM [permalink]

Fair enough then Kevin. I will visit your site to find out your opinion. You can read my two articles on the topic too if you want to know mine - "The myth of CCP totalitarianism" and "A few thoughts on peasant activism" - in the "China Articles" section of my blog. My blog also has a mirror site at:

f r e e w e b s . c o m / f l o a t i n g w a t e r s

I still think you are being very unfair on Bingfeng though. Perhaps you are reading too much into him.

Mark Anthony Jones

posted by: Flowing Waters Never Stale on 10.18.05 at 06:14 PM [permalink]

Simon said, "The golden rule is simple - each blog/site owner can do as they like. "

1. No one has any right to comment on Simon's discretion to what is allowed on his site (and what not). This applies to TPD as well.

2. Whoever this Lutas guy claimed, was a complaint on the discrepany about the 'welcome comment note' of TPD and how it was excecuted.
But banning is a subjective action, since one can always ask why certain predictable minions are cheered while other "minions" were banned.

But the solution is easy, just change (or add to) that note saying there is exception, and such exception is entirely up to the discretion of the owner. No one can call anyone a hypocrite then.

posted by: sun bin on 10.19.05 at 04:20 AM [permalink]

I checked the Lutas quote again above.
It said, "...as determined by the site owner"

So there were disclaimers. We really should not be blaming TPD. He was just applying the sole discretion of the site owner. He can choose to tolerate some "blatantly disrepect and malicious comment" while not others, because he determines what it is and what it is not.

posted by: sun bin on 10.19.05 at 04:34 AM [permalink]

Brian - thanks for breaking your rule and commenting here to tell us why you don't comment here. You are absolutely free to comment or not as you like. Likewise, each blog owner is able to accept, edit or delete comments as they like. Each has their own policy and way of running comments. Richard has made his clear, I've made mine clear.

I'm also sorry that you think this is a "whore forum" and these debates are about generating visits. As it happens there have been a neglible number of hits from this or any of the other Maj-related posts. If you really can't find any other posts here that you deem worthy of comment, that's up to you. Petty slander only serves to make you look foolish, not those you are throwing mud at.

Quite frankly, Brian, your comment has come the closest to getting an edit or ban here, far more so than anything anything MAJ or anyone else has ever written in these pages. So far this thread has teetered above a slanging match, managing to remain relatively civil even while people are vehmently disagreeing. Please let's keep it that way.

And Brian, if you don't like how Richard or I run our blogs, start your own.

posted by: Simon on 10.19.05 at 10:58 AM [permalink]

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