O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

Mostrando postagens com marcador China. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador China. Mostrar todas as postagens

segunda-feira, 24 de julho de 2017

BRICS Co-operation: Assessment and Next Steps - Seminar Itamaraty, August 1, 2017, 9am-4pm




BRICS Co-operation: Assessment and Next Steps
Auditório Paulo Nogueira Batista, Anexo II, Palácio Itamaraty
Brasília, 1 August 2017

Draft Programme*

09:00–09:20
Opening

§  Ambassador Sérgio Eduardo Moreira Lima, President of FUNAG
§  Ambassador Georges Lamazière, Under Secretary General for Asia and the Pacific
§  Ambassador Li Jinzhang, Ambassador of China to Brazil
§  Assistant Minister Hu Zhengyue, Vice President of China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA)

09:20–10:40
One Decade of the BRICS: Assessment and Next Steps

§  Professor Wu Xiaoqiu, Vice-President of Renmin University
§  Ambassador Sergio Florencio, Director for International Economic and Political Relations, IPEA
§  Minister Mariana Madeira, Head of the Division for BRICS and IBSA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
§  Minister Benoni Belli, Secretary for Diplomatic Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
§  Professor Thomas Dwyer, Co-ordinator, BRICS Studies Project, University of Campinas

10:40–11:00
Coffee Break


11:00–12:40
Breadth and Depth: Priorities for BRICS Co-operation
Moderator : Professor WangWen, Executive Dean Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China

§  Mr. Zhao Xiyuan, Secretary-General of China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA)
§  Counsellor Rina-Louise Pretorius, Embassy of South Africa to Brazil
§  XX, Embassy of India to Brazil
§  XX, Embassy of Russia to Brazil
§  Professor Zhao Xijun, Deputy Dean of School of Finance, Renmin University of China
12:40–14:00
Lunch Break



14:00– 15:40

Financial Co-operation, Investment and the New Development Bank
Moderator: Minister Paulo Roberto de Almeida, Director of IPRI

§  Professor Murilo Portugal, President of FEBRABAN
§  Minister Norberto Moretti, Director of the Department for Financial Affairs and Services, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
§  Professor Wang Wen, Executive Dean, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China (RDCY)
§  Professor Marcos Troyjo, Director, BRICLab, Columbia University
§  XX, Embassy of China in Brazil
15:40–16:00
Wrap-up and Closure

§  Minister Paulo Roberto de Almeida, Director of IPRI
§  Minister Mariana Madeira, Head of the Division for BRICS and IBSA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
§  Professor Wu Xiaoqiu, Vice-President of Renmin University

Supporting Partners:
Alexandre de Gusmão Foundation (FUNAG)
China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA)

Co-Host:
Institute for Research on International Relations (IPRI), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brazil
Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies,Renmin University of China (RDCY)



* Participants' names to be confirmed.


Chinese Participants' list:
- Wu Xiaoqiu, Vice President of Renmin University of China
- Zhao Xijun, Deputy Dean of School of Finance, Renmin University of China
- WangWen, Executive Dean Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies ,Renmin University of China
- Cui Yue, Executive Editor-in-Chief of Information Centre, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies ,Renmin University of China
- Cheng Cheng, Vice Research fellow of Industry Research Department of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies , Renmin University of China

sábado, 15 de julho de 2017

Academicos gramscianos continuam com as velhas ilusoes "brics-ianas": relato em Carta Capital


Três típicos acadêmicos gramscianos criticam, no costumeiro estilo dessa tribo e no pasquim costumeiro da comunidade, a atual política externa do Brasil, a partir de um "fórum acadêmico" sobre o Brics, realizado recentemente na China
Vindo dessa categoria de analistas, não se poderia mesmo esperar outra coisa, senão uma pauta totalmente comprometida com a anterior  "política externa ativa e altiva", que tanto encantou a tribo dos convertidos. 
Como eles partem do suposto de que o governo atual é "golpista" , eles condenam igualmente a política externa, pois seu ponto de partida é a diplomacia anterior, e tudo o que discordar dos antigos pressupostos é ipso facto golpista, equivocado, caudatário do império, e todos os demais defeitos que ideólogos do lulopetismo diplomático podem encontrar em qualquer diplomacia que não esteja alinhada com suas escolhas políticas peculiares.
Eles acham que o Brics deveria ser tão importante no governo atual quanto o foi no anterior, que aliás criou o grupo, quase que totalmente dominado pela China, um país que, como se sabe é um grande defensor da democracia e dos direitos humanos. Os três não admitem que o governo atual possa ter qualquer atitude de retraimento em relação a um grupo que possui a peculiaridade de ter sido escolhido não por vontade dos quatro países originais, mas por uma sugestão específica de um economista de um banco de investimento pensando unicamente, exclusivamente, em maiores retornos de mercado para investimentos financeiros do grande capital multinacional.
Para eles não existe nenhuma contradição nesse fato, como tampouco  nenhuma estranheza em proclamar que a intenção manifesta desse grupo é a convergência entre esses países para facilitar o "reordenamento do poder mundial". 
Falta aos acadêmicos gramscianos uma reflexão ponderada sobre o significado do grupo em termos de  modernização econômica e social, com respeito aos direitos humanos, democracia e liberdades econômicas de cada um dos países, uma vez que suas convicções políticas não alcançam esses aspectos, mas permanecem num jogo de soma zero de um ilusório "poder mundial". 
Não espero converter nenhum dos três gramscianos a outras convicções, pois as deles já são arraigadas, e se manifestam em frases tão simplistas, redutoras, no limite idiotas, como a que eles repetem como um mantra: o atual governo estaria comprometido com um "alinhamento submisso aos poderes centrais". 
Eles provavelmente preferem que um governo "progressista" como o que eles defendem -- aquele mesmo que provou a Grande Destruição econômica, e lançou o Brasil no descrédito mundial ao produzir, deliberadamente, o MAIOR ESQUEMA DE CORRUPÇÃO já visto no mundo -- acompanhe outros "anti-hegemônicos" numa espécie de "alinhamento ativo com poderes periféricos". Esse é o desejo dos três gramscianos que escrevem o que transcrevo abaixo.
Como sempre, meu blog está aberto a todo tipo de reflexão, de preferência as mais inteligentes, mas mesmo argumentos idiotas, como os que figuram abaixo, merecem transcrição, numa prova de quão débil mentalmente é a nossa academia, quão simplistas podem ser esses acadêmicas, quão alinhados ideologicamente podem ser os gramscianos, quão coniventes com uma organização criminosa e um governo corrupto eles podem ser.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida  
Brasília, 15 de julho de 2017
 

Relações Internacionais

Fórum Acadêmico dos BRICS e os (des)caminhos da diplomacia brasileira

por Grupo de Reflexão sobre Relações Internacionais (GR-RI) — Carta Capital, 14/07/2017; link: https://www.cartacapital.com.br/blogs/blog-do-grri/o-forum-academico-do-brics-e-os-des-caminhos-da-diplomacia-brasileira
Brasil teve participação pífia, condizente como o momento atual do país e sinalizou que os BRICS não são prioridade
2
Wikimedia Commons
brics.jpg
Temer ao lado dos líderes dos BRICs em cúpula do G-20 em 2016. No Fórum Acadêmico deste ano, porém, participação comprovou que grupo não é prioridade
Por Renata Boulos, Diego Pautasso e Cláudio Puty*
Ocorreu em Fuzhou, na China, entre os dias 10 e 12 de junho de 2017, o 9º Fórum Acadêmico dos BRICS com o tema “Pooling Wisdom and New Ideas for Cooperation”. O Fórum reúne organizações da sociedade civil, think tanks e partidos políticos e costuma preceder a Cúpula dos BRICS no país anfitrião.
Quatrocentas pessoas formaram o público principal do evento, composto por membros dos governos dos cinco países (Brasil, Rússia, Índia, China e África do Sul), países visitantes (como Filipinas e Argentina, por exemplo), instituições acadêmicas, organizações da sociedade civil e partidos políticos.
O encontro teve grande importância para a China, pois é um dos principais fóruns onde a paradiplomacia ocupa lugar central e tem sido um espaço de consolidação dos BRICS para além dos chefes de estado.  
O Brasil teve uma participação pífia, condizente como o momento atual do país e mais uma vez sinalizou que os BRICS não são prioridade para o atual governo. O think tank brasileiro, IPEA (Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas Aplicadas), sequer se fez comparecer porque a direção do órgão simplesmente não liberou as passagens dos pesquisadores. 
A Presidência da República e o Itamaraty mandaram representantes do terceiro escalão, que não expressaram qualquer diretriz da política externa brasileira, tampouco nossa estratégia para o agrupamento BRICS. Imaginamos que esboçá-las deva ser uma tarefa árdua, à medida que sabemos que malta temerosa hoje ocupando o Palácio do Planalto não constitua propriamente um governo.    
Talvez por conta disso, a articulação entre os membros do governo brasileiro e integrantes da sociedade civil, think tanks e partidos políticos tenha sido praticamente nula, como se fôssemos membros de países distintos. Causa espécie a falta de entendimento do papel do BRICS como mecanismo de articulação de países emergentes, cujo papel no reordenamento do poder mundial é irrefreável.
Especificamente neste Fórum - que representa um espaço para estratégias de cooperação entre buscando mecanismos de convergência de diversos setores da sociedade -  a ausência do governo diz muito, e foi notada por russos, chineses e sul-africanos, que, por sinal, enviaram delegações de alto nível.
Esse evento refletiu o quadro mais abrangente de (des)caminho da política externa brasileira, evidente desde o início do governo surgido do golpe. A outrora diplomacia acusada de ‘politizada’, agora conduzida pelo PSDB de José Serra e Aloysio Nunes produz constrangimentos em série e é digna de uma República de Bananas, não de um país da importância do Brasil.
Recordemos.  A nova direção do Itamaraty inaugurou sua gestão disparando baterias contra os países vizinhos e fechando embaixadas na África e no Caribe. Agora segue com a ridícula obsessão por ingressar na anacrônica OCDE e promove operações militares com o exército americano em plena Amazônia brasileira.
Enquanto isso, as instituições voltadas à política externa soberana e autônoma, como a UNASUL, Mercosul, CELAC, a política africana brasileira e os BRICS praticamente saíram da agenda internacional. A resposta infantil à crítica de órgãos internacionais de direitos humanos (Alto Comissariado das Nações Unidas para os Direitos Humanos e pela Comissão Interamericana de Direitos Humanos) sobre o ‘uso recorrente de violência’ contra manifestantes na Cracolândia em São Paulo refletem o caráter do atual governo.
E não para por aí. Recentemente, o Brasil decidiu reduzir drasticamente sua participação no Banco de Investimento em Infraestrutura Asiático (AIIB, na sigla em inglês), encabeçado pela China e do qual o Brasil é membro fundador, ficando com 50 ações ao invés das 32 mil ações inicialmente acordadas.
Não tivemos sequer participação no Fórum do grande plano de infraestrutura da China para o mundo: o  “Belt and Road Initiative” quando até nossos vizinhos argentinos e chilenos se fizeram presentes.  Finalmente, o ápice dessa festa funesta e aziaga é a série inacreditável de gafes cometidas por Michel Temer em suas visitas internacionais.
Entre os dias 3 e 5 de setembro, ocorrerá a 9ª Cúpula de Chefes de Estado do BRICS em Xiamen, província de Fujian (China), com tema "BRICS: parceria mais forte para um futuro mais brilhante". Enquanto isso, o Brasil parece incapaz de formatar um projeto de inserção internacional para além de recuperar um alinhamento submisso aos países centrais – incluindo aí uma atuação voltada a aprofundar a crise venezuelana.  
Mais que lapsos, não ter projeto é o próprio projeto deste governo ilegítimo, impopular, envolvidos em malversações múltiplas, cuja única função é desmontar não somente o ciclo de políticas consagradas no período Lula-Dilma, mas inclusive conquistas oriundas da Constituição de 1988 e mesmo da Era Vargas. O governo Temer é a cara das nossas elites.
*Renata Boulos é mestre em relações internacionais (Universidade de Essesx) e sócia-diretora do INCIDE – Instituto de Cooperação Internacional para o Desenvolvimento. Integrante do Grupo de Reflexão sobre Relações Internacionais/GR-RI
Diego Pautasso é doutor em Ciência Política (UFRGS) e professor de Relações Internacionais da UNISINOS
Cláudio Puty é Ph.D. em economia (New School for Social Reserch), professor da UFPA e professor visitante da University of International Business and Economics/Pequim

terça-feira, 11 de julho de 2017

A China como grande potencia - Rubens Barbosa

A VOLTA DA CHINA COMO GRANDE POTÊNCIA
Rubens Barbosa
O Estado de S. Paulo, 11 de julho de 2017

A percepção generalizada em nossos dias é a de que a China surge como uma  potência emergente cada vez mais influente no cenário internacional. É mais exato, porém, o entendimento de que a China retoma seu papel central no mundo, como ocorreu até meados do século 18.
Em Macau, na China, no inicio de junho, participei de encontro acadêmico e empresarial sobre a Iniciativa One Belt One Road (OBOR), uma ideia lançada pelo presidente Xi Jinping em 2013.
Com a iniciativa OBOR, a China passa a substituir os países ocidentais nas propostas de projetos de grande porte e de visão de futuro. A OBOR consiste na criação de eixos de infraestrutura terrestre e marítima da Asia ao Mediterrâneo, nos moldes das antigas rotas de comércio que constituíram a Rota da Seda. Composta por duas vertentes distintas, a Iniciativa compreende o Cinturão Econômico da Rota da Seda (Belt), corredor terrestre que estabelece ligação entre China, Asia Central e Europa e a Rota da Seda Marítima (Road), que conecta a China ao Sudeste Asiático, Oriente Médio e Europa por via naval.
A OBOR é uma das principais prioridades da diplomacia chinesa e faz parte do arcabouço institucional da projeção da China como potência global no século XXI. Trata-se de um projeto bastante ambicioso cobrindo cerca de 65% da população do mundo, perto de um terço do PIB global e ao redor de um quarto de todos os bens e serviços mundiais.
A realização da cúpula multilateral sobre a OBOR, em Pequim, em maio passado, contou com a presença de 28 chefes de estado, inclusive os presidentes da Argentina e do Chile.
É importante ressaltar que, para além das considerações de estratégia geopolítica, a One Belt estaria gerando benefícios para a economia chinesa e  seu comércio externo. Segundo relatório da Universidade  Renmin, entre junho de 2013 e junho de 2016, a China comercializou bens com países localizados na rota inicial da OBOR no valor de US$ 3,1 trilhões, o que representa 26% do volume de seu comércio naquele período. Além disso, ate junho de 2016, foram firmados contratos para empresas chinesas no valor de US$ 9,41 bilhoes com países integrantes da iniciativa, um crescimento de 33,5%, comparado com 2015
Estima-se que os investimentos totais desse ambicioso programa, entre 2016  e 2021, totalizarão US$ 5 trilhões. A OBOR contará com dois mecanismos principais de financiamento: o Banco de Investimentos em Infraestrutura da Ásia (AIIB) - que iniciou suas atividades em dezembro de 2015, com capital de US$ 100 bilhões - e o Fundo da Rota da Seda, anunciado no final de 2014, com capital integralizado de US$ 40 bilhões. Com relação ao fluxo de investimento da China em países no "One Belt, One Road", entre junho de 2013 e junho de 2016, segundo se informa, o investimento externo direto chinês na região foi de US$ 51,1 bilhões (12% do investimento chinês total no mesmo período). De acordo com dados do Ministério do Comércio da China, para o ano de 2015, os países incluídos no OBOR receberam US$ 18,9 bilhões do fluxo de investimento externo direto da China e contam com estoque de investimento chinês de US$ 115,5 bilhões.A lista completa dos projetos concluídos ou em curso não está disponível e são escassos os dados sobre as condições de financiamento e os valores precisos dos investimentos realizados por estatais e fundos chineses nos projetos da OBOR.
O Cinturão econômico é parte de uma ação de maior penetração política e de  projeção da China na Ásia e em outros continentes. Pequim coloca-se em posição central em uma espécie de nova arquitetura econômica regional encabeçada pela China, principal provedor de recursos e de empregos em regiões com elevada demanda por infraestrutura e com mão-de-obra jovem em busca de trabalho.
A projeção de influência global deverá estender-se aos setores cultural, educacional e até mesmo ao da cooperação na área espacial. Os serviços oferecidos pelos satélites chineses seriam elemento de um "corredor de informação espacial" da OBOR, a ser constituído nos próximos cinco anos. A rede Beidou, atualmente com 14 satélites em operação, deverá contar com 35 até o fim desta década, segundo o governo chinês, ao custo de US$25 bilhões.
O governo de Pequim pretende que Macau, ex-colônia portuguesa e hoje uma das regiões especiais da China, se transforme em uma cabeça de ponte para os países de língua portuguesa com o objetivo de acompanhar o desenvolvimento desse projeto. Macau pode ser aproveitado como uma plataforma para os países de língua portuguesa promoverem o desenvolvimento de laços econômicos e comerciais a fim de ajudar companhias desses países a explorar várias formas de comércio, logística, investimentos, agricultura, pesca, exploração de recursos naturais, infraestrutura, saúde e telecomunicações. A intenção é transformar Macau em facilitador de negócios junto aos países de língua portuguesa. Nesse sentido, seria útil a realização de encontro do Conselho Empresarial dos Países de Língua Portuguesa em Macau para estimular a cooperação econômica e comercial e também para obter informações sobre investimentos e oportunidades de negócios, além da participação em feiras e exibições.
Em nível micro econômico, as firmas chinesas vão se confrontar com uma série de riscos quando se pensa em termos de projetos. Esses riscos podem incluir barreiras diplomáticas e regulatórias, incompreensões culturais e uma miríade de diferentes sistemas legais que terão de ser enfrentados. Nenhuma dessas barreiras são insuperáveis. Firmas de todas as nacionalidades encontram tais desafios quando atuam em outros mercados e entram em territórios não conhecidos.
É cedo, contudo, para especular se a Iniciativa OBOR se transformará em um  significativo marco na  história da economia globalizada.

Rubens Barbosa, presidente do Instituto de Relações Internacionais e Comércio Exterior (IRICE)

sábado, 1 de julho de 2017

This Day in History: o retorno de Hong Kong 'a soberania chinesa (NYT)


Front Page Image

China Resumes Control of Hong Kong, Concluding 156 Years of British Rule



By EDWARD A. GARGAN
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HONG KONG, Tuesday, July 1 -- In the first moments after midnight, in a ceremony of solemn precision and martial music, China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong today, ending 156 years of British colonial rule.
Seconds after British soldiers lowered the Union Jack for the last time to the strains of 'God Save the Queen,' China's red banner was raised, marking the transfer of this free-wheeling capitalist territory to Communist control.
It was an event awaited with trepidation as well as excitement since 1984, when Britain and China agreed on terms for the transfer of power over this territory wrested from China in the 19th century wars over the opium trade. And it ushered a time of uncertainty over whether China would honor its pledge to maintain Hong Kong's way of life largely unaltered for the next 50 years.
For many ordinary people in the streets of Hong Kong, this was a time of celebration, not necessarily over the departure of the British or the arrival of the new masters from Beijing, but for experience of witnessing a big moment in history. [Page A9.]
In the convention center where the handover of power took place, China's President, Jiang Zemin, using a Mandarin dialect as alien to Hong Kong's Cantonese-speaking people as the English of the British authorities, declared the event 'a festival for the Chinese nation and a victory for the universal cause of peace and justice.'
'The return of Hong Kong to the motherland after a century of vicissitudes indicates that from now on, our Hong Kong compatriots have become true masters of this Chinese land and that Hong Kong has now entered a new era of development,' Mr. Jiang said.
Change came quickly as the territory's new rulers assumed control.
At the stroke of midnight, Hong Kong's elected legislature was abolished, and a Beijing-appointed body of lawmakers took its place. A range of Hong Kong's civil liberties were rolled back as new constraints were placed on the right to protest and association, and any form of speech promoting the independence of Taiwan or Tibet was banned.
Change came in small ways too. Across Hong Kong, police officers, fire fighters and all the uniformed services unpinned their colonial insignia and replaced it with the new symbols of China's Hong Kong. The British coat of arms was removed from above the main government building at midnight, and the royal emblem was pried from the Rolls-Royce that used to ferry the British Governor about and will now serve Hong Kong's new Chief Executive.
Quietly, almost forgotten, Prince Charles of Britain and the former colonial Governor, Chris Patten, were driven from the handover ceremony to the harbor front, where the royal yacht Britannia waited to bear them away from Hong Kong.
Shortly after the midnight change of sovereignty, President Jiang gave the oath of office to Beijing's choice to govern this territory, Tung Chee-hwa, a 60-year-old British-educated shipping magnate.
As dawn broke, an unbroken procession of Chinese Army armored personnel carriers, trucks and buses carrying 4,000 soldiers streamed over the border and through the streets of Hong Kong. At villages along the way, thousands of Hong Kongers waited in the rain, waving flags and bouquets of flowers and shouting welcomes to the soldiers.
British rule ended in a ceremony whose details exhausted the negotiating skills of both sides.
On a simple dais inside the just completed Exhibition and Convention Center, two pairs of flagpoles -- one flying the Union Jack and the British Hong Kong flag, the other bare -- stood before chairs for Mr. Jiang's party and those accompanying Prince Charles.
Prince Charles spoke briefly. 'The United Kingdom,' he declared, 'has been proud and privileged to have had responsibility for the people of Hong Kong, to have provided a framework of opportunity in which Hong Kong has so conspicuously succeeded, and to have been part of the success which the people of Hong Kong have made of their opportunities.'
'God Save the Queen' was played by a band of Scots Guards in tall, bearskin hats, and the Union Jack was brought down.
After a five-second pause, time for British cymbals to stop vibrating, the Chinese national anthem was played and the Chinese flag raised alongside the new flag of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong had returned to Chinese rule.
The transfer from British rule began at 4:30 P.M. Monday, when the doors of Government House, the home for British governors since 1855, opened and Mr. Patten, his wife, Lavender, and their three daughters walked down the steps.
Drawn up at attention in the sweeping circular drive was the police band in snow-white tunics. In a blue suit, the bags under his eyes heavier than usual, his now gray-white hair a bit disheveled, Mr. Patten mounted a small stepped dais.
The band broke into the first stanza of 'God Save the Queen,' and Mr. Patten, Hong Kong's 28th Governor, lowered his head, swallowing heavily in a surge of emotion, emotion that would shake the Governor repeatedly through the day.
Eight officers from the Royal Police Training School snapped through a sharply choreographed flipping of rifles, turns and slow-step marching in a salute to the last Governor.
Stepping from the dais, Mr. Patten walked slowly down a line of representatives of each of the territory's services, from the Correctional Services Department to the Auxiliary Medical Services, all in wilting white dress uniforms.
Then, as a single bugler played 'Last Post,' a thin drizzle brushed the courtyard, and the British flag slipped down the flagpole. The police band struck up Mr. Patten's favorite song, 'Highland Cathedral,' and with the folded flag on a royal blue pillow, he stepped into a Rolls-Royce.
Slowly, the long black car flying the Governor's ensign from the hood circled the courtyard before Government House three times, a Chinese ritual performed by all previous governors to signal 'we shall return.'
As Mr. Patten's car pulled from the gates of Government House, gates that still bore the Queen's seal, crowds waved and cheered. A small contingent of police officers in their green summer uniforms swung the iron gates closed, ending 122 years of British residence.
The drizzle turned to showers and then to a downpour that washed the harbor front in sheets of monsoon-borne rains. Still, the British farewell ceremony began sharply at 6:15 P.M. as a gray sky melted into hues of gold and rose. Two dragon dance teams rose and fell across a tarmac ground that once was the main British naval base here.
A succession of performances by choirs and orchestras, and arias sung by Dame Gwyneth Jones and Warren Mok followed.
With rain pelting down on him, Mr. Patten delivered his final speech as Governor, a short piece of oratory that remained as robustly defiant as any he has given, a declaration of his own principles as Governor and a public challenge to much of Chief Executive Tung's philosophy of governance.
'Our own nation's contribution here,' he said, 'was to provide the scaffolding that enabled the people of Hong Kong to ascend: the rule of law, clean and light-handed government, the values of a free society. The beginnings of representative government and democratic accountability.'
'Hong Kong's values are decent values,' he continued. 'They are universal values. They are the values of the future in Asia as elsewhere, a future in which the happiest and the richest communities, and the most confident and the most stable too, will be those that best combine political liberty and economic freedom as we do today.'
At 8:45 in the evening, just after the fireworks celebrating British rule ended, 509 officers, soldiers and sailors from the Chinese Army began moving over the border in glossy black Audis, buses and open-back trucks, in which troops stood at attention, their white gloved hands gripping the wooden side rails. Other trucks in camouflage paint, some with green canvas covers, followed slowly behind.
In Hong Kong's newly built convention center, a curving, sculpted-roofed edifice jutting into the harbor, a banquet was given by the British for 4,000 guests, including Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and China's Foreign Minister, Qian Qichen, who has spearheaded Beijing's arrangements for Hong Kong.
Over Scottish salmon, stuffed chicken breast and a red fruit pudding with raspberry sauce, Hong Kong's wealthiest and most powerful people, British and Chinese alike, ate their last meal under a British flag.
Neither President Jiang nor Prime Minister Li Peng, the first Communist Chinese leaders to set foot in colonial Hong Kong, attended the banquet.
With only an hour of sovereignty left, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook of Britain, relaxed with hands in his pockets, waited at the entrance of the new Hong Kong convention center, Chief Executive Tung at his side, for the arrival of President Jiang.
An honor guard of Black Watch in white jackets and kilts stood at attention.
Mr. Jiang's black bulletproof Mercedes, with both Hong Kong and Chinese license plates, arrived moments later. The Chinese President was helped from the car, and Mr. Patten shook his hand, saying simply, 'Welcome to Hong Kong.'
Against the surge of patriotic sentiment and the wisps of nostalgia for the departed British, there were protests from pro-democracy figures who had been expelled from the legislature with the advent of Chinese rule.
From the balcony of the Legislative Council building, Martin Lee, the leader of the pro-democracy forces in the disbanded legislature, told thousands of demonstrators that democracy would return to Hong Kong.
'We know,' he told the crowd below, 'that without a democratically constituted government and legislature, there is no way for our people to be insured that good laws will be passed to protect their freedoms.'
'If there is no democracy, there is no rule of law,' he continued. 'We want Hong Kong and China to advance together and not step back together. We are proud to be Chinese, more proud than ever before. But we ask: Why is it our leaders in China will not give us more democracy? Why must they take away the modest democracy we have fought so hard to win from the British Government?'
Meanwhile, detachments of Chinese troops fanned out across Hong Kong, taking possession of military bases. At the Prince of Wales barracks, still bearing that name this morning, an honor guard stood at attention while the Chinese flag was raised. And on the radio station that had served British forces here, 107.4 FM, there was nothing but the hiss of empty static.
At Possession Point, the place where on Jan. 26, 1841, Capt. Edward Belcher first raised the British flag, there were memories, expressions of happiness, pride and worry.
On a bench in what is now Hollywood Road Park, Choy Sum Mui, 75, reflected on her long life and the future that awaits her under a new sovereign.
'I came to Hong Kong when the Japanese bombed my village,' she said, speaking slowly. 'I'm illiterate, so I don't know much about things unless people tell me. People say this is Possession Point, but it doesn't mean much to me. I've never seen a Communist before. I don't know what they are like. Really, I'm so old already, all this change doesn't mean much to me.'
On Possession Street, a Mr. Lam, 72, said: 'It's a good thing we can finally get rid of the imperialists. We're all Chinese. I feel great. This land belongs to China.'

quarta-feira, 7 de junho de 2017

Why West often overlooks China’s WWII effort - Shanghai Daily

Entrevista com o historiador inglês Rana Mitter, especializado na história da China (tenho um livro dele, em italiano), sobre o papel tremendamente subestimado da China na II Guerra Mundial. Isto  ocorreu, em parte, por culpa dos ocidentais, que consideram importantes apenas as frentes de batalha no Ocidente e no Pacífico (EUA vs Japão), mas também por culpa de chineses, que mantiveram seus arquivos fechados desde os anos 1950, até pelo menos os anos 1980. O historiador inglês publicou um livro sobre o tema.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

Why West often overlooks China’s WWII effort

EDITOR’S Note: There is a wealth of literature documenting WWII from a Western perspective but less is known in the West about China’s epic struggles against Japanese invasion. One of the few books that does justice to China’s war effort is the bestseller “Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937-1945” published in 2013. Its author, Rana Mitter, Director of University China Center and Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford, spoke to Shanghai Daily reporter Ni Tao at this year’s Shanghai Forum about his research on China’s wartime history and how it taught him about the dangers of being doctrinaire while understanding the country’s political future.
SD: Early this year, the Chinese authorities updated the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression from eight years to 14 years. What is behind this change?
Mitter: I think a reason that there has been an official decision to change the length of the war from eight to 14 years is to change the historical understanding of the war itself.
If you look at the way in which Chinese scholars have been writing about the war in academic journals, they have been using the 14-year-long definition for quite a number of years.
The reason of course is because it dates the war from the invasion and occupation of Manchuria in 1931 as the starting point.
In a way, it also matches the definition of the war, which has been used in Japan, particularly by the Left, for many years. And I think that part of the reasoning has been to try and create an idea in the public mind of the different aspects of the build-up to the war.
Personally, I still think the eight-year definition is valuable, because it marks a particular time when the outbreak of the war, the Lugouqiao Incident of July 7, 1937, significantly changed the way in which the relationship between China and Japan operated.
After 1937, it would have been very dif­ficult to arrange any kind of compromise agreement between the two sides. People within the Nationalist government who had perhaps more sympathy toward Japan were no longer able to operate on the basis of getting closer to Japan.
SD: Why are China’s struggles during WWII largely forgotten in the West?
Mitter: I think there are two reasons: one to do with the West, one to do with China.
On the Western side, the major problem has been that the war in China was not taken very seriously.
Despite the fact that it caused millions of deaths and tens of millions of refugees, and despite (China’s) important role of holding down the Japanese army in China for many years, these achievements and suffering were regarded secondary to what was considered as the real war in Europe and then in the Pacific.
I would argue quite strongly that actually some of the decisions China made were really fundamental.
The best example of this was in 1938, a time when the Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek could have surrendered to the Japanese and in fact his former ally Wang Jingwei did form an alliance with the Japanese.
But by making the decision not to surrender to Japan, even when China was very weak and had little outside assistance, it actually set a very important turning point for the eventual victory in Asia many years later.
However, we also have to remember that it was very difficult, or actually impossible, for a long time for Western scholars to come to China and use archives for most of the period from the 1950s up until the 1980s and 1990s.
SD: How would you judge China’s contributions and sacrifices in WWII?
Mitter: I think that China’s contributions and sacrifices during WWII were immensely important and under-appreciated in the wider world.
The example I often give when asked where did China make a difference in World War II is to point to 1937.
You have to look at that year as it was seen then, not as what we know now.
Now we know that Japan and Germany were eventually defeated. The Americans would eventually come into the war.
But this was not at all clear in 1938. At that time China’s national government had retreated to Chongqing (the wartime capital); the Communists were restricted to some areas in northern and central China; a large part of China fell under Japanese occupation.
Many observers including some British diplomats thought that the most sensible thing to do would be for China’s government to compromise, surrender, or at least come to an agreement with the Japanese.
The decision both by the Kuomintang, and by the Chinese Communist Party, to continue resistance at a time when China had very little outside support or few alliances was not an obvious and easy one to make.
By deciding in 1938 that they would continue to fight against Japan, the Chinese managed to hold the situation for long enough for the situation to eventually change and for the eventual entry of the United States and Britain into the global war after 1941.
I f it weren’t for the Chinese contributions, it would have been much harder to achieve an allied victory in Asia.
But without the Allied contributions, China would not have been on the victorious side. So both sides needed each other.
SD: In researching the book, you rely on the diaries of personalities like Chiang Kai-shek. But could referencing these diaries come at the expense of more important archives?
Mitter: It is an important question to ask, because when writing history, we have to be aware of the danger of getting too trapped in personalities.
This is what the famous 19th century English historian Thomas Carlyle meant by the “Great Man” theory of history.
And we have to avoid that, partly because history is not just about men, and certainly not just about great men.
But the reason that I think these diaries are important is that they reveal not just the personality of the individuals, but also their particular mindset and viewpoints about much bigger questions, which is what was China going to achieve if it got through with the war with Japan.
For example, if you read Chiang’s diary, you’ll find he was constructing a different vision, not just of China, but also of Asia, one in which China would play a bigger role.
But understanding how he viewed China’s role in the post-war period tells you a lot about the relationship between America and China, as well as the emergence of new post-colonial and post-imperial nationalism in many Asian nations.
Moreover, one of the areas where I looked quite extensively was the way in which social change happened on the ground.
For instance, reforms in areas like health care, hygiene, and social welfare provision, refugee provision, in large parts of China during the war.
Most of that has nothing to do with specific individuals at all, but has to do with policies and social change in government as a whole.
And I think the important thing is to combine these materials with very personal views that you get from diaries.
SD: Have your perspectives changed over the course of researching China’s past?
Mitter: I think over maybe 16 or 20 years of writing about China, my views basically haven’t changed, but developed, and I hope deepened over that time.
Probably the single change is that it becomes much harder for me to argue that there is any fixed or definite political path for China during that time.
Sometimes if you look at the present day, you hear people from the West say China should be this way, while some say China definitely should be that way.
I think looking at 20th century Chinese history shows that actually there are a whole variety of different paths. And it’s not always possible to tell which one is the best at one time.
The one thing I learned from studying that period is that in the end it has to be up to the Chinese people to decide what their political path is going to be.