The News From Hither and Yon, July 22 2008

A fine group of tips that I didn’t have time to post on separately.

Thanks to everyone for their contributions!

The first few in line are from contributor, JD:

Top Australian rocket scientist reverses position on global warming

I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office. I am the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia’s compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector.


When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty good: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the old ice core data, no other suspects.

The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? Soon government and the scientific community were working together and lots of science research jobs were created. We scientists had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet.

But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

How Many Chinese Have Been “Suicided”?

“Being suicided” is a new term growing popular on the Internet in China today. It generally refers to deaths that are announced by Chinese authorities to be suicides, but where foul play is suspected.

Often when authorities attribute a death to suicide, people believe the real killer will never be punished, considering the corrupt legal and policing systems in China.

The term’s first usage may been in the internet discussion of the death of Li Guohua, a man from Anhui Province who reported the corruption of local officials to higher authorities.

The government of Yingquan District, Fuyang City of Anhui spent RMB 30 million (US$ 4.4 million) on building a luxurious office resembling the U.S. Capitol Building, colloquially calling it the “White House.” To pave the way for the “White House,” local authorities demolished schools built in the 1990s, and forced students to relocate to those constructed in the 60s.

After Li reported this to higher authorities, on Aug 26, 2007 the Yingquan District Procuratorate detained Li, his wife, and his son-in-law. His wife was detained for 37 days before she was released, while the son-in-law was officially arrested and charged. Li died in the prison hospital on March 13, 2008.

While the police claimed that Li had killed himself, his family saw this as an obvious lie. Mistrust of the authorities led people to start referring to Li’s death as a case of “being suicided.”

Falun Gong practitioners and their families have been telling countless similar stories since 1999 when the persecution of Falun Gong began. Jiang Zemin, then leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), ordered that the police, after torturing Falun Gong practitioners to death, should call the cases suicides.

Not a pretty story, and the further details are worse. These are the guys who harvest organs from their prisoners. I wonder how long Gitmo “detainees” would have lasted under the benevolent rule of the Chinese before they suicided?

Britons Covertly Tracked by Secret Street Scanners

Tens of thousands of Britons are being covertly tracked without their consent in a technology experiment which has installed scanners at secret locations in offices, campuses, streets and pubs to pinpoint people’s whereabouts.

The scanners, the first 10 of which were installed in Bath three years ago, are capturing Blue tooth radio signals transmitted from devices such as mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras, and using the data to follow unwitting targets without their permission.

It’s just an experiment. No harm done. Continue texting…

Thanks to CS for this one, since I don’t plan to blog on it. The story has been floating around for several days, but it seems so trivial somehow. Like New Yorkers care about in-your-face Muslim theatrics.

As CS aptly put it: “Allah Board”

Ads promoting Islam are to be placed on New York subway cars in September, but a U.S. congressman finds people sponsoring the messages unacceptable.

“I have no problem with the ad itself, but I have a very, very real problem with those behind it,” Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, said Tuesday. He is urging the Metropolitan Transit Authority to reject the ads.

The campaign is to feature ads on 1,000 of the subway system’s roughly 6,200 cars. The main sponsor is a grass-roots organization, Islamic Circle of North America.

The ads, simple black-and-white panels, will feature key words or phrases about Islam on one side of the panel such as “Head Scarf?” or “Prophet Muhammad?” and the words “You deserve to know” along with the Web site address on the other side.

“The idea is to evoke certain thoughts in the mindset of the person who is looking at the ads and get them to a point where they can reflect upon certain words that one could define as hot words or keywords that get thrown around a lot but are not necessarily defined in the most proper context,” said New York University’s Imam Khalid Latif, a cleric who is promoting the project in a You Tube video created by the Islamic Circle.

The ads are supposed to coincide with Ramadan, in September. If they’re early enough in the month, what they will coincide with is 9/11. Dumb idea from some dumb folks looking for attention. The possible returns on this effort remind me of my brother-in-law’s solution for nuclear waste: “put it in plastic bags and leave it on the sidewalks in New York City. No one will notice.”
– – – – – – – –

I wanted to post on this one, but I won’t have time. Please read it. An important story several readers sent in. Serge Trifkovic has the essay here:

The spirit of the media frenzy surrounding the arrest of the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic on July 21 is based entirely on the doctrine of non-equivalence inaugurated in 1992: Serbs willed the war, Muslims wanted peace; Serb crimes are bad and justly exaggerated, Muslim crimes are understandable.

There is a Russian TV interview (in English) with Trifkovic. He says Karadzic will never leave prison alive. I can’t find the link but it’s on “Russia Today”

From DH:

CAIR’s Medical School Grievance Theater

When Iram Qureshi of Dublin, Ohio was dismissed from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine last month after having to repeat her first year and then failing two “systems” in her second year after she stopped attending classes, she did what any normal American Muslim woman would seem to do these days — she called the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and sued.

Tragically, perhaps fatally one day for one of her future patients, a Kanawha County Circuit Court judge has granted her a temporary restraining order so that she could resume her “studies” and clinical rotation beginning this month while her dismissal appeal is reviewed, the Charleston Gazette reports. Curiously, the Charleston Gazette waits until half-way through their article before telling readers that the cause of her dismissal was poor academic performance, not religious discrimination.

Well, I guess we make sure to avoid Muslim osteopaths. If you’re of the male persuasion, she’ll refuse to treat you anyhow. Hope some guy brings a suit then.

From Ansamed, via Insubria, more news about da Brudderhood:


The existence of a secret fundamentalist group within the Muslim Brotherhood was revealed by Abdel Sattar el Meligui, member of the Consultative Council of the organisation, to Cairòs daily Al Masri al Yom. The news, though, was denied by one of the organisation’s leaders, Ali Abdel Fattah. Meligui pointed out that the Brotherhood — banned by the law, but tolerated and with 88 MPs in Parliament — “does not have any tendency to use violence”.

Taqiyya times two right there.

Oh Those Fun-Loving Malmo Youths!

Esther in Europe has a post up about the pelting of the fire brigades. Or anyone else in a uniform:

A disturbing trend has developed in the Rosengård suburb of Malmo. Youth set fire to shrubbery, mopeds and buildings in order to bring the fire brigade. When they arrive, the firemen are subjected to verbal and physical jeering, spitballing, egg and stone throwing.

The situation for the fire brigade has worsened the last four years, but in just a few weeks the youth’s systematic prank had become more frequent. On June 12th the fire brigade was notified of a burning car and went to deal with the fire. One of the firemen was hit with a spitball in the back. When the 18 year old was asked for a reason he answered: I’ll shoot you.

Malmo has been a cesspit for quite some time. I remember reading about it way back when Fjordman had a blog — near the time dinosaurs roamed.

Our contributor, MNA, asks why these “youths” would do such things. Since I’m very tired, I will in turn ask our readers to offer suggestions about this phenomenon. It probably has to do with poverty and broken homes, right?

27 thoughts on “The News From Hither and Yon, July 22 2008

  1. How Many Chinese Have Been “Suicided”?

    Well I see that Falun Gong is up again. Master Li, the founder of Falun Gong, is a dangerous cult leader. Literally insane. He actually urges his followers to commit suicide. He claims that thusly they can go to heaven and find happiness.

    Then in the propaganda towards the West, such as above news article, the facts that Westerners know nothing whatsoever about Falun Gong (and are too lazy to check anything properly), together with their strongly prejudiced image of the Chinese regime, is heavily abused.

    Well, the Westerners are so easy to play like a Stradivarius. And the post-modern mind has regressed to mere “picture thinking”. It takes almost zero effort to invoke old pictures.

    So Westerners of this forum. Before you believe anything you read in Western media (a media that is always otherwise correct and fair, and never tainted, and never completely twisted and full of fabricated lies, so I understand it’s hard to believe) about Falun Gong and China:

    1) Make sure to get to know someone from China (a normal person, no political activist).
    2) Discuss the issue with this person.

    There’s much more to say about Falun Gong. E.g. they cannot tolerate any criticism against them. A news paper write something critical of them. Then 10,000 Falun Gongers come and block the entrance to the news paper’s building. The police have to come and carry them away and drive them home in buses to their parents. Many parents have to sit all day and watch their children so that they do not commit suicide. A Chinese friend of mine had a friend that committed suicide in this way, by the command of Master Li.

    There’s nothing to be mistaken about regarding these suicides. Teenagers who try to starve themselves to death. Friends and family around all knows what’s going on and that the CCP is on the side of the families. As I said, check with someone who knows. Haven’t you learned by now not to trust Western journalists? Not the least.

    Falun Gong practitioners and their families have been telling countless similar stories since 1999 when the persecution of Falun Gong began. Jiang Zemin, then leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), ordered that the police, after torturing Falun Gong practitioners to death, should call the cases suicides.

    So Master Li encourages his followers to commit suicide and then claim that they were tortured to death by the Chinese Communist Party, how convenient. And the Westerners drink the Kool-Aid like the junkies they truly are.

  2. Regarding the Malmö “youths”:

    Norrköpings tidningar writes (translation by Esther):
    According to Jensen, the original reason was a mosque fire five years ago. Rosengård’s residents accused the fire brigade of not doing enough to extinguish the flames and chaos erupted. Police were called in to protect the firemen. An inquiry of the emergency services later rejected speculations that the fire brigade allowed the mosque to burn down more than necessary.

    I never heard about this thing before. I expect the Swedes have been digging into their minds in search of an explanation. You see, Westerner always assume that there is a valid reason. E.g. if there are Palestinian suicide bombers, there must be a valid reason. So Israel must have done something very bad first, right?

    And once the Westerners have put their minds at rest by finding or finding up such a reason, this is then forever ruthlessly used and abused by the Muslims (or whatever other ethnics it’s currently about). And the guilt and hand-wringing of the Westerners is perpetuated.

    Westerners are such easy targets. “Look here, look here everybody! Here’s my guilt button. Push it, push it!”. And surely the button gets pushed. It’s as if they get a morphine shot from it every time. “Suicide is painless” as they sing in MASH. But this one comes with a junkie bonus.

  3. Here is a very good series of articles (in three parts) about Falun Gong, from Asia Times in 2001:

    Part 1: From sport to suicide

    The articles give all the historical background and insight about the matter, as opposed to above linked tabloid porn style propaganda piece from Epoch Times.

    And stupid me. I should have checked this already from the start, of course:

    “The newspaper was founded by practitioners of Falun Gong”

    No wonder that Westerners fall for Muslim deception, when they fall for this too. Westerners are simply the willing tools of any lunatic and zealous cult. Playing a real violin is very hard, but this Stradivarius takes no effort at all to play.

  4. I detect in the Asia Times article a certain anti-Falun Gong bias, as is typical of the Chinese leadership. Consider the wording:

    “… the government had scored a significant victory over the sect …”

    “… China Central Television, for once, was flooded with letters of support for the government crackdown on the sect …”
    That’s certainly no surprise, as many people can be “encouraged” to write such letters.

    “… One may wonder why it is so necessary for Falungong to have public gatherings.”
    How un-Chinese!!

    “… and the prohibition of demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, though repulsive, doesn’t itself constitute a human rights infringement.”
    Evidently, to the Chinese authorities, neither do the murders of several hundred people, and injuries to thousands more, in 1989.

    “… Why can millions of underground Christians pray at home, or in small semi-clandestine churches,…”
    Go read the Chinese Constitution. It guarantees freedom of religion. Evidently their idea of “freedom” means “but don’t let us catch you doing it”.

    [from part 2]
    “… their official compound, Zhongnanhai, was under siege. At least 10,000 mostly elderly people were quietly practicing the Falungong exercises that some of the leaders knew quite well, having learned the discipline themselves.”

    That’s a strange concept of “siege”. “The attack of the Tai Chi masters.” Yeah, right.

    You may criticize EpochTimes as being founded by Falun Gong, but that’s an empty criticism, first, because China News is quite obviously an arm of the CCP, and second, what is so surprising about a persecuted group starting their own news service?

  5. ZZMike,

    I’m not claiming that the rule in China is perfect. But they are on the side the families against this horrible cult.

    Your mind is one-sidedly focused on flaws you see with the Chinese leadership. You do not spend a second in scrutinizing Falun Gong.

    How much do you know about China? What are your sources, your contacts? Have you studied Falun Gong at all? Or are you just buying it all at face value, based on simplified “picture thinking”?

    Natalie just linked the excellent article by Trifkovic about the war in Bosina 1992-95. That one should be a lesson to people to avoid simplified “picture thinking” and buying things at face value according to the myths that animate them.

    Your logic is in accordance with this; the Serbs acted far from flawlessly therefor we must give our full support to the crazy cult (in that case the Muslims). Or might there be situation when its correct and morally imperative to give our support to Serbia or China, in spite of their flaws?

    You don’t care at all if Falun Gong is a dangerous cult causing thousands to die?

    You may criticize EpochTimes as being founded by Falun Gong, but that’s an empty criticism

    I point out that the propaganda organ of the cult should not be believed as a trustworthy news source about the cult itself. And you call that “empty criticism”. Well, well…

    first, because China News is quite obviously an arm of the CCP

    Excuse me? The articles are in ASIA TIMES. A paper founded in Thailand, today with the head office in Hong Kong. Quite obviously not an arm of the CCP.

  6. The Asia Times article is written by Francesco Sisci, Asia editor of the Italian daily La Stampa, and director of the Institute of Italian Culture in Beijing.

    The idea that he would be an errand boy for CCP is nuts. But yes, he can write from a Chinese context, which he knows. Since he lives in Beijing.

    But I guess “concerned” Westerners wouldn’t trust any Westerner actually living in China (he must be bought by the CCP, right?). Same with ordinary Chinese people who can testify about what Falun Gong has done to their family members, right? All bought by the CCP, hundreds of millions.

    No only the organs of the cult itself and Western activists who have never been in China can be trusted on this issue, right? (Can you see how the cultish mentality is being built up?)

    Francesco Sisci writes often for Asia Times. For those actually reading his articles it ridiculously clear that he’s not taking the side of CCP, which is by the way ridiculously clear about Asia Times too.

    Read Asia Times. Read Sisci. Learn about China and south-east Asia. Asia Times also features the columnist Spengler. All in all a very worthwhile paper to read.

    Now read the conclusion by Sisci:
    Part 3: The deeper crisis facing China

    All fair and balanced. And by someone who knows China.

  7. Wow CS – fast on the draw. I regularly read a hilarious editorial series at the Taipei Times by “Johnny Neihu” and he’s been pretty hard on the Falun Gong as well for their racism, homophobia, etc. Since I’d never seen anything about that in the western media, I did a quick google on it and came up with this info among other things: (mostly a collection of news stories and comments)

    Nothing particularly recent, but I don’t think their philosophy has changed much – even in Taiwan where the government doesn’t persecute them.

  8. as long as we’re actually bringing up global warming on this blog – I’ll point out this excellent piece of congressional testimony from yesterday:

    “Jul 22, 2008
    Testimony of Roy W. Spencer in Front of EPW on July 22, 2008

    Dr. Roy Spencer, University of Alabama, Huntsville

    I would like to thank Senator Boxer and members of the Committee for allowing me to discuss my experiences as a NASA employee engaged in global warming research, as well as to provide my current views on the state of the science of global warming and climate change. I have a PhD in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and have been involved in global warming research for close to twenty years. I have numerous peer reviewed scientific articles dealing with the measurement and interpretation of climate variability and climate change. I am also the U.S. Science Team Leader for the AMSR-E instrument flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

    On the subject of the Administration’s involvement in policy-relevant scientific work performed by government employees in the EPA, NASA, and other agencies, I can provide some perspective based upon my previous experiences as a NASA employee. For example, during the Clinton-Gore Administration I was told what I could and could not say during congressional testimony. Since it was well known that I am skeptical of the view that mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions are mostly responsible for global warming, I assumed that this advice was to help protect Vice President Gore’s agenda on the subject.

    This did not particularly bother me, though, since I knew that as an employee of an Executive Branch agency my ultimate boss resided in the White House. To the extent that my work had policy relevance, it seemed entirely appropriate to me that the privilege of working for NASA included a responsibility to abide by direction given by my superiors. But I eventually tired of the restrictions I had to abide by as a government employee, and in the fall of 2001 I resigned from NASA and accepted my current position as a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

    Regarding the currently popular theory that mankind is responsible for global warming, I am very pleased to deliver good news from the front lines of climate change research. Our latest research results, which I am about to describe, could have an enormous impact on policy decisions regarding greenhouse gas emissions. Despite decades of persistent uncertainty over how sensitive the climate system is to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, we now have new satellite evidence which strongly suggests that the climate system is much less sensitive than is claimed by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Another way of saying this is that the real climate system appears to be dominated by “negative feedbacks’—instead of the “positive feedbacks” which are displayed by all twenty computerized climate models utilized by the IPCC.

    If true, an insensitive climate system would mean that we have little to worry about in the way of manmade global warming and associated climate change. And, as we will see, it would also mean that the warming we have experienced in the last 100 years is mostly natural. Of course, if climate change is mostly natural then it is largely out of our control, and is likely to end—if it has not ended already, since satellite-measured global temperatures have not warmed for at least seven years now.

    2.1 Theoretical evidence that climate sensitivity has been overestimated

    The support for my claim of low climate sensitivity (net negative feedback) for our climate system is two-fold. First, we have a new research article1 in-press in the Journal of Climate which uses a simple climate model to show that previous estimates of the sensitivity of the climate system from satellite data were biased toward the high side by the neglect of natural cloud variability. It turns out that the failure to account for natural, chaotic cloud variability generated internal to the climate system will always lead to the illusion of a climate system which appears more sensitive than it really is.

    Significantly, prior to its acceptance for publication, this paper was reviewed by two leading IPCC climate model experts – Piers Forster and Isaac Held– both of whom agreed that we have raised a legitimate issue. Piers Forster, an IPCC report lead author and a leading expert on the estimation of climate sensitivity, even admitted in his review of our paper that other climate modelers need to be made aware of this important issue.

    To be fair, in a follow-up communication Piers Forster stated to me his belief that the net effect of the new understanding on climate sensitivity estimates would likely be small. But as we shall see, the latest evidence now suggests otherwise.

    2.2 Observational evidence that climate sensitivity has been overestimated

    The second line of evidence in support of an insensitive climate system comes from the satellite data themselves. While our work in-press established the existence of an observational bias in estimates of climate sensitivity, it did not address just how large that bias might be.

    But in the last several weeks, we have stumbled upon clear and convincing observational evidence of particularly strong negative feedback (low climate sensitivity) from our latest and best satellite instruments. That evidence includes our development of two new methods for extracting the feedback signal from either observational or climate model data, a goal which has been called the “holy grail”2 of climate research.

    The first method separates the true signature of feedback, wherein radiative flux variations are highly correlated to the temperature changes which cause them, from internally-generated radiative forcings, which are uncorrelated to the temperature variations which result from them. It is the latter signal which has been ignored in all previous studies, the neglect of which biases feedback diagnoses in the direction of positive feedback (high climate sensitivity).

    Based upon global oceanic climate variations measured by a variety of NASA and NOAA satellites during the period 2000 through 2005 we have found a signature of climate sensitivity so low that it would reduce future global warming projections to below 1 deg. C by the year 2100. As can be seen in Fig. 1, that estimate from satellite data is much less sensitive (a larger diagnosed feedback) than even the least sensitive of the 20 climate models which the IPCC summarizes in its report. It is also consistent with our previously published analysis of feedbacks associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations3.

    A second method for extracting the true feedback signal takes advantage of the fact that during natural climate variability, there are varying levels of internally-generated radiative forcings (which are uncorrelated to temperature), versus non-radiative forcings (which are highly correlated to temperature). If the feedbacks estimated for different periods of time involve different levels of correlation, then the “true” feedback can be estimated by extrapolating those results to 100% correlation. This can be seen in Fig. 2, which shows that even previously published4 estimates of positive feedback are, in reality, supportive of negative feedback (feedback parameters greater than 3.3 Wm-2K-1).

    2.3 Why do climate models produce so much global warming?

    The results just presented beg the following question: If the satellite data indicate an insensitive climate system, why do the climate models suggest just the opposite? I believe the answer is due to a misinterpretation of cloud behavior by climate modelers.

    The cloud behaviors programmed into climate models (cloud “parameterizations”) are based upon researchers’ interpretation of cause and effect in the real climate system5. When cloud variations in the real climate system have been measured, it has been assumed that the cloud changes were the result of certain processes, which are ultimately tied to surface temperature changes. But since other, chaotic, internally generated mechanisms can also be the cause of cloud changes, the neglect of those processes leads to cloud parameterizations which are inherently biased toward high climate sensitivity. The reason why the bias occurs only in the direction of high climate sensitivity is this: While surface warming could conceivably cause cloud changes which lead to either positive or negative cloud feedback, causation in the opposite direction (cloud changes causing surface warming) can only work in one direction, which then “looks like” positive feedback. For example, decreasing low cloud cover can only produce warming, not cooling, and when that process is observed in the real climate system and assumed to be a feedback, it will always suggest a positive feedback.

    2.4 So, what has caused global warming over the last century?

    One necessary result of low climate sensitivity is that the radiative forcing from greenhouse gas emissions in the last century is not nearly enough to explain the upward trend of 0.7 deg. C in the last 100 years. This raises the question of whether there are natural processes at work which have caused most of that warming.

    On this issue, it can be shown with a simple climate model that small cloud fluctuations assumed to occur with two modes of natural climate variability — the El Nino/La Nina phenomenon (Southern Oscillation), and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation — can explain 70% of the warming trend since 1900, as well as the nature of that trend: warming until the 1940s, no warming until the 1970s, and resumed warming since then. These results are shown in Fig. 3.

    While this is not necessarily being presented as the only explanation for most of the warming in the last century, it does illustrate that there are potential explanations for recent warming other that just manmade greenhouse gas emissions. Significantly, this is an issue on which the IPCC has remained almost entirely silent. There has been virtually no published work on the possible role of internal climate variations in the warming of the last century.

    3. Policy Implications

    Obviously, what I am claiming today is of great importance to the global warming debate and related policy decisions, and it will surely be controversial. These results are not totally unprecedented, though, as other recently published research6 has also led to the conclusion that the real climate system does not exhibit net positive feedback.

    While it will take some time for the research community to digest this new information, it must be mentioned that new research contradicting the latest IPCC report is entirely consistent with the normal course of scientific progress. I predict that in the coming years, there will be a growing realization among the global warming research community that most of the climate change we have observed is natural, and that mankind’s role is relatively minor.

    While other researchers need to further explore and validate my claims, I am heartened by the fact that my recent presentation of these results to an audience of approximately 40 weather and climate researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder last week (on July 17, 2008) led to no substantial objections to either the data I presented, nor to my interpretation of those data.

    And, curiously, despite its importance to climate modeling activities, no one from Dr. Kevin Trenberth’s facility, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), bothered to drive four miles down the road to attend my seminar, even though it was advertised at NCAR.

    I hope that the Committee realizes that, if true, these new results mean that humanity will be largely spared the negative consequences of human-induced climate change. This would be good news that should be celebrated — not attacked and maligned.

    And given that virtually no research into possible natural explanations for global warming has been performed, it is time for scientific objectivity and integrity to be restored to the field of global warming research. This Committee could, at a minimum, make a statement that encourages that goal.”

    Take that James “Nutbag” Hansen!

  9. Tuan Jim —

    Thanks…that’s a comprehensive baseball bat he hit them with.

    I have posted on “global warming” in the past. It’s a subject that interests me because it dovetails so well with the incoherent multi-culti agenda.

    That’s why the founder of Greenpeace quit the organization. After the fall of the USSR, the loose cannons had to have a new deck to fire from and they chose his. So he bailed.

    American Prosperity had a great You Tube video of their demonstration and interviews at al-Gore’s recent appearance in DC.

    Unfortunately, the video will no longer load…too bad. I was all set to put it up. The background music was Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al.” Very amusing.

  10. Tuan Jim,

    at the Taipei Times by “Johnny Neihu” and he’s been pretty hard on the Falun Gong as well for their racism, homophobia, etc.

    Actually that’s the sort of thing that has big effect on Westerners. When they hear about homophobia and racism in an organization they suddenly don’t think that their “news” organs are as trustworthy any longer.

    I have no idea how it works, but it works like clockwork. (We’d need to open their heads to examine them…)

  11. Wow Conswede,

    On Falun Gong *you* sound like the China Daily, or the 3 American PRC-gov’t-owned Chinese newspapers in the USA widely read by Chinese Americans. Constant vilification with the same pitch of outrage, and insistence of Falun Gong’s threateningness.

    PRC gov’t is threatened by any group that organizes a significant number of people outside of its control. Unsuccessful at dissecting their religion out of the society, it mysteriously pops back up, as it fills some yearning unmet by the allowed outlets in their society’s current form. Something like this which quickly gain millions of faithful who by necessity plan, communicate and assemble privately, are, may I say, strongly discouraged.

    I’d think someone such as yourself, who recognizes the *genuine threat* intended towards kaffirs by followers of Islam’s *verifiable* scriptures would be able to discern a real threat to real people and interests from this campaign of villification. As for your article, Chinese press gives journalism posts to those who say things acceptable to Bejing. Period. There is no freedom of press there. Be suspicious (you are being suprisingly credulous). Chi kung exercises are not like forcing the world to convert, die, or submit.

    I don’t know how you came to be so bought in about this matter.

    That “people from China” might say so is an authority appeal I would totally question. Chinese press’s FAVORITE subject for years now is the Horribleness of Falun Gong. With constant repetition of the catchphrase “dangerous cult” such as you seem to have picked up. Most Chinese people will insist with the same ferverence as the Chinese media message. That doesn’t make it true. People are suprisingly brainwashed by the Party-controlled media in China. To a disturbing degree (for ex. about Tibet, about many things).

    And yes I’ve spoken with Chinese people in China, in Hong Kong and the in USA about this.

    The “suicide” thing appears to be a press favorite, but investigation indicates it is a ruse, and the incident in T Square appears to have been staged by the authorities. The facts collapse under examination of that event. I suggest viewing the video documentary at
    What do you think now? Rather different version of events and all that evidence?

    ZZMike said
    > …That’s a strange concept of “siege”. “The attack of the Tai Chi masters.” Yeah, right.

    That made me smile. Yeah, that’s right.

    Lastly, respect and regards, as I have enjoyed your various writings here and elsewhere for some time!

  12. Westward Ho,

    “On Falun Gong *you* sound like the China Daily… With constant repetition of the catchphrase “dangerous cult” such as you seem to have picked up”.”

    You argue by innuendo (which is not really arguing). I get the same from the Swedes all the time when I argue against Climate Alarmism or the United Nations – “Oh, so you are with the Americans! … You sound just like them!”

    People are too lazy (or whatever) today to investigate facts and think independently. They simply look at the whole thing as a theater and ask themselves “Which side am I supposed the be on?” based on their identity. And then “arguments” are based on casting suspicion on the other party for having joined the wrong “team”. Facts are rarely evaluated since that can be done without showing disloyalty to your “team”.

    Most Chinese people will insist with the same ferverence as the Chinese media message. That doesn’t make it true.

    Well, it doesn’t make it false either, such as most Westerners seems to imagine. If people do not recognize a cult when they see one (just because the CCP think so too), well what could I do?

    I suggest viewing the video documentary at

    I second that. Watch it! It reminds me of the films I have seen about how it was the Americans themselves who staged 9/11. This one is built up in the same sort of way, with a string of innuendos regarding details (partly self-contradicting). It’s true to its genre.

  13. CS,

    You don’t seem to recognize the common falsity of the Chinese media.

    China controls its information to an *unmatched* degree – deliberate party-controlled propaganda. And their public generally totally believes it, and tends to echo its ferverent tone. Same with the historical revisionism about Tibet.

    I don’t know what you know of Falun Gong that didn’t originate in the media (whomever you heard it repeated by), but I haven’t seen anything threatening, and I’ve been acquainted with people who have done a bit of it. You see them in NYC in Central Park and elsewhere doing their tai chi type thing. Talk to them, they don’t bite. I strongly suspect the whole Chinese media version is actually a large lie, a fictive reality. (and hardly its first!)

  14. Another comment,

    There doesn’t appear to be any kind of “brainwashing” nada. Rather these are adults, and they are doing something that works for them. I would defend their right to do so freely. That’s where the official narrative looks like baloney, measured against the empirical, both intellectually, and by instinct.

    BTW, my previous comment wasn’t about the Pew Study thing, but to the one above it. I don’t quite get the Pew study’s relevance here.

  15. Westward Ho,

    You don’t seem to recognize the common falsity of the Chinese media.

    Yes I do. Let me refer to the before mentioned Francesco Sisci (who according to ZZMike “is quite obviously an arm of the CCP”). It’s from an essay by another Westerner living in Beijing (who must therefore also be bought by the CCP, right?) about the extensive interest for the World Cup in football in China:

    Francesco Sisci, the distinguished correspondent for La Stampa, offers an explanation for current interest. The two best-read newspapers in China, selling well over a million copies each every day, are Cankao Xiaoxi and Huanqiu Shibao. They cover mainly international news. Many popular local papers cover local news. In both cases, the reporting does not stray too far from the facts and deals with issues that people care about. All national news, however, is official propaganda and thus uninteresting. So the Chinese develop strong local and international interests but pay less attention to national affairs than do most citizens of liberal democratic countries.

    The problem is that you haven’t even started to begin to see the common falsity of everything coming out of Falun Gong. So how so we deal with a situation where there are two parties who notoriously lie? Well, we have to step beyond those sources.

    My main input I have got from Chinese people who had family tragedies caused to them by Falun Gong. And yes I speak to Falun Gong people too. They are everywhere! It’s one of the strongest lobby and propaganda groups in the whole world.

    And may I suggest that you are seriously mad to claim that I would fail to recognize the CCP’s legacy of false propaganda.

    China controls its information to an *unmatched* degree – deliberate party-controlled propaganda. And their public generally totally believes it, and tends to echo its ferverent tone.

    So you are seriously suggesting that Chinese people after six decades of false propaganda from the CCP would fail to see through it? Your low esteem for Chinese people is remarkable. You must think that Chinese people are the must stupid people on this planet.

    When Chinese people are concerned about Falun Gong it’s not because they are brainwashed by CCP propaganda. They are concerned because Falun Gong is a widespread problem in large parts of China, and many people have personal experience of the problems they cause, in breaking up families and worse.

    The impression you have of Falun Gong from Central Park NYC, of how they do their “tai chi type thing”. Yes this is how the sell their image in the West, and in general when prozelytizing (as the names suggest, Falun Gong is the entry point into Falun Dafa). And you bought the whole thing. They know what they are doing of course.

    Western Ho, if you want to start learning about Falun Gong, stop reading the Epoch Times and everything that has that as a source, and start talking to people who have family members in Falun Gong, and ask what they think. You have to admit that watching them promoting themselves in Central Park does not give you much insight.

    So how does the Pew study enter into the picture? Well, it counters the cliché image that Westerners generally have about China. The days are long gone since the CCP imposed crazy Utopian policies against the interest of the Chinese people, and instead their policies are generally in the interest of the people. China is changing, and has been for quite some time. But this doesn’t stop Westerners to be ideologically opposed to China in whatever they do, because they are not a democracy. Probably this zealous embracement of democratism will give the Westerners points in some secular heaven, but it does not at all help them in looking at facts and events clearly in China.

  16. So you are seriously suggesting that Chinese people after six decades of false propaganda from the CCP would fail to see through it? Your low esteem for Chinese people is remarkable. You must think that Chinese people are the must stupid people on this planet.

    No but I’d “seriously suggest” that they are tremendously accomodated to agreeing with it, and refrain from expressing opposition to it. And this is demoralizing, though its acceptance is ingrained. An “authoritarian culture.” Every neighborhood has its watchpersons, and expressions of suspicious opinions are reported, recorded, reviewed. People have to bend themselves to these requirements, not think about some things. And yes this damages the spirit a bit, but it is institutionalized. So whether they “see though it” is not relevant,nor is it any comment on their intelligence. I noticed the Pew study steers clear of these more complex matters.

    “problems they cause, in breaking up families and worse.”

    Families are sure broken up when the non-practicers lose their practicing loved one to a labor and transformation camp, or being “suicided” too.
    Those wanting to practice who cannot (something like Islam’s secret apostates, hmm) are another tragedy, too. Again the “dangerousness” usually rings unconvincing. I’m open to more info, though as I said, I have seen a good deal already.

    Yes this is how the sell their image in the West, and in general when prozelytizing….They know what they are doing of course.

    CS, “They.” In fact, one such of these people is someone I knew for nearly a decade before he got into FG (and well before it existed). Worked with him. Good guy. Still a good guy. And a very capable person – and no stooge.

    Western Ho, if you want to start learning about Falun Gong, stop reading the Epoch Times and everything that has that as a source, and start talking to people who have family members in Falun Gong, and ask what they think. You have to admit that watching them promoting themselves in Central Park does not give you much insight.
    See above.

    Now, consider that there is another side to the story. Like with the documentary linked above.

    No, that documentary is quite reasonable, and its objections are logical and concise. I have not seen them refuted.

    This logic simply cannot be said for quite a few of the FG denunciations I’ve come across, which, while expressed with fevered emotion (in spades) are lacking in strong reasoning. A google gives me the following from China’s embassy website:
    The heretical fallacies of “Falun Gong” prove that it is out and out an anti-humanity, anti-society and anti-science cult.

    I need real evidence of the *threat* (as we do with Islam, and in that case, it’s clearly there), less rhetoric. Or how about rhetoric that at least smells a little bit like integrity?

    After all the fevered denunciations of FG I’ve seen, the “dangerousness” rings unconvincing. Especially after reading for the last few years about an *actual* expansionist supremacist theocratic war ideology juggernaut.

    I will (while retaining my scepticism) examine new arguments, though, of course.

  17. In fact, one such of these people is someone I knew for nearly a decade before he got into FG (and well before it existed). Worked with him. Good guy. Still a good guy. And a very capable person – and no stooge.


  18. Westward Ho,

    There’s so much to be straightened out in in your last comment that it’s hard to know where to start. Let’s start with the video clip, about which you say that “its objections are logical and concise”.

    But it’s far from being logical and concise. It’s more of a collection of open-ended questions thrown in all directions. We know this style of documentary from Michael Moore, from conspiracy theories about how Bush was behind 9/11 etc. This documentary was produced my Falun Gong’s own TV channel, NTDTV.

    The responsibility of any critic is to have a coherent story of what actually happened. Just adding up all conceivable ways (including the far-fetched ones) of contradicting your opponent, will only the make the critique collapse of inner contradictions.

    Let me give an example. A mother calls for her son to do his homework. The son answers: “We didn’t have any homework for tomorrow, and actually I already did it right after school, and in anyway I have time to do it tomorrow before breakfast”. All three very good arguments. But using them all at the same time collapses the whole message.

    The general claim by Falun Gong, in their documentary and otherwise, is that the whole self-immolation incident was staged by the CCP an that the people setting fire to themselves were not Falun Gong practitioners.

    Regarding the man who appears first, Falun Gong suggests that he was a Chinese military and that he was never really burnt at all. That it was just made to look so. (Later photos of this man however show clear burn injuries in his face.)

    Regarding the woman who appears next, there’s no claim that she hadn’t been burning, to the contrary they refer to how she’s struggling in the fire. Instead they suggest that she didn’t die from the self-immolation, but from being hit in her head by a hard stick-shaped object (the Epoch Times claims it looks like a metal bar). Falun Gong suggests that she didn’t commit suicide but was instead killed by a goon of CCP.

    So in the first case Falun Gong the CCP supposedly did everything to protect this hired mercenary from any harm. In the second case the CCP supposedly killed their accomplice by striking a hard blow with a metal bar to her head. How does this stick together? The Falun Gong documentary completely forgets the story it’s supposed to stick to when it comes to the woman. The important thing is to describe the CCP as bad and evil. To suggest that she was killed by CCP fulfills that purpose. Nevermind if it contradicts the story that is supposedly being told.

    What was the supposed deal made with these alleged accomplices of the CCP? And why is the man still in prison if he was doing it in co-operation with the CCP? If the CCP wanted to stage this, and was indeed prepared to betray their helpers, why didn’t they kill the man too? Why do they let him spend 15 years in prison, where he’s got plenty of time to stab back at CCP by witnessing about the deal they supposedly made? If you are staging such a big lie, you’d better not having any witnesses left afterwards.

    And why kill their helpers? Why first go through the trouble of putting out the fire with fire extinguishers and then kill the woman with a blow to her head? Why wouldn’t they just let them burn to death? And according to Falun Gong’s documentary it was very suspicious as such that the police had fire extinguishers in place at that moment; that it had required special preparation. Why go through that trouble at all? Why wouldn’t such an evil scheming CCP not just let them burn to death?

    But nevermind. Have a look at the video at the supposed hard object, that supposedly killed the woman, when it’s flying in the air. You can see that it’s not at all a hard object, but a soft and floppy object. It looks like a piece of cloth or a chunk of hair. Indeed it looks as if she gets a blow on her head, and then that this piece of cloth/hair that has become loose do to the fire flies off of her.

    OK, this is just one example of the modus operandi of this kind of conspiracy theory documentaries. The speaker’s voice will tell you all the time what you are supposed to see. Next he tells you how you are supposed to see how she reaches for her head with her hand. But do you really see that? These sort of documentaries are of course always made for an audience that wants to see what they are told to see (compare it with e.g. Michael Moore), so that what makes it work.

  19. This documentary’s not so “logical and concise” as I’d recalled, and stated. No.

    I agree with you that the whole blow to the head bit is quite inconsistent with the “staged” implication. It does seem strange, like the filmmaker was exploring everything that looked odd in the footage without piecing it together consistently, and didn’t think too clearly, although the subsequent items – which suggest a planned staged incident – themselves could be meaningful nonetheless.

  20. CS,

    The clincher on FG – as I said several times above – is that the claims of FG’s threateningness seem unconvincing.

    For comparison, take Islam’s threateningness. It can be seen clearly in its textual doctrine and its history, combined with looking around today and observing its messages and actions today, and how they completely echo the doctrine and history. And the threat to me, mine, and my society is clearly real and present.

    I am looking for the the threat and to whom. Even you will probably agree that the level of huffing and puffing – like that embassy article I linked – is of comic levels. It seems to be aiming to overwhelm thinking with urgency, almost panic. And this calls for a gimlet eye. I have seen enough of FG that I DON’T see the threat, and the claims often just raise suspicion. I do believe that such a movement – quickly growing large private movement – was very threatening to Bejing, for the Bejing gov’t must be able to control everything, and this would have been out of control, especially since the members really believe in it deeply (a very different relationship from the necessary accomodation to the authoritarian gov’t). With that gov’t’s hostility to both vigorous religion and organizing, such a crackdown requires none of the “threats” attributed for action, but does require public justification (which I have referred to as the vilification campaign, which began well before the immolation incident, and subsequent evolving accusations about suicide).

    Understand, I’m still looking for this threat. And the press looks suspicious, and doesn’t concur with first hand knowledge I have. You implied (I think) that you have other first hand anecdotal experience (like me), but that yours confirms the “huffing and puffing,” rather than contradicting it.

    My experience indicates that FG it is a reasonable dharmic “way.” There is no suicide, nor intolerance of anyone else, and that its practitioners get excellent energy, excellent benefits (and I know that those I know personally are sincere).

    I search Falun Gong – a little like I searched Islam (after 9/11) – and it comes up completely clean of any of the doctrinal or practical “threats.”

    You would have to start by claiming that FG in mainland China is something utterly different from FG in the rest of the world (and I have discussed with Chinese FGers. I guess you could claim they are all lying, taqiya-like, but I doubt it).

  21. Hi Westward Ho!

    Before we investigate the dangerousness of Falun Gong, I’d like you to have a look at your own way of arguing.

    First you wrote:
    China controls its information to an *unmatched* degree – deliberate party-controlled propaganda. And their public generally totally believes it, and tends to echo its ferverent tone.

    Which I objected to. Which made you write:
    No but I’d “seriously suggest” that they are tremendously accomodated to agreeing with it, and refrain from expressing opposition to it. … Every neighborhood has its watchpersons, and expressions of suspicious opinions are reported, recorded, reviewed. People have to bend themselves to these requirements, not think about some things. … So whether they “see through it” is not relevant…

    I beg to disagree. If the Chinese people “see through” the propaganda of CCP or not, is in fact completely relevant as to whether they “generally totally believe it” or not.

    Was this a way of silently backing off from your initial claim, or did you just forget what story to hold on to?

    Your second version is more in line with the description of Francesco Sisci that I quoted.

    I also wonder about this one:
    CS, “They.”

    Was that meant as a sort of objection to me referring to Falun Gong with a pronoun?

  22. People do accept what they hear over and over as facts, and so such messages are widely believed.
    Concurrently, they also are discouraged from questioning many controversial matters by sensible fear. People vary, and issues vary. I expect Chinese people are both believing some messages, and refraining from indulging in thinking much about others that they could perhaps doubt, as it would lead to trouble. And so they “agree,” and this kind of self-repressive agreement becomes internalized and habitual. Have you lived in a totalitarian setting? Neither have I, but I have read of it (eg re USSR, and the Umma).

    Your sports article author doesn’t mention the fear factor that is partly behind the habit of non-engagement with some national issues. But they have multiple reasons to ignore the stuff: bad reporting of predictable party line junk, and, if they did get really involved, could lead to trouble. But that’s not his topic anyway – he’s just making a preface leading into Chinese enthusiasm for foreign sports.

    I don’t know to what extent Chinese masses believe the news stuff about Falun Gong, and to what extent they accomodate those messages. When I was there around 2000, I spoke with someone who expressed sympathy for FG, I also met others who plainly repeated absurd lies about Tibet’s history which they apparently swallowed whole.

    “They.” That was responding to “Yes this is how the sell their image in the West….”
    and I was pointing out that my information doesn’t come from some “they” “selling” me something, but from someone I’d been friends with for some years before FG even existed, as I said next line.

    One more comment, when you seek, you generally will find. You find what’s there. For example, search Islam and you quickly do find its darkness. And whatever FG anti-cult type stuff may be trumpeted, if that trumpeted darkness is real, I believe I’d have witnessed some sign of it at some time. Either intellectually, on instinct, or some kind of experience. Not in the FG book which I bought around 2000, nor the actions or styles or anything about the practitioners I’ve known. This is more important than the media from the PRC.

    Do I believe these hyperbolic insistences, or do I believe my own “lyin’ eyes,” to borrow from Robert Spencer.

    I look forward to your blockbuster.

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