Hello and good evening and all that…here is the news that happened today.
Well, I will start with the world today…and there is so much going on, just don’t know where to begin. So I’ll hit the far east and move west. In China, Jasmine (yes the plant) is now being treated like some sort of red-headed step-child. Jasmine Becomes Contraband in China – NYTimes.com
Sim Chi Yin for The New York TimesDAXING , China — Do not be lulled by its intoxicating fragrance or the dainty, starlike blossoms whose whiteness suggests innocence and purity. Jasmine, a stalwart of Chinese tea and the subject of a celebrated folk song often heard while on hold with provincial bureaucrats, is not what it seems.Since Tunisian revolutionaries this year anointed their successful revolt against the country’s dictatorial president the “Jasmine Revolution,” this flowering cousin of the olive tree has been branded a nefarious change-agent by the skittish men who keep the Chinese Communist Party in power.Beginning in February, when anonymous calls for a Chinese “jasmine revolution” began circulating on the Internet, the Chinese characters for jasmine have been intermittently blocked in cellphone text messages while videos of President Hu Jintao singing “Mo Li Hua,” a Qing dynasty paean to the flower, have been plucked from the Web. Local officials, fearful of the flower’s destabilizing potency, canceled this summer’s China International Jasmine Cultural Festival in south China, said Wu Guangyan, manager of the Guangxi Jasmine Development and Investment Company. Even if Chinese cities have been free from any whiff of revolutionary turmoil, the war on jasmine has not been without casualties, most notably the ever-expanding list of democracy advocates, bloggers and other would-be troublemakers who have been preemptively detained by public security agents, among them the artist provocateur Ai Weiwei, who remains in police custody after being seized at Beijing’s international airport last month. Less well known are the tribulations endured by the tawny-skinned men and women who grow ornamental jasmine here in Daxing, a district on the rural fringe of the capital. They say prices have collapsed since March, when the police issued an open-ended jasmine ban at a number of retail and wholesale flower markets around Beijing.[…]As is often the case in China, government controls have a tendency to wilt in the face of mercantile pressures. After two months with little sign of jasmine at the markets, a few vanloads of the plants, their branches thick with blossoms, began to show up at wholesale centers last week. They were priced so low, the buyers could not resist. One retailer, who asked that only her surname, Cui, be printed, acknowledged that the original order had not been officially lifted but that the authorities had yet to interfere.
For some perspective on this, here is an article about the US talks with China from HuffPo. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton Note ‘Vigorous Disagreement’ Over Human Rights As China Dialogue Begins
As the United States opened two days of talks with China Monday, Vice President Joe Biden lauded the growing political ties between the world’s two largest economies but emphasized that the Obama administration remains deeply concerned about continuing human rights violations in China. “We have vigorous disagreement in the area of human rights,” Biden said as the third annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue got underway. “We have to be honest with each other,” he added, noting the recent arrests and disappearances of Chinese journalists, human rights lawyers, bloggers, writers and artists. […] But Jeffrey Bader, a China expert at the Brookings Institution, said nervousness over the Arab Spring uprisings and fears of similar upheavals at home have spurred recent crackdowns. Despite recent discussions in which U.S. officials “took a thoughtful approach of stressing issues of concern to Chinese people and groups, mitigating the risks of appearing to be imposing U.S. customs and norms on a suspicious China,” Bader expects few concrete results to emerge from this week’s summit.
I guess I just see the relationship, here you have a Jasmine, which is a flower and plant that is very much a part of the Chinese identity. The NYT article above quotes a poem that a jasmine vendor begins to sing…I’ll quote it below:
“Mo Li Hua,” a version of which was played each time medals were presented during 2008 Olympics in Beijing: A beautiful jasmine flower, A beautiful jasmine flower, Perfumed blossoms fill the branch, Fragrant and white for everyone’s delight. Let me come and pick a blossom To give to someone, Jasmine flower, oh jasmine flower
So as with the jasmine flower, China has also silenced/arrested its journalists, human rights lawyers, bloggers, writers and artists that are a symbol of China’s culture and identity. I just find the connection between China’s banning the Jasmine flower and China’s blatant lack of Human Rights sort of symbolic. Makes me want to go out and buy a Jasmine and plant it in my yard… For more on the China-US talks, follow me below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »