Bad bad western politics

by Verena Nowotny

Mr Zhao Lin of the Institute of China Supervision could have used a more subtle approach, even borrowing from the Bible: "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone." However, his article on the website of the Chinese Communist Party’s top corruption investigation group, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, reminds of the rather blunt approach of a two-fisted spin doctor. Zhao uses the - in China highly popular - episodes of the Netflix production "House of Cards" to depict the U.S. and the Western world as the mother of all evil, and corruption in particular. Had he applied a more differentiated approach, as Bree Feng rightly states in his article in the New York Times, his observations would have less the smell of propaganda but of a valid assessment.

Pragmatism or corruption?

by Verena Nowotny

Stephen T. Asma, a philosophy professor in Chicago, wrote a very thoughtful article in the New York Times about intercultural (mis-)understandings between Americans and Chinese. He uses the example of the so-called "red envelopes" (hongbao), a Chinese tradition to give money not only on the occasion of family festivities but also to e.g. persuade a doctor to perform well when doing a surgery. Asma tackles the question whether this tradition that usually has a connotation of corruption in the Western world is an expression of pragmatism that once was popular in the U.S.