18 August 2014

China fails the soft power test

Chinese academics showed their country's true colours when at a Sinology conference in Portugal they managed to get hold of the conference programs and rip out pages relating to the Taiwanese version of the Goethe Institut.

Story at the Business Spectator.

H/t: Lowy Interpreter.

07 August 2014

Indian treats Australians as though they're Indians (i.e. with contempt)

Adani is an Indian coal mining company.

It has been given the go-ahead to mine the massive Galilee Basin. Developing the Galilee Basin is an idea that may have merit.

So far, so good.

Australian political activists posted a video on Youtube questioning Adani's environmental record. Fair enough.

Was Adani's reaction to refute the claims made? No.

But 'somebody' set up a website, uploaded that video, and then claimed a copyright violation, prompting Youtube to pull it.

Sneaky little trick. But that's all it was: sneaky, not really clever.

There is a twist to all of this. The founder of Adani is a Gujarati. For what it may be worth, Gujaratis are despised by other Indians for their dishonesty, to disregard impolite epithets and to name the first of many vices that have been conveyed to me by my Indian friends. In my Western know-it-all arrogance I laughed at those quaint prejudices, but now I'm beginning to wonder whether there isn't something to it after all...

I am outraged. Whatever the merits of the claims about Adani's environmental track record (and given what we know about India in general, one can only entertain speculative doubts out of intellectual fairmindedness), one does not do this to Australians or in Australia. For better or for worse it is acceptable to defecate in the street in India: it is not acceptable here. On nationalist grounds alone, Adani must be stripped of its licence to mine in the Galilee Basin. It may treat Indian peasants with contempt, but it may not treat Australians that way.

For this reason, and this reason alone, I am financially supporting GetUp!'s countermeasure.


Update 05/09/2014: Check out this scathing article by the ever-brilliant Michael West on the viability of the project and general shonkiness. Check out this backgrounder too.

06 August 2014

Common sense

My view on common sense is this:

Common sense is not always right, but it is always worth consulting in the first instance, and it is always worth consulting once again just before you push the button.

Renewable Energy Target reduces cost of electricity

So it turns out that after all the usual ill-informed dogmatic ranting the Renewable Energy Target (RET) actually reduces the cost of electricity, contrary to what common sense would dictate.

Whoever would have thought?

And what if the modelling is wrong? A Deloittes study commissioned (albeit via stalking horse) by the carbon-based energy industry estimates that bills will rise approximately $1 a week. My heart bleeds for the poor consumer.

Source: How the renewable energy target affects the cost of living

02 August 2014

China's propaganda infiltrating our shores

Article by Paul Monk in the SMH:
Over the past decade or so, something disturbing has been happening in the Chinese community media in this country. The Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda bureau has been buying up radio stations and newspapers across the country and channelling the voice of Beijing into them from editorial offices in China. Increasingly, topics on which press discussion is forbidden in China have vanished also from the Chinese language media in our own country.