Don Tow's Website Thu, 28 Sep 2023 15:42:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The West Must Prepare for a Long Overdue Reckoning* Thu, 28 Sep 2023 15:39:26 +0000 Five major trends illustrate how the world is changing, and that the West must grapple with the reality that it can no longer impose its “leadership” on the world as it once did.

The post-Western, multipolar international order is coming to pass. As the world grapples with the implications of this shift in power, the foundations of a great reckoning are taking shape. This reckoning will challenge the long-held beliefs and structures that have sustained Western dominance of the world for the past few hundred years, exposing along the way the nature of the West’s perceived entitlement to lead the global pecking order. The end result will be a significant re-evaluation of international relations as we know it.

This great reckoning will be driven by five major trends, which are compelling Western nations to confron* This article is by Chandran Nair. It was first published in The National Interest on June 8, 2023.t and adapt to a future where power must be shared with the rest in a multipolar world. A failure to recognize, or attempting to strongly resist, these trends could pose significant risks not only to the West itself but also to global stability. Yet future conflicts can be avoided if this period of change is viewed as an opportunity to build a more equitable world, rather than as a crisis that threatens preferred and entrenched privileges.

* This article is by Chandran Nair. It was first published in The National Interest on June 8, 2023.

Five Trends to Consider:

What future awaits the West—a smooth transition toward multipolarity or a period of instability and potential conflict—will largely depend on how policymakers respond to the following five trends.

First is the unravelling of the hitherto telling of history. The West, across its colonial history, has practiced and perfected the selective interpretation and telling of events, choosing to portray itself as the originator of modern civilization and a benevolent guiding force. This is now changing; information technologies, such as the Internet and social media, have broken the monopoly over information and history once held by Western gatekeeping institutions (media companies, universities, book publishers, and more). As a consequence, people around the world are recognizing that history is no longer confined to Western interpretation—including its projection of benevolence.

A significant component of this has been the West’s frequent failure to acknowledge its own imperfect past. Despite amplifying the perceived wrongdoings of others, it has been silent about its own unsavory moments, such as early American pioneers’ destruction of First Nation cultures, European exploitation of the African continent, or Australia’s treatment of aboriginal peoples. Addressing these historical episodes matters all the more because they affect current behavior; Western nations also have problems admitting to contemporary mistakes and intentions.

Non-Western nations can now make clear that their own countries and communities have long histories that not only exist despite Western interpretation, but these histories need to be explored, understood, and told. The West must grapple with this trend and its implications, rather than continue to obscure it in denial. Consider the ongoing diplomatic efforts of the Indian government to compel Great Britain to return the treasure stolen from India, including some of the crown jewels.

The second trend is the re-evaluation of the” rules-based” international order. Policymakers in Washington may not like hearing it, but the concept is the subject of much derision around the world and is widely regarded as a tool used by the West to control global affairs and maintain hegemony. There is ample resentment growing against Western nations given the repeated breaching of their own rules, meaning that the legitimacy of this order is being questioned despite its positive aspects.

Coinciding with this growing frustration is the reality that the distribution of power across more nations is transforming the current world order and creating new opportunities and challenges. China has assumed a more prominent position, offering global public goods such as peacemaking and addressing climate change in a manner Western nations are not willing, or able, to do. Similarly, India is beginning to assert itself, as are other smaller nations, like the UAE and Indonesia.

As more countries determine their own trajectories in the twenty-first century, the West must recognize that the international balance of power has shifted. It cannot continue to impose its will on others—the rise of China and other nations is evidence of such. The West must come to terms with this new reality and recognize that a new, more pragmatic, and multipolar approach is needed, where nations pursue foreign policies committed to co-existence, driven by their own best interests rather than aligning themselves with “one side” or the other.

Third is the unmasking of Western “peacekeeping.” Despite portraying itself as the guarantor of global security, much of the world now views the United States‚ and Europe to a lesser extent, as profiting from war rather than being interested in promoting authentic peace. The Western military-industrial complex—particularly the United States’—is so powerful that it is now well-known to drive U.S. foreign policy to the extent that it perpetuates conflicts to thus profit from war.

At present, the United States and its NATO allies are driving the rise in global military spending, with America spending more on defense than the next ten countries combined. It is similarly well known that almost half of the Pentagon’s budget goes to private contractors each year, and the military-industrial complex donates millions of dollars to U.S. Congressional races, resulting in state capture and significant increases in defense budgets.

The rest of the world has realized that the West alone cannot be trusted to lead global peace efforts, especially if a significant portion of their economies are geared to profit from conflict. In light of this, a positive change is occurring, with China brokering ground-breaking peace agreements—between Saudi Arabia and Iran, for example—while world leaders like Indonesia’s Joko Widodo, India’s Narendra Modi, and Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva pitch peaceful resolutions to modern conflicts.

The fourth trend underway is the dethroning of the Western financial superstructure. That the West makes ample use of its financial might for geopolitical advantage and purposes is no great secret—policymakers and experts openly talk about the “weaponization of finance” and applying sanctions on countries that do not comply with Western intentions. Likewise, the ability of the United States and its allies to freeze and even confiscate the reserves of sovereign states—Afghanistan, Venezuela, Russia—sent shock waves across the world.

Because of this and the West’s own track record of financial greed and impropriety—which resulted in devastating crises such as the 2007–2008 financial crisis and the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, which has had global reverberations—distrust in and a rejection of Western financial structures is growing.

Efforts are now underway to dismantle the exorbitant privilege bestowed on the United States via its currency. De-dollarization is very much happening, with the currency’s share of global reserves falling to 47 percent last year, down from 73 percent in 2001. Additionally, countries are seeking alternatives to the SWIFT system, which also has been used in aid of Western-based sanctions and thus alarmed the global majority. As countries with stable currencies gain influence, a more multipolar economic order emerges, reshaping geopolitical alliances, economic diplomacy, and the balance of power within international institutions. This change may grant developing nations greater flexibility in managing their currencies and monetary policies and limit the West’s capacity to unilaterally impose sanctions. Moreover, BRICS nations have recently surpassed the G7 in terms of GDP, signaling a redistribution of economic power and hinting at a future of cooperation in trade, investment, infrastructure, and development assistance.

Fifth and finally, there is the notable collapse of the Western press’ credibility. This comes at a critical juncture, as repeated shortcomings in the last few years have heightened global awareness of Western media’s role in perpetuating the West’s preferred aspects of the current world order—often to the detriment of other countries.

For instance, persistent China-bashing in Western headlines has perpetuated an unproductive and fear-mongering narrative of Beijing as a threat to its own citizens and the world at large. The geopolitical contexts of Hong Kong and Taiwan, though complicated affairs, have been particularly and selectively drummed up to push an “us vs. them” narrative, rather than encouraging understanding between the West and China.

Similarly, overwhelmingly one-sided coverage of the Ukrainian conflict regularly overlooks national and regional geopolitical complexities in the long-standing Russian-Ukrainian relationship and the history of NATO expansion in Europe. A lack of reporting on the Nord Stream bombing, which many believe was perpetrated by a Western nation—with reporting to back this claim up—is a glaring hole that has contributed to the lack of trust in Western media from both non-Western and Western readers alike. Only months later is the Western press quietly admitting potential Western culpability, or at the very least, knowledge.

Moreover, inadequate, and biased coverage of non-Western conflicts, such as those in Yemen, Myanmar, and Palestine, has led to global accusations of neglect, bias, and even racism.

The Writing on the Wall

Western governments operating in an echo chamber of denial need to reach out to their friends across the world and realize what is obvious to everyone except to themselves: that the world is not like what it was in the post-Cold War era. The old ways are finished, and the West simply does not have the political and financial power, not to mention the international legitimacy, it once did. Western nations must adapt to this changing international environment, rather than stubbornly insisting upon business as usual. Failure to do so will make the world a more dangerous place and erode the credibility and influence of the West even further.


* This article is by Chandran Nair. It was first published in The National Interest on June 8, 2023. Chandran Nair is the Founder and CEO of the Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT), an independent pan-Asian think tank based in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur focused on advancing a deeper understanding of global issues including the shift of economic and political influence from the West to Asia, the dynamic relationship between business and society, and the reshaping of the rules of global capitalism.

]]> 0
The Untold Truth About Taiwan’s Real Legal Position* Thu, 28 Sep 2023 15:35:48 +0000 The daily Western presentation of Taiwan as a functionally independent nation on the verge of being “invaded” by China flies in the face of the actual facts, as specified by global agreements recognized and codified by people on both sides of the strait.

  • China’s governing constitutional instruments specify that the mainland and Taiwan are one country;
  • And so does the constitutional document of Taiwan, Republic of China – it ALSO specifies that the two entities are a single, indivisible country;
  • To this day, the ROC Constitution ostensibly applies not just to Taiwan but to the whole of China, indicating the Taipei-based government’s control over Tibet and other parts;
  • China’s “Nine Dash Line” under which the country claims a large portion of the South China Sea is actually a reduced version of Taiwan’s “Eleven Dash Line”, which Taiwan still applies to the same waters;
  • Journalists correctly mention that some countries (193) legally support China while others (13) legally support Taiwan; but they omit the key fact that both groups (read the small print) legally support the principle that mainland China and Taiwan are a single country;
  • While some in Taiwan’s DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) openly push for independence, the party would have to rip up or massively amend Taiwan’s own constitutional document to do so.

Professor of Law Richard Cullen reports on the actual legal situation, and how it evolved, to clear up the widely circulated myths about the relationship between mainland China and Taiwan.

AMIDST THE ACUTE geopolitical debate about the status of Taiwan, the clear constitutional consensus that there is One China, which includes Taiwan, is largely overlooked. 

We need to examine some key historical developments in order to comprehend how this has come to pass; and why this agreement endures. 

It will also become plain, as we investigate these events, why certain parties, today, find this agreed cross-strait fundamental legal perspective to be a notably awkward component of the foundations that lie beneath the acrimonious geopolitical debate.


Taiwan was formally established as a part of China well over 300 years ago, in 1684, when the Manchu, Qing Dynasty annexed Taiwan, following the Manchu defeat of the Ming Dynasty.

Taiwan is close to the province of Fujian.

Subsequently, Taiwan was absorbed as a colony within the rapidly emerging new Japanese Empire, as a war prize, after Japan defeated Qing Dynasty China in 1895, in the First Sino-Japanese War. 

After the dropping of American atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945.  One consequence of this surrender was that Japan’s imperial rule over Taiwan was essentially terminated with immediate effect (subject to the completion of handover procedures) in August 1945. 


By October 1945, the then globally recognized Chinese Government – the Republic of China (ROC) Kuomintang (KMT) Government – began to re-occupy Taiwan.  By May, 1947 the KMT had established, in accord with the ROC Constitution, a Province of Taiwan Government in Taipei.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taiwan. Image by Rovin Ferrer/ Unsplash.

By late 1949, the Communist Party of China (CPC) had defeated the KMT in the Chinese Civil War, which re-commenced in 1945-46, once it was clear that Japan faced defeat in the Second Sino Japanese War (and WW2).  The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established by the CPC on October 1, 1949.  The KMT – and, thus, the ROC – meanwhile, retreated to Taiwan. 

Staunch American support – including the threat of using atomic weapons against the PRC – helped ensured that the CPC was prevented from taking over Taiwan in the 1950s.  But it also became clear that the KMT aim to make China one, again (including Taiwan) under the ROC Constitution, was not going to happen.


But what were the origins and fundamental scope of that ROC Constitution?

Following the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, the Republic of China was established in 1912, when a Provisional Constitution for the ROC was drawn up.  Further Provisional Constitutions were promulgated, including one in 1931.  After extensive drafting and debate, the original version of the current ROC Constitution took effect on December 25, 1947, almost two years before the defeat of the KMT in the Chinese Civil War.

Page one of the original constitution, drafted 1946, ratified 1947.

Since then, the ROC Constitution has been amended a number of times, but its essential structure has not been altered in the sense that it remains, to this day, a constitution that ostensibly applies not just to Taiwan but to all of China.  Given that when this constitution was first applied, the KMT was globally recognized as the government of all of China (including Taiwan), this is not surprising.


Thus, within the ROC Constitution, as it currently applies, there are repeated references to the geographical-political constituent parts of China, including Provinces, Mongolian Leagues and Banners and Tibet.  Meanwhile, Article 4 states that the territory of the ROC cannot be altered except by resolution of the National Assembly. 

In fact, the list of ROC, nominal, territorial disputes with jurisdictions on the Asian mainland (including, Afghanistan, India, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan and the USSR) remained quite extensive for some decades after 1949.

Taiwan’s documents assume leadership over all China, including Tibet. Photo by Daniele Salutari on Unsplash.

The PRC, meanwhile, resolved most of its continental, international territorial disputes, with India being the key exception.  (The PRC negotiated treaties settling these border disputes on behalf of China were typically not recognized as legitimate by the ROC (which maintained Taipei’s claim to represent all of China.))


Both the ROC and the PRC maintain largely overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.  Thus, the contested “Nine Dash Line”, which underpins PRC claims to extensive jurisdiction of large parts of the South China Sea is, in fact, a reduced (in favour of Vietnam) version of the earlier ROC, “Eleven Dash Line”, which Taiwan still applies

Both the PRC and the ROC also strongly contest Japanese control of the Diaoyu (or Senkaku) Islands in the East China Sea.

This Taiwanese military emblem shows the island, not as a separate country, but as part of the whole.


A further indicative aspect of how the ROC Constitution has been applied (within Taiwan controlled territory) since 1949 is that until 1998, the Taiwanese governing system comprised a National Government based in Taipei – and a separate Province of Taiwan Government – with each government essentially having jurisdiction over the same geographical area. 

From 1957 to 2018, this was the Taiwan Provincial Government. Image: Vegafish/ Wikimedia Commons.

The ROC on Taiwan also once supported a separate, operating but largely nominal Province of Fujian Government, which came into existence due to the KMT maintaining political control over certain small offshore island groups (Kinmen and Matsu) geographically part of Fujian Province on the Mainland.  (These islands are located in the Taiwan Strait very close to the Mainland.)

Until late 1971, the claimed but nominal ROC jurisdiction over all of China was widely recognized internationally – and especially by the United Nations.  The ROC, representing China, became one of the Five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council (holding a veto power), along with Britain, France, the US and the USSR (now Russia). 

Eventually the geopolitical tectonic plates shifted, however, and, in late 1971, the United Nations voted by a large margin to stop recognizing the KMT Government in Taiwan as the government of all of China and switch that recognition to the PRC Government based in Beijing.

Subsequently, many countries began to accept that the sole legitimate government of China was based in Beijing, including Australia in 1972 and the US in 1979. 


Today, Beijing maintains full diplomatic relations, on this same basis, with the overwhelming majority of UN Member States.  The ROC on Taiwan now retains full diplomatic relations with just 12 of the 193 UN Member States – plus the Holy See, which governs Vatican City.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is the current governing party in Taiwan and Tsai Ing-wen is the DPP President of Taiwan.  The Voice of America recently confirmed, the DPP favours independence for Taiwan.  


Awkwardly, as we have seen above, the ROC Constitution, under which the DPP governs Taiwan, insistently supports the unity of all of China – including Taiwan.  Indeed, the ROC Constitution would require massive amendment if it were to be transformed into a constitution which could provide a Basic Law for a constitutionally independent Taiwan.  Any such move would, in turn, cross a critically bright, PRC political red-line, triggering plainly foreseeable, grave consequences.

The agreement that Taiwan is part of China is universally acknowledged.

Taiwan’s own constitution, the ROC Constitution, has, thus, created an entrenched, major formal deterrent to any reckless political action aimed at undermining the shared, cross-strait constitutional consensus that there is only One China – including Taiwan.

The misleading “western lens” view is pushed by many journalists critical of China, including some in Hong Kong.

This has established a thorny underlying, ultimately geopolitical problem for the DPP – and for Washington (along with other China Threat devotees) even as the US continues to play the Taiwan card as part of its massive project to try and contain the rise of China.


Although it is most unlikely that the then ROC President, Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT could have envisaged, in 1947, the particular, impulse-controlling – and unifying – influence of the remarkable ROC Constitution over 75 years later, we can surely be thankful that it continues to have this constructive, long-term impact. 

Richard Cullen is a Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong and a popular writer on public affairs.

  • Reprint of article by Richard Cullen, who is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong. This article was published in “Fridayeveryday” on June 28, 2023.
]]> 1
Short Summary of History of Chen Taiji and Yang Taiji Thu, 28 Sep 2023 15:29:11 +0000

Original Style:  Chen Style:  It is more likely that Taiji was invented about 350-400 years ago near the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) or the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), associated with Chen Wang-Ting (陈王庭, 1600-1680), a former military officer who lived in the Chen village in Chenjiagou (陈家沟) in Henan Province (河南省).

Existence of Yang Style Taiji (Yang Lu-Chen):  There are many different styles of Taiji.  The original style is the Chen Style, which gave rise to the Yang Style, when Yang Lu-Chan (楊露禅, 1799-1872) from Hebei Province (河北省), went to the Chen village to work, and then also learned Taiji from Chen Chang-Xing (陈长兴) for an extended period (about 7 years).  Then Yang went back to Beijing in Hebei Province and taught Taiji.  Because many of his students were from the imperial court’s aristocratic class, instead of laborers, farmers, and soldiers, he modified the Chen Style Taiji to make it less physically demanding and more suitable for the aristocratic class, but not necessarily decreased its effectiveness as a martial art. Yang-Style Taiji which is mostly soft and slow became popular and spread. As a matter of fact, Yang Lu-Chan and some of the subsequent masters of the Yang-Style Taiji were superb martial arts fighters who were among the best fighters of their period.  During the next hundred or so years, several other leading practitioners of Taiji made their own modifications and extensions of the Chen Style Taiji and gave rise to the Wu Style (吴式), Sun Style (孙式), and Wu/Hao Style (武/郝 式).  The Yang Style became the most commonly practiced Taiji style in the world.

Reemergence of Chen Style Taiji (Chen Fake):  In the early 1900 there is a reemergence of Chen Style Taiji when Chen Fake became the most dominant martial artist and taught many people around China and the world.  There is an interesting story about Chen Fake.  He was the son of a Chen Style Taiji teacher in Shandong province, but he was weak and in poor health.  When he was 14 in 1901, he overhead from his relatives criticizing his weakness. That served as a wakeup call that he might not be able to carry the tradition of Chen Style Taiji.  So over the next 3 years, he diligently practiced the various forms of his Chen family Taiji and became well known and famous by winning many impromptu competitions where there were no rules and could be very dangerous.  His fame spread and he had many students in China and around the world and resulted in the reemergence of Chen Style Taiji until his death in 1957.  With a mixture of fast and slow movements, as well as a mixture of hard and soft movements, the Chen Style Taiji reemerged again as a popular martial art.  Therefore both the Chen Style Taiji (characterized by a mixture of fast/slow movements and a mixture of hard/soft movements) and the Yang Style Taiji (characterized by mostly slow and soft movements) were practiced by many people in China and around the world throughout the twenty century.  Some of the disciples of both styles of Taiji also became superb martial arts fighters.

Emergence of the New Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji:  One of the best students of Chen Fake was Feng Zhiqiang (冯 志 强) (1928-2012), who besides being a student of Chen Fake, was also a student of the Xingyiquan expert and Qigong master Hu Yaozhen (胡耀貞), who was also an expert in traditional Chinese medicine. Under the guidance of two superb martial arts masters Chen Fake and Hu Yaozhen, Feng Zhiqiang practiced diligently Taiji and Qigong, and synthesized both techniques in a new Chen Taiji Style known as the Chen Style Hunyuan (混元) Taiji.  Feng Zhiqiang became perhaps the most well known Taiji master in the world.  His reputation grew in China and around the world, especially in Japan where he had been challenged many times by karate, judo, and other martial arts experts and successfully met those challenges.  Today the Yang Style Taiji and the Chen Style Taiji (either the traditional Chen Style or the Hunyuan Style) are the two most popular and practiced Taiji forms in the world.

Who Is Carrying on the Tradition After Feng Zhiqiang: After Feng Zhiqiang’s death in 2012, Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji is continued to be taught in Beijing under the leadership of Feng Zhiqiang’s daughter and grandson.  In the U.S. it is taught under the leadership of Wang Feng-Ming, son-in-law of Feng Zhiqiang and who accompanied Feng Zhiqiang in many of his oversea training and teaching trips.  After leaving Beijing in 1994, Mr. Wang taught Taiji in Europe, especially in Finland, for more than a decade, with many students all over Europe. Then around 2007, he moved to the U.S., with his base in central New Jersey.

Form Names of the Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji 24 Form: The two most popular form sets for Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji are the 24 Form and the 48 Form.  The names of the forms in the 24 Form are given below:

1. Commencing Form
2. Warrior Pound Mortar
3. Leisurely Tie Coat
4. Six Blocking Four Closing
5. Single Whip
6. White Crane Spreads Wings
7. Walk Obliquely and Twist Step
8. Lift Hands and Raise Knee
9. Wade Forward and Twist Step
10. Cover Hand Punch
11. Shield Body Punch
12. Lean with Back
13. Green Dragon Emerges from Water
14. Double Push Hands
15. Three Change Palm
16. Reverse Roll Arm
17. Step Back and Press Elbow
18. Middle Winding
19. Flash the Back
20. Ground Punch
21. Chest Level Punch
22. Snap Waist and Press Elbow
23. Head Punch
24. Closing Form
]]> 0
Review of “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? Mon, 26 Jun 2023 03:09:29 +0000

This article provides a review of the recent book [1] Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucdydides’s Trap? by Graham Allison. The book discusses whether a situation with a rising power facing a ruling power will likely end up in war. In the book, Allison analyzed several such world situations, it argues that the answer is more likely, although not necessarily, and the book asked the important question, known as Thucydides’s trap, whether the current situation of China as a rising power and the U.S. as a ruling power will end up in war. That is the purpose of this article. The answer to the question of Thucdydides’s trap is not a simple and straight-forward answer, as discussed below.

Sparta Versus Athens in the 5th Century BC or BCE (Before Common Era): Before the Persian invasion of Greece in 490 BCE, in the Greek peninsula known as the Peloponnese, the city-state of Sparta, highly militaristic with a powerful army where their sons were enrolled in military academies starting at age of seven, had been the region’s dominant power for more than a century. Athens, another city-state in the Peloponnese area, was a port city and interested always as a trading nation with merchants who crisscrossed the Aegean Sea, and had developed a vast navy, was interested in culture, history, philosophy, and democracy, but at the same time had no reservations about interfering in the affairs of other states.

Athens was a rising power and Sparta was a ruling power. As Athens’ power and influence continued to grow, there were even thoughts of a preemptive attack by Sparta on Athens to remind the entire Greek world who was number one. To reduce the tension and avoid a series of all-out conflicts known as the First Pelonponnean War, Sparta and Athens agreed to a peace treaty in 446 BCE that laid the groundwork for a regional peace treaty that lasted for about 30 years. However, later a conflict between two smaller partner states of Sparta and Athens escalated to a conflict that neither side wanted to back away from and let to a war between Sparta and Athens. This gave rise to Thucydides’s Trap that a rising power would lead to war between the rising power and the ruling power.

Initially there might not be a serious conflict between Athens and Sparta. But the conflict became serious when Athens became an imperial power with influence over many cities along both sides of the Aegean Sea and trying to convert them to become Athens’ allies or colonies. The American historian and economist Alan Freeman gave an excellent video broadcast “Is war between China and US inevitable?” discussing the conflict between Sparta and Athens, Thucydides’s Trap, and the current conflict between the U.S. and China. [2] See, in particular, the segment (5:10-6:50) of his video broadcast showing the map of Athen’s imperial power and Athen’s many potential partners and allies in the Aegean Sea. However, in the case of China and the U.S., the conflict is not due to China’s economic rise, but it is due’s to the U.S. economic decline. Furthermore, the U.S. should be responsible for taking actions to correcting its own economic decline, and should not blame China for its own economic decline.

What Is the Likelihood of a Rising Power Leads to War with a Ruling Power? Actually even in Graham Allison’s book Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, Allison did not conclude that the answer is a definite yes, although when he and his team at Harvard studied 16 historical cases between a rising power and a ruling power, they concluded that the answer is yes in 12 of the 16 cases they studied. However, their conclusion can leave a lot of room for debates, as in the discussion of Sparta and Athens. Furthermore, history in the world has a lot more cases that can be studied that could lead to the answer to Thucydides’s Trap as no. We next discuss how was world order decided, then follow with a discussion of the current U.S.-China conflict.

How Was World Order Decided? The book often mentioned how order was decided, or how do you decide whether you can keep your adversary in line. A rule that is often used is a “Two-Power Standard” announced in 1889 as the general method to maintain Britain’s naval primacy, that is to keep Britain on the top of the order hierarchy is to maintain a fleet of battleships equal to the numbers deployed by its next two competitors combined since naval supremacy was key to the battlefield in the past, including the 19th century and first part of the 20th century. This was a rule used by the British to ensure that the British had enough military power to help to enforce its rule-based order. This was used by Winston Churchhill in his various positions as the British Secretary of state for War, Secretary of State for the Colonies, Prime Minister, as well as other positions. Similarly, it was also used by other countries in planning for conflicts or wars with potential adversaries. In the imperialistic world, it was your military might that settles conflicts. The question of fairness was of secondary importance.

The Current U.S.-China Conflict: In the current world, the U.S. is the world’s richest country and the most powerful country, with the world’s most number of inventions and patents, with the best built infrastructures, and with the best universities. Therefore, the U.S. is the ruling power in the world. China is the second most productive country in the world, with the fastest growth in the last 30+ years, with the greatest reduction in poverty, and leads or nearly leads the world in inventions and patents, and has become the manufacturing center of the world, and leads the world in modern infrastructures. Therefore, China is the world’s rising power. This leads to the question of Thucydides’s Trap whether the rising power China and the ruling power the U.S. will lead to conflicts and war.

What makes this question even more urgent is that the U.S. is declining in power. The U.S.’s economy is relatively stagnant, its infrastructures are getting old and not being rapidly replaced, its manufacturing capabilities are migrating overseas, and its people and government do not seem to have the same urgency or zeal. At the same time, China’s economy and manufacturing capacities seem to continue to grow, its infrastructures are rapidly expanding, its education system seems to continue to improve and grow, and its people seem to work with more urgency. Will this lead to more conflicts between U.S. and China? It could, but on the other hand, the U.S.’s declines are not due to China, and it must revitalize itself and should not blame China. Furthermore, synergy can come if the sides are willing to collaborate and help each other, and the rest of the world as a whole can also improve.

There is, however, one important question that has not been brought up for discussion. In all past conflicts, it was possible to have a winner. However, with countries now owning hundreds, if not thousands, of thermonuclear weapons that can annihilate a country, the world, and humanity, there may not be any winner after a war. Therefore, that could alter all our plannings and strategies, as we contemplate Thucydides’s Trap.

Concluding Remarks: There seems to be several major issues in the conflict between the U.S. and China, at least from the eyes of the U.S., in particular Taiwan, South China Sea, and East China Sea islands. Since all these issues have already been discussed in my other articles in this website, I will not address them further in this article, except to point out their references. See, e.g., Ref. 3 and references referred to in that article.



[1] Graham Allison, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston-New York, 2018.

[2] Alan Freeman, “Is war between China and US inevitable?”, video broadcast by Thinkers Forum:, April 16, 2023. See in particular, the (5:10-6:50) segment of this video showing the map of Athen’s imperial power and Athen’s many potential partners and allies in the Aegean Sea.

[3] “It Is Time for the U.S. to Acknowledge History”:, as well as articles referenced in that article.

]]> 3
Some Comments on the Mind Set to Learn Taiji Mon, 26 Jun 2023 03:00:03 +0000 Taiji has been around for centuries and people have been learning Taiji for generations, and new classes are being taught to new learners all the time. This article offers some thoughts on the mind set one should have for learning Taiji.

Taiji is a wonderful skill to have.  It can provide you with an exercise that you can practice for a lifetime.  It has many health benefits that have been confirmed by numerous medical journals. 

Health Benefits of Taiji: Taiji has many health benefits that have been confirmed by numerous medical journals.  For example, health benefits have been found [1] in the following categories:

  • Bone Density
  • Cardiopulmonary
  • Physical Function
  • Falls and Balance
  • Immune Function and Inflammation
  • Quality of Life
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Patient-Reported Outcomes
  • Psychological

Reference [2] provides another review article on the health benefits of Taiji. 

The Mind Set to Adopt in Learning Taiji: Learning Taiji is not simply to learn the basic movements of your arms and legs in executing the motions of a particular form set. Yes, it is important to learn to do that, but just as important, it is to learn why you are doing certain movements, what are the health benefits of of doing those movements, and what are the potential martial arts applications of those movements. Although one may take up Taiji purely for its health benefits, and one doesn’t need to know or to practice the potential martial arts applications of the various Taiji movements, it is still important for one to be aware of its potential martial arts applications, because it helps you to understand and appreciate why the movements are done in a particular way and why it can lead to potential health benefits, and besides that, it helps to build confidence that you know some basic skills of self defense. As a matter of fact, explaining the Taiji movements from a health perspective and from a martial arts perspective can complement each other.

Breathing is also an important part of learning Taiji. Although in the beginning, the student is told to breathe naturally, except that occasionally, the student is instructed that for certain movements, when one should breathe in, and when one should breathe out. In general, when you are delivering a strike, you want to breathe out. When you are setting up a strike, you want to breathe in.

But no benefit can be realized if you don’t practice it.  Furthermore, one’s interest and motivation for practice will fade away quickly if you don’t learn it, constantly practice it, and enjoy doing it.  Therefore, while you are learning Taiji, you also need to enjoy doing Taiji. It will be a waste of your time if you don’t plan to spend the time to learn it, practice it., and enjoy it.

Examples To Illustrate the Mindset: Let’s use practicing the Yang-style 24 Form to illustrate several points mentioned in this article. The movements of the 24 Form are described in [3].

The reason that Taiji can give rise to multiple health benefits is because while doing the Taiji exercises, your body goes through certain exercises, e.g., stretching, aerobic, or breathing exercises, that increase your flexibility, massage your body including your internal organs, build your endurance, relax your body and calm your mind.

One of the exercises we want to practice from the health perspective is to rotate our waist. This is executed in part of the Form 2 “Wild Horse Shakes Its Mane” when we pivot the left (right) foot to the left (right) so that in the next part of that move when you step up, you need to rotate your waist while still ending up facing your opponent.

Another exercise we want to do from the health perspective is to be able to go low and block a low attack to our groin area. This is executed in Form 4 “Brush Knee and Step Forward,” when we go low and position our body to be able to block a low kick to the groin.

Another exercise we want to do from the health perspective is while simultaneously moving backward with your feet, you can use your arms to do other things. In Form 6 “Step Back and Repulse Monkey,” by stepping back we can avoid a direct attack from the front and at the same time initiate a counter attack by striking your opponent on the face or neck.

One of the exercises we want to do from the health perspective is to use our hands to block an attack and simultaneously initiate a counter attack. In Form 10 “Wave Hands Like Clouds,” we are moving our hands in a way that blocks an opponent’s attack and simultaneously counter attacking the opponent.

From the health perspective, one of the exercises we want to do is to be able to position our body in a low position and do things with our hands and feet while in a low position. In Form 16/17 “Push Down and Stand on One Leg (Left Leg or Right Leg),” your bend your body to go low so that you can extend your hand to reach your opponent’s foot, and once extended, you can use your extended hand to lift up your opponent’s foot/lower body while leaning your upper body against your opponent’s upper body to cause your opponent to fall backward.

One of the exercises you want to do from the health perspective is to exercise eye-hand coordination and at the same time to be able to use one hand to do something while using your other hand to do something else. In Form 18 “Fair Lady Works the Shuttles,” you exercise eye-hand coordination while blocking an opponent with your right hand but simultaneously attacking your opponent with your left hand (or blocking an opponent with your left hand but simultaneously attacking your opponent with your right hand).

Like some of the exercises previously mentioned that you want to do from a health perspective is to be able to do one thing with one hand while supporting that activity with the other hand. In Form 20 “Unfolding Arms Like a Fan,” you block with your right hand close to your head while counter attacking your opponent with your extended left hand.

One of the exercises you want to do from a health perspective is to be able to rotate your body rapidly and respond appropriately in the other direction. In Form 21 “Turn, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch,” you change direction, counter attack to your opponent’s head, and followed by a frontal attack to your opponent.

One of the exercises you want to do from a health perspective is to be able to go low while doing something low and simultaneously do something high. In Form 23 “Cross Hands,” you block an opponent’s attack from your back or side, and then pull opponent’s feet upward and toward you, while leaning your upper body against your opponent’s upper body, causing your opponent to lose balance and fall backward.

Summary: The Taiji exercises are designed to be done in a certain way so that your body is going through a list of motions that engage your body in stretching, aerobic, or breathing exercises. As you can see from the discussion above, many exercises we want to do from a health perspective can be done with Taiji exercises that have self defense applications built in. That is why we say that explaining the Taiji movements from a health perspective and from a martial arts perspective can complement each other. That is also why we say when you learn Taiji in the proper way, you will enjoy doing Taiji



[1] See for example, a review article “A comprehensive review of health benefits of qigong and tai chi”( by R. Jahnke, L. Larkey, C. Rogers, J. Etnier, and F. Lin, in the American Journal of Health Promotion, 2010 July/August.  I have written a short summary of this article in my website “A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi”:

[2] See also “Health Benefits of Taiji” by Don M. Tow, The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health & Fitness, Vol 29, No. 3, Autumn 2019, pp. 20-28.

[3] D. M. Tow, “Simplified Yang Style 24 Form”, contains an attachment providing the names (both English and Chinese) and a short description of the form for each of the 24 forms:

]]> 0
Some Thoughts on AI and Frontiers of Science Mon, 26 Jun 2023 03:00:00 +0000

About three and a half years ago, we posted an article “Some Thoughts on How We can Experience and Learn from the Past Virtually” in which we raised the question “Whether we can make use of the information from the past, not only to relive past events, but also to make use of that information to learn from it.” The idea is whether we can make use of Artificial Intelligence” (AI) to learn from the information in the past and then creatively built on that to lead to new scientific discoveries. The current article provides some specific thoughts on that proposal.

Instead of debating for hours on creativity and whether computers can have the creativity to come up with outstanding discoveries or inventions, below we discuss some specific examples from physics which with the help of leading questions to AI computers could lead to significant scientific discoveries.

Some Specific Thoughts on Making Use of AI in Physics: The idea is to choose a good topic, compile the knowledge we currently know about this topic, including, e.g., who are the major thought leaders on that topic, what are the major thoughts of lead investigators on this topic, formulate some key questions to ask about that topic, and gather relevant data related to that topic. Then provide this information as input to AI-capable computers.  Then utilize artificial intelligence to help us to investigate that topic.  As part of asking the computer to do AI work, we could also ask the computer to carry out a virtual discussion or brainstorm with a group of scientific researchers on a difficult problem that they might all have researched on previously.  (If we do that, then we may need to provide the computer with information about the background of such lead investigators, not only their technical background, but also information on the type of person they are, on their personality and their methods of thinking, etc.)

The idea is definitely not new.  As a matter of fact, many people probably have thought about this idea, and many people probably have also dismissed the idea because they argue that a major discovery will require great intelligence and creativity that are beyond the reach of our current computers.  This leads to the question of creativity, and whether computers can have that kind of creativity to come up with outstanding discoveries or inventions. 

Examples of Possible Leads as Input to AI-Enabled Computers: We probably can discuss for hours on the definition of creativity and wouldn’t be able to come to agreement on its definition and whether computers can exhibit that.  However, let’s not talk in abstract, and actually look at some of the discoveries in the last 50-100 years that were considered to be important discoveries.  In particular, consider the field of high energy physics, or elementary particle physics.  In my opinion, some of those discoveries could have come from computers with suitable questions or inputs from a knowledgeable researcher or a team of knowledgeable researchers, then with the help of AI-capable computer(s), some leads suggested to the computer could enable the computer and/or researcher(s) to make a new discovery.  Here are a few examples:

  • For the asymptotic freedom theory (leading to Quantum Chromodynamics or QCD, the current theory of strong interactions of quarks and gluons) of Yang-Mills gauge theory from the work of Politzer, and Gross and Wilczek in 1972-1973 that resulted in their 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics, it turned out that two-three years earlier Anthony Zee investigated several theories for this asymptotic freedom property.  Unfortunately for him, one of the few theories that he didn’t investigate was Yang-Mills gauge theory.  If he did, he probably would have discovered it.  So if someone in 1970-1971 had fed this information to an AI-enabled computer and asked the computer the question what other theories they could have investigated for this property, the computer might have suggested Yang-Mills gauge theory for investigation and then the researcher would have discovered it. 
  • Even parity violation of Lee and Yang for their 1956 work with respect to weak interactions.  If someone had fed the information to a smart computer that there were strong experimental data to support conservation of parity in strong and electromagnetic interactions, and had asked a smart computer to search for evidence of conservation of parity in weak interactions, the computer would have answered that there was not much evidence, and they could have proposed non-conservation of parity in weak interactions before Lee and Yang, which was what Lee and Yang did.
  • Even on the question of the expansion of the universe originally discovered by Hubble in the 1920s (Hubble didn’t get the Nobel Prize in Physics because at that time astronomy was not considered part of physics) and the more recent accelerated expansion discovery of the universe by Perlmutter/Schmidt/Riess (Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011), a computer with the right inputs and the right questions could have discovered or led to discover that.
  • Three-degree cosmic background radiation that got Penzias and Wilson of Bell Labs for their work in the mid 1960s leading to the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physics could have been discovered by a smart computer with the right questions and inputs, instead of the accidental discovery of Penzias and Wilson (at first, they didn’t even know what they discovered), even though at that time a group at Princeton was looking for that kind of astrological evidence), but they didn’t have smart computer with AI in the early-mid 1960s. This means that more groups might have looked into this area of research around the time of discovery of Penzias and Wilson.

I think if we work on it, we could come up with many other previous new ideas or discoveries not only in physics, but also in other fields, that could have been made or led researchers to by computers with AI, as long as appropriate questions and relevant data are input to the AI-enabled computers.  Of course, this may be an iterative process, meaning there could be going back and forth with the computers before a meaningful new idea or discovery, or before leading to a new idea or discovery, will emerge.

This is not taking away any credit for the people who achieved these past achievements.

I also do agree that certain discoveries such as from Newton’s gravitation theory to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity may require such a great leap of creativity that it is unlikely that currently anticipated AI-enabled computers could have come up with that discovery or invention, or saying it in another way, it is unlikely that the persons feeding the computers could have come up with the right questions and feed the computers with the appropriate inputs.

Other Important Topics in Physics: In the physics field, other examples of possible topics for AI-enabled computers to attack include:

  • What is dark energy?
  • What is dark matter?
  • Why is there so much asymmetry between matter and antimatter?
  • Deep paradoxes of Quantum Physics, e.g, collapse of the wavefunction and quantum entanglement

These are all important and well-known problems.  The key is to figure out the next deeper level of questions and appropriate data to feed and interact with the computers.  So it is not that we just assign a problem to the computers, like assigning it as a Ph.D. thesis topic to one or more graduate students, but we have to work closely with the computers, like often with the Ph.D.-seeking graduate students, and through what could be a long, difficult, and creative collaborative process before some meaningful results, or before some new leads, can come out. As far as the above list of topics, I think that we need to probe to one or two levels deeper to come up with suitable questions to ask the AI-enabled computers.

Closing Thoughts: Even though the idea discussed here is very simple, I think probing AI-enabled computers with field-specific knowledge-based questions and then working closely with AI-enabled computers has lots of potential, across all fields (whether it is science, engineering, biology, medical, economical, social, political, etc.). I am sure that more and more people will work in this area and make progress along this line of reasoning, especially as AI becomes more sophisticated and more creative. 

]]> 0
What Should Be Done in Reaction to U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn’s Racist Remark “China Has a 5,000 Year History of Cheating and Stealing. Some things Will Never Change.” Wed, 29 Mar 2023 23:14:21 +0000 This remark “China has a 5,000 history of cheating and stealing. Some things will never change…” was made in a tweet in 12/3/2020 by Tennessee’s Senator Marsha Blackburn. Such remark is absurd and show the complete ignorance of the speaker and would normally be dismissed if it didn’t come the mouth of a U.S. senator.

Senator Blackburn is making an accusation against the Chinese that its 5,000 years of history of great accomplishments was made up of cheating and stealing, and then followed by a sentence that insults all Chinese who are still to be born in the future. Any reasonable person would recognize that such a remark must have come from a person who either has no brains or was said intentionally to damage the reputation and integrity of a country and its people with utmost discrimination, with absolute zero concern for the harm that it could do to the people of the intended remark, and for the negative consequences and actions that it could generate to the people of the U.S. and the people of the world. Yet, no apology has come from Senator Blackburn and no refutations have come from American political leaders.

This says something about the state of the American society and its ability to distinguish truths from lies, and how the goal of getting votes can override other concerns of honesty, civility, truths, facts, and common decency. Unfortunately, it is the kind of behavior we see more and more being displayed in the American political environment, at every level of the political spectrum. This is manifested in rising hate crimes against Asian Americans, black Americans and other minorities, unfair and illegal charges against Chinese American researchers and academics, various proposed housing ownership laws that will be challenged to be unconstitutional, unfair and illegal trade sanctions, and the whole demonic treatment of China and Chinese by the U.S. government and its mass media. It results in an atmosphere that all actions are legitimate as long it can continue to maintain American dominance in the world, instead considering whether the actions are fair and good for the world.

Unless this environment makes a drastic change, not only that the U.S will not be able to continue to be a country that all Americans can be proud of, the country will continue its recent decline. All American need to have a wake-up call to examine our country critically and be willing to speak up and take actions to demand a change. Chinese Americans and Asian Americans in general, must unite to fight all these discriminatory laws and actions at various state levels, the federal level, and the international level, and join forces with other progressive forces locally, nationally, and internationally. Various organizations who have not taken a stand on these issues that should of concern to them need to take actions now. One of the things that need to be done is to publicly criticize Blackburn and work to make sure that she will not be reelected to a second term as the senator from Tennessee.

]]> 3
Demonstrating Yin Yang “Fa-Jin” Force and Potential Application to American Football Wed, 29 Mar 2023 18:50:00 +0000 This article describes a technique known, demonstrated, and practiced for at least a couple of hundreds of years. It is part of the technique known as “Fa-Jin” (发劲), which is practiced in many internal martial arts such as Taiji. Fa-Jin means to issue or discharge a large amount of power, and it is not specific to any particular striking method. We see that people who know such techniques can easily cause an opponent being pushed away by several meters. This article describes such a technique and demonstration by Master Lin kuancheng (林冠澄) of Taiwan to apply a very strong force on an opponent.

Although it is a well-known martial arts technique that can be demonstrated by numerous people for literally centuries, its technique is somewhat mysterious, and it is not easily taught. As a matter of fact, many students who have studied martial arts for many years may have never learned and mastered such techniques. But such techniques have been seen by many people in many demonstrations, as in the video below:

This video is explained and demonstrated by Master Lin Kuanchang, who is a Taiji master based in Taiwan, who has spent his past many years studying, demonstrating, and explaining his method.

Master Lin Kuanchang explains that his technique is actually very simple and is based on the method of yin yang when your body is very relaxed, or “song” in Chinese (放松), and instead of trying to exert an outward yang force of pushing an opponent backward, you must first exert a small backward yin force, followed almost immediately by an outward yang force. When you do that, surprisingly your outward yang force is magnified much more than if you first apply an outward yang force without first applying a small inward yin force.

In the video in the above link using the leg as an example, Master Lin Kuanchang would first move one leg slightly backward, then followed by moving that leg forward. Then you can clearly see that the yin-yang method can result in a yang force that is much larger than the yang force without first applying the small backward yin force.

Similarly, the above video also shows that a similar yin-yang technique can also be used on the arm, i.e., one arm would also first move slightly backward, then followed almost immediately by that arm moving forward. Of course, if you combine the leg and arm methods in the same application, then the result can be even magnified,

Master Lin Kuanchang also illustrated his technique when it is applied to the chest. But applying it to the chest is much more difficult and is not elaborated or explained in detail in the above video.

Since the Fa-Jin method of force can be applied in defense and offense, as seen in another video as demonstrated by Master Liang De Hua of Thailand:

This is a long video (20:50 minutes). The first 8:30 minutes provides an introduction and the theory behind it. The section (9:00-14:45 minutes) shows some applications.

In my opinion, applying the Fa-Jin method of force to an opponent should be able to be used in American football between offensive linemen and defensive linemen. The most difficult part of the technique is to relax the body in the proper way (i.e., “song”, or 放松 in Chinese). The question is how long does it take for someone to learn that kind of technique and apply it effectively and consistently in a real situation of playing American football. If that technique can be taught and learned in a matter of a few months, or even in one year or two, then we could have a breakthrough technique of using the Fa-Jin method of martial arts to American football.

]]> 0
Review of the “The Wandering Earth II” (流浪地球 II), China’s Blockbuster Futuristic Science Fiction Movie Wed, 29 Mar 2023 18:45:00 +0000 On January 22, 2023, Chinese Lunar New Year, China released a new blockbuster futuristic science fiction movie “The Wandering Earth II” (流浪地球 II), which is a prequel to the record smashing movie “The Wandering Earth” (流浪地球) released in 2019. The earlier movie (流浪地球) has earned nearly 700 million dollars worldwide, making it the fifth highest-grossing non-English film in the world of all time. The prequel “The Wandering Earth II” is also becoming a best seller, especially in the Chinese market.

This article provides a review of the movie “The Wandering Earth II” which revolves around a science fiction theme that in the future an aging sun has become a red giant that will engulf the earth and destroy all the people of the world. The people of the world through the United Earth Government (UEG) is trying to adopt an approach to address this most important problem. In the meantime, the earth has also been undergoing changes experiencing a series of natural disasters that has destroyed much of the population of the earth, and results in a large percentage of the earth’s people moving underground to live and survive. With facing these natural disasters as well as other man-made problems, undoubtedly there is a variety of opinions on what approach or approaches should the UEG adopt to attempt to solve these problems. The approach that the UEG seems to have adopted is called the Move Mountain Project (MMP), which is a plan to make a series of nuclear explosions on the surface of the moon that would move the moon away so that earth is not under the gravitational environment of the moon, and then kick the earth out of the orbit of the sun, and let it travel into another distant sun that could provide a livable environment for the people of earth.

Of course, facing these monumental problems to try to figure solutions that determine the life and death of all the people of this world will undoubtedly generate different opinions.  The approach that the UEG has adopted is called the Moving Mountain Project (MMP).  Not only that there is great opposition to the MMP approach that the EUG has adopted. There are large and violent protests and sabotages around the world against the MMP.  Many people favor taking the approach of the Digital Life Project (DLP) that develops mind-loading technologies into Artificial Intelligent (AI) robots so that humans will be replaced by AI smart robots.  In this approach, although humans will not survive and humanity will only manifest itself in AI robots, but the human minds will continue to exist in the brains of AI smart robots.  Although the DLP was not the approach adopted by the UEG, AI smart robots will definitely be involved in this future society.  At the end of the movie, it mentions an interesting twist indicating that these smart AI robots may have their own malicious intent to take over the world, i.e., these smart robots may not always follow the original commands of their human creators.

The ideas discussed in this movie are all very interesting and soul searching.  The problems facing humanity are complex.  There are no easy solutions.  Independent of the MMP or DLP approach chosen by the UEG, the involvement of AI smart robots will become more and more in the lives of humans, and whether humans can always be in command of AI smart robots, especially in the future when humans may all die out, is an open question.  I must compliment the people involved in making this movie for their valiant and creative attempt to address this problem.  As you can understand, it is not easy to convey this complicated and complex problem for the audience in a movie to understand and be able to follow the different happenings in the movie.  This leads to my most important critique of the movie.  In spite of the movie being almost three hours long, “The Wandering Earth II” just doesn’t provide adequate explanations to help the audience to be able to follow and understand what is happening in front of their eyes.  You need a constant guidebook to explain to you the different twists and developments in the movie.  To be honest with you, at times I felt completely lost in the movie.  For me, this problem was enlarged when all the dialogues are in Chinese Mandarin, and only English is shown in the subtitles.  This reminds me of the feelings I had (and many other people also had) when watching the classic “2001:  A Space Odyssey,” a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick.  I should also add that the involvement of AI smart robots, including their malicious attempt to take over the world, was also discussed in the 1968 classic “2001:  A Space Odyssey.”

“The Wandering Earth II” also offers impressive high-tech scenes that go along with the high tech subject matters, and therefore watching it in a big screen in a movie theater would be better than watching it in a small computer or TV screen.

There are several major characters in the movie.  One is the famous HK actor and singer Andy Lau who plays the computer scientist Tu Hengyu and plays a critical role in the AI-related event at the end of the movie.  The other is Wu Jing, the popular martial artist and the star of an extremely best selling action war movie “Wolf Warrior,” who plays the astronaut Liu Peiqiang.  An actress Han Duoduo (played by Wang Zhi), is the wife of Wu Jing.  Zhou Zhezhi (played by Li Xuejian) is the Chinese ambassador to UEG.  Another actress is Hao Xiaoxi (played by Zhu Yanmanzi), who is the Chinese UEG ambassador’s personal assistant.  The director and screenplay writer is Frant Gwo.  The producer is Gong Ge’er, and the movie is based on the original writing of Li Cixin.

In spite of my earlier critique of this movie, I recommend strongly to people to see this movie, for its soul searching theme, and how humanity collectively mobilizes the world to address the critical end-of-the-world problems.  Let me conclude this review by noting how the movie industry has reviewed this movie.  The Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 70%, a relatively high rating (e.g., the movies “Avatar:  The Way or Water” and “Batman:  The Doom That Came to Gotham” were rated at 76%).  Metascore gave it a score of 56, a reasonably good score.  The movie critic Roger Ebert gave it a score of 75.  But New York Times gave it a low score of 30, but that could be politically driven because it is a blockbuster made in China, and not in the U.S., and it was China who played a major and decisive role in the UEG.

]]> 0
Panel Discussion on “Changing U.S.-China Relations and Their Impact on Chinese In the U.S. and Elsewhere” ** Tue, 13 Dec 2022 18:02:39 +0000 This is a summary of the Panel Discussion on the topic “Changing U.S.-China Relations and Their Impact on Chinese In the U.S. and Elsewhere” at the International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas (ISSCO) Conference in San Francisco on Nov. 12, 2022. The panelists are Gordon H. Chang (and not Gordon G. Chang), George Koo, K. J. Noh, and Julie Tang, and it was moderated by Don M. Tow. Brief bios of the panelists and moderator are included at the end of this article.

Questions posed to Panelists are:

  • What is the reason U.S. and China are heading toward a head-on collision?
  • What are the consequences of this head-on collision?
  • What can possibly avoid this collision from happening?
  • Role of Chinese Americans in this conflict?
  • Address generation gaps among different generations of Chinese Americans

The main reason that the U.S. and China are heading toward a head-on collision is because China’s rise is fascilitating the creation of a multi-polar world, but the U.S. wants a uni-polar world following only the U.S.’s rule. This leads to conflicts and instabilities. The consequences of this U.S. desire to maintain hegemony at any cost could lead to regime changes and instabilities all over the world, and possibly leading to wars, including world wars and nuclear wars.

Before the Panel Discussion, the panelist K. J. Noh left a paper underneath each chair in the conference room and asked the audience to show them and read them. Each paper listed the name of a U.S. military base. There were over 200 chairs in the room, and there are over 400 U.S. military bases encircling China, providing a tangible sense of the U.S.’s military threat to China.

As the panelist George Koo pointed out, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a recent visit to China declared in a joint statement with President Xi Jinping that the two countries will promote a multi-polar world and disavow any attempt at decoupling.

We are also seeing other developments in the world. For example, there is great interest in joining BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) which is a grouping of the world’s leading emerging market economies; its purpose is to promote peace, security, development and cooperation. Quite a few countries, such as Algeria, Argentina, Indonesia, and Iran have applied to join, while countries like Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey have also expressed interest.

Also several countries have also expressed interest in joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which focuses on regional security issues and fighting against regional terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism. SCO currently has eight countries (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), four Observer States (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia) with interest in acceding to full membership and six “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey), with Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia also expressing interest to become Dialogue Partners.

Developments like the above could put geopolitical pressure on the U.S. to change its political position of a uni-polar world. Such a change will not come from U.S.’s good will, but it will be forced to change. As pointed out by the panelist George Koo that the U.S.’s full-blown chips war against China has impacted the U.S.’s semiconductor industry in companies like Applied Materials, Lam Research, Advanced Micro Devices, and Nvidia. Therefore, there will be political pressure from the American people and other parts of the U.S. government to force changes.

If such geo-political and geo-economic pressures are not sufficient to change the U.S.’s uni-polar policy to acceptance of the multi-polar world, then we must mobilize a large-scale world-wide pro-peace or anti-war movement on a scale much larger than the anti-Vietnam war movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The panelist Julie Tang pointed out “The cold war against China is characterized by Obama’s pivot to Asia, Trump’s trade war, and Biden’s all-inclusive economic war against China. We live in a dangerously insane world where our US leaders are increasingly turning warmongering on the unsupported rationale that China is an existential threat. We adopt policies thoughtlessly, such as the trade war that drove up inflation, a chip ban on China that kneecapped our own most productive industry, the US chip manufacturers. Our leaders appeared to be lost and confused. They have lost their reasonableness, common sense, and direction in pushing China close to war.”

U.S. Propaganda Against China:

The panelist Gordon H. Chang mentioned “we are entering a new international geopolitical relationship with far reaching negative consequences for Chinese Americans, with unfair targeting of Chinese American professors, columnists, and other professionals, as clearly demonstrated in the large number of completely unjustified accusations and arrests of such Chinese Americans.” [1]

Gordon H. Chang also said “I see Sinophobia and anti-Asian racism entrenching themselves in American life. U.S.-China relations will never resume to what they were in the early 21st century. This is in spite of what the panelist K. J. Noh said “China is not a threat, China’s rise is peaceful–the most peaceful rise of any great power in history –, and why despite this, the US sees China as a threat.”

Noh also added referring to how the U.S.’s financialized economy lives off of extracting value from productive economies in the global south, ‘A parasite sees the host’s effort to free itself as an existential threat.”

Julie Tang also said “US people have been fed daily that China is a competitor and an enemy, rather than a potential partner in trade, climate change, scientific research, and world hunger. The negative sentiments American people hold towards China represents the massive propaganda, disinformation, and brainwashing taking place in the U.S. mass media. It is no wonder that a 2021 Pew study found that 9 out of 10 Americans believe China is a competitor and enemy.” [2]

The U.S. government is also following such false propaganda by executing illegal, dangerous, and counter-productive measures such as “the China Initiative” in carrying prosecutions against Chinese professors and other professionals, in the process of ruining their lives, their reputations, and their livelihood. [1]

The Issue of Taiwan:

As to the issue on Taiwan, the moderator Don Tow said that all the international agreements, including the 1943 Cairo Declaration [2], the 1945 Potsdam Declaration [3], and the September 2, 1945 Japanese Surrender on the U.S. Battleship Missouri [4] all stated clearly that Taiwan should be returned by Japan to China. Therefore, there should be no issue on Taiwan. If there is any, it is fabricated.

Role of Chinese Americans in this Conflict:

As all the panelists mentioned that the current atmosphere in the U.S. creates great difficulties for Chinese Americans. We are looked upon and treated as enemies. We are on the receiving end of hate crimes. We are being discriminated against, not only by the people, but also by our government. Having been brought up in the atmosphere of demonized China, difference of opinion often surfaced among ourselves, e.g., between 2nd/3rd generation Chinese Americans and 1st generation Chinese Americans.

As Chinese Americans, we all love the U.S. and China, and we want the best for both countries. How to identify and address such conflicts is an important issue for all of us and an organization like ISSCO to address.

At the panel discussion, Don Tow mentioned that a modification of the Peace and Reconciliation Asia Study Tour similar to what organizations like the “Alliance for Learning and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia” (ALPHA) to study and discuss modern Chinese and world history, but instead of orientating toward U.S. high school teachers, our audience should be Chinese Americans.

However, after giving it more thought, the impact of such an approach would be far too small to make a difference. Therefore, we need to write books on this subject. The more books and articles on this subject, the better it will be, because the issue is important and complex. It is important to hear the wisdom from different perspectives and backgrounds.

** I also gave a talk at this conference. That talk “Perspective on U.S.-China Relationship – War or Peace” was prepared before the conference and that talk can be found in the September 2022 release of this website:

[1] Such cases were clearly discussed at the conference with the participation of people like Sherry Chen, Gang Chen, and Xiaoxing Xi.


[3] The 1943 Cairo Declaration:

[4] The 1945 Potsdam Declaration:

[5] The September 2,1945 Japanese Instrument of Surrender on the U.S. Battleship Missouri:

Brief Bios of Panelists and Moderator

Gordon H. Chang: Gordon H. Chang is a professor of History at Stanford University, the Olive H. Palmer Professor of Humanities, and a former director of the Center for East Asian Studies. He was also the founding director of the Asian American Studies Program at Stanford. In 2019, he published Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic History of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad and The Chinese and the Iron Road: Building the Transcontinental Railroad. His other books include Friends and Enemies: The United States, China, and the Soviet Union, 1948-1972 and Fateful Ties: A History of America’s Preoccupation with China, which studies the long arc of U.S.-China relations from American colonial days to the present. Among his other publications is Chinese American Voices, which he co-edited with Judy Yung and Him Mark Lai. 
George Koo: George Koo retired from a global advisory services firm where he advised clients on their China strategies and business operations. Educated at MIT, Stevens Institute and Santa Clara University, he is the founder and former managing director of International Strategic Alliances. He is currently a board member of Freschfield’s, a novel green building platform. Dr. Koo is one of the leading Chinese-American writers and organizers in regard to U.S.-China policy and on the conditions of Chinese-Americans in the United States, especially the persecution over these last years of Chinese-Americans and Chinese in the U.S.
K. J. Noh: K.J. Noh is a journalist, political analyst, writer and teacher specializing in the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region. He writes for Dissident Voice, Black Agenda Report, Counterpunch, Popular Resistance, Asia Times, MR Online. He also does frequent commentary and analysis on the news programs The Critical Hour, By Any Means Necessary, Fault Lines, Political Misfits, Loud & Clear, Breakthrough News, Flashpoints. K.J. Noh has reported extensively on great power  competition, geostrategic messaging, and the media ecology and its effects on communities. He has also collaborated with various scholars on the geopolitics of global health, Indigenous health rights policy, structural violence, and medical care delivery under neoliberal capitalism. He recently pioneered a study with Dr. Claudia Chaufan on the military transmission of infectious diseases and its implications for Covid transmission. He believes a functioning and healthy society requires good information; to that end, he strives to combat the weaponization of disinformation in the current cold war climate.
Julie Tang: The Hon. Julie M. Tang is a retired judge of the San Francisco Superior Court. Before her judgeship, Judge Tang worked as an Assistant District Attorney in San Francisco and served three terms as President of the SF Community Board. Upon retirement, Judge Tang co-founded the “Comfort Women” Justice Coalition and “Pivot to Peace.” Through these organizations, she actively promotes awareness of the issues of sexual violence against women and the importance of peace between the US and China. Judge Tang was named “Outstanding Chinese American” by the SF Board of Supervisors; she was inducted into Hastings’ College of the Law’s LEOP program’s Hall of Fame and received the “Joe Morizumi Award for Exceptional Legal Advocacy” from the Asian American Bar Association.
Don M. Tow: Don M. Tow is the President of the New Jersey Alliance for Learning and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia (NJ-ALPHA).  He is the Co-Founder of “10,000 Cries for Justice” and the “Coalition Peace Initiative.” Don has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley, and performed Physics research at the Institute for Advanced Study, Brown University, University of Paris VI and XI, and University of Texas in Austin.  He also taught undergraduate and graduate Physics courses at UT Austin, before changing fields from academia to industry working at Bell Laboratories, Bellcore, Motorola (in Beijing), Telcordia, and Raritan Computer. He is the author of the book Mental Aspects of Youth Soccer: A Primer for Players, Parents, and Coaches. He also posts regularly in his website

]]> 2