The Contemporary Development of the Chinese Societies (3)

However, Hong Kong and Taiwan are at the same time bearing stronger political and economic influence from the Mainland, despite the room for social activism existed. During the late 1980s, the development of Taiwan politics was controlled by the KMT. In 1996, the first democratic election for President was held, marking the end of the party-state (黨國) period of the political development history on the Island. This event is commonly seen as a milestone of the democratization of Taiwan. Before this election, Democratic Progressive Party, DPP (民主進步黨) had been established and developing gradually because the ban on forming political parties was suspended by the KMT in 1987. Eventually, in 2000 the DPP’s candidate Chen Shuei-Bian (Chen Shuibian陳水扁) won the presidential election. This was the first time the DPP became the governing party in Taiwan. Through the totally eight-year presidency of Chen, various “desinicization (去中國化)” policies were made. For instance, “our nation” (我國), a term being used to indicate the complete territories (including the Mainland) of the Republic of China, was amended as “China” (中國) in high school textbooks; the name of state enterprises was all changed from the “Chinese” to the “Taiwanese”. At the time, the political ideology of Taiwan independence was in its heyday and the local or native consciousness of Taiwanese was further strengthened on the Island. However, a historical turning point in the progression of Taiwan politics was emerged: in 2008, Ma Ying-jeou (Ma Yingjiu馬英九), the KMT’s presidential candidate, defeated the DPP’s Hsieh Chang-ting (Xie Changting謝長廷) to become the President. After taking his post, Ma immediately announced the state policy of “no unification, no independence, and no use of military force”, stopping the further development of the Taiwanese consciousness. Then, Ma’s government started to implement a series of Cross-Strait cooperative policies, such as signing the “Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA)”[1] with China, allowing the students from the Mainland to study in Taiwan’s universities, reducing the waiting time for the naturalization of Chinese spouses as citizen, giving the naturalized the right to work, allowing Chinese people to organized travel by oneself as the “free-tour (自由行)” in Taiwan and suggesting to sign the “Cross-Strait Peace Agreement”[2] with the Beijing government. The implement of these policies strongly implied the KMT government wanted to rely on China for economic growth through establishing an amicable relationship with China, showing that the crucial role of the Mainland in directing the future change of Taiwanese society is more concrete.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

[1] For the details of “Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement”, please refer to the following hyperlink. Retrieved November 1, 2011, from the official website of Ministry of Economic Affairs, the R.O.C.:

http://www.moea.gov.tw/Mns/populace/news/wHandNews_File.ashx?news_id=19723&serial_no=6

[2] “Mr. Ma Ying-jeou gave the suggestion of signing the Cross-Strait Peace Agreement with China before the presidential election in 2008 as a main political promise to end the historical confrontation between Taiwan and China. Mr. Ma argued that the premise of signing the agreement is depended on both China and Taiwan practicing ‘no unification, no independence, and no use of military force’ while China must remove the missile deployments targeting on the island because Taiwan is unwilling to negotiate with China under the military threat.” See: Wang, Kun-Yii (Wang Kunyi王崑義) (2009). Cross-Strait Peace Agreement: Theory, Challenges and Discussions (兩岸和平協議:理論、問題與思考). Review of Global Politics, 26, p. 69.

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The Contemporary Development of the Chinese Societies

According to the discussion in Section Two, independent media is a kind of social movement practice with the use of technology, such as the Internet, that is originated from Western society. As mentioned, the main purpose of practicing independent media movement is to break down the current tendency of media monopoly supported by political and economic powers and to encourage more people to “speak out”, having their say on socio-political issues against the mainstream media’s in the public. In the West, there were many academicians and theorists who had focused on criticizing the dominance of the so-called “mass media” in the capitalist world. For example, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse were all the well-known critical theorists of the Frankfurt School[1] in the early-mid twentieth century, arguing the extreme development of so-called culture industry had caused the homogenization of human thinking conforming to the capitalist logic. Some activists and campaigners are inspired by the Leftist’s theory and try to do more to reverse the ongoing problematic situation nowadays. Here, internet independent media can be seen as a derivative of the Leftist’s, as a convenient, low-cost and practical form of social movement practice focusing on the media monopoly issue in the contemporary.

Since the Westernization, Chinese societies have been sharing the same problematic made by the capitalist mass culture. Therefore, in Hong Kong and Taiwan a group of social activists and intellectuals have started to carry out their own social movements by using the Internet since the late 1990s. It is noteworthy there are social, political and historical factors contributed to the form of this humanistic phenomenon of social movement practice.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

[1] “The Frankfurt School’s criticism of the mass communication media was that they hamper the road to such a Utopian society and that the media stand in the way of change. By selectively presenting reality, including aspects of culture, education and entertainment (in which bourgeois values enjoy priority) the media confirm and support dominant capitalist ideologies and thus maintain the status quo at the cost of the working class, which is represented by the masses. …critical theorists are concerned about the media’s ideological manipulation of the mass and the utilization and exploitation of the media by capitalist considerations…” See: Fourie, Pieter J (2001). Media Studies: Institutions, Theories and Issues. South Africa: Juta Education. pp. 243-244.

What is Independent Media (3)

A person may structure his/her opinion when having read and digested a news report interesting. This individual opinion represents a personal stance with unique understanding and feeling on the content of the report. The case of “Small Wolf” is a good example: after reading the U-Beat Magazine’s, he did not agree with the content and thought that there must be some wrongs in it. For this, he actively did an independent interview with Ng, discovering the U-Beat’s garbled Ng’s words. After that, “Small Wolf” wanted to share his new discovery through the internet independent media “Inmediahk.net”. By using the media website as an interactive platform to practice a direct communication excluding any possible interference from the Establishment, he became a “citizen reporter”, receiving a lot of positive feedback from other “netizens” (or “cybercitizens”). Here, the practice of the citizen reporting with the independent media facilitates a breaking down of the hedge of so-called journalistic professionalism because the non-dominant media that empowers people to express their concern with the uncertain social reality is well performed in the public. Through the information metabolism, the alternative grassroots voices would be further heard and strengthened that would be a social power to direct the public opinion, to reform the general media’s reporting culture nowadays.

In addition, the practice of citizen reporting through independent media embodies a spirit of respect for the freedom of speech, encouraging people to comment on socio-political issues openly as a manifestation of knowledge democracy against the mass media’s knowledge homogenization. For this issue, Ip discovers “Wikipedia.org” on public deliberation on knowledge is also a good example parallel with the spirit mentioned above:

“I am impressed by the operating principle of ‘Wikipedia.org’ on public deliberation on knowledge. The knowledge content shown on the ‘Wikipedia.org’ website can be continuously enriched and refined by people’s enthusiastic exchange of ideas and public debates. The ‘good-manner users’ of the internet encyclopedia also accept that it is important to carefully deliberate the knowledge clauses posted on the media platform and to respect cultural diversity and the minorities’ voices for knowledge clauses building…. The practice of the deliberation is the basis of so-called deliberative democracy. Therefore, there is a possibility, and also a challenge, of running an independent media to embody the democratic in a new era.”[1]

To sum up, it is critically important to ensure that all people have the same opportunity to express their ideas and opinions in the public because this conforms to the embodiment of a democratic value – everyone should be equal, having the rights to communicate their thinking and experiences on the “ideal society” with others. Therefore, against the background of the monopolization of media space to operate an internet-based independent media can be seen as a practical approach to the social movement practice as new media activism, opening up a significant room for more people to reflect on the nature of the contemporary and to trumpet their social concerns. All information posted on the independent media contributed by the enthusiasts on the net is valuable, evidencing the substantial practice of direct communication between different peoples around the world and the further deepening of human freedom in globalization.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

[1] Ibid., p. 41.

The Contemporary World and Anti-Globalization Movement (4)

It cannot be denied that anti-globalization movement is a part of globalization, despite the movement itself opposes the negative effects of globalization. One of the characteristics of the practice of the movement is that it has been carried out by common people at a global level. Recently, there was a social activism practice developing across the U.S. called “Occupy Wall Street Movement”[1], which had a radical stance on globalization parallel with that of the anti-globalization. For example, the “Occupiers” criticize the wealthy capitalists and moneymakers working with the financial corporations on Wall Street, New York, arguing that these “greedy guys” seize too much economic resources through capitalist market economy that people’s living is impacted negatively: financial factitious transaction and capital investment in stock and real estate markets are rapaciously consuming the productive energy of people, ruining the strength of domestic and global economies. Moreover, they condemn the U.S. government not doing enough to curb the capitalist players’ operation, more strict laws and regulations needed. To promote their opinion, the “Occupiers” build up an official website of the movement on the Internet to deliver real-time news related to their actions, to explain their claims and ideas and to facilitate various grassroots’ communication. Now, the “Occupy Wall Street Movement” has been developing worldwide. Metropolises around the world have become the main targets being “occupied” by lots of activists and social movement supporters. They are all inspired by the spirit of the social movement through the Internet, organizing their own “Occupy Actions” locally[2]. Like anti-globalization movement, this global social activism not only shows a majority’s urge to eliminate the serious politico-economic problems of the globalized today, but also reflects the twofold character of globalization: a pushing force for/against the further development of human contemporary civilization.

Before the “Occupy Wall Street Movement”, there were tons of social and political movements carried out by many activists, radicals and intellectuals around the globe. The 1999 Anti-WTO Movement in Seattle, the U.S. was a representative one, being seen as the beginning of the rise of anti-globalization movement. This global subversive campaign directly fostered the foundation of an independent media organization called “Independent Media Center (IMC or Indymedia)”[3]. The IMC is a non-profit and non-governmental media responsible for delivering instant news and information related to the anti-WTO campaign on the Internet. Nowadays, the IMC still has many branch media located in metropolitan cities around the globe, playing a significant role in promoting voices from grassroots people and in reporting the social movements ongoing in every corner of the world.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

[1] According to the movement’s website (http://occupywallst.org/): “Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to fight back against the richest 1% of people that are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.” Retrieved November 1, 2011, from “Occupy Wall Street” website: http://occupywallst.org/about/

[2] According to the “Occupytogether” website, there are around one thousand five hundred cities in the world in which the “occupy actions are burning”. Please refer to the link in the following. Retrieved November 1, 2011, from the “Occupytogether” website: http://www.occupytogether.org/actions/

[3] According to the “IMC”: “The Independent Media Center (www.indymedia.org) was established by various independent and alternative media organizations and activists in 1999 for the purpose of providing grassroots coverage of the World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in Seattle. The center acted as a clearinghouse of information for journalists, and provided up-to-the-minute reports, photos, audio and video footage through its website. Using the collected footage, the Seattle Independent Media Center (seattle.indymedia.org) produced a series of five documentaries, uplinked every day to satellite and distributed throughout the United States to public access stations. The center also produced its own newspaper, distributed throughout Seattle and to other cities via the internet, as well as hundreds of audio segments, transmitted through the web and Studio X, a 24-hour micro and internet radio station based in Seattle. The site, which uses a democratic open-publishing system, logged more than 2 million hits, and was featured on America Online, Yahoo, CNN, BBC Online, and numerous other sites. Through a decentralized and autonomous network, hundreds of media activists setup independent media centers in London, Canada, Mexico City, Prague, Belgium, France, and Italy over the next year. IMCs have since been established on every continent, with more to come.” Retrieved November 1, 2011, from the “Independent Media Center” website: http://www.indymedia.org/en/static/about.shtml

The Contemporary World and Anti-Globalization Movement (3)

To establish a global village or a world society for all people around the world is an ideological promotion of globalization, in which the dialogue and communication between different nations, traditions and cultures is supposed to be realized. For this, the rapid development of internet technology is presented that has shortened the distance between people, facilitating the coming of the “common good” of globalization: we are able to keep contact with friends and relatives by using electronic mails, instant messaging services and various social media platforms, to enrich “the special space belongs to us with our own hands”. Moreover, huge amount of information floating in the digital world would help create a new possibility of human knowledge development. From this point, it is quite acceptable to say a positive aspect of globalization is “realized”. However, this kind of “positive” contributed by globalization could also be negative in a real sense. For example, it can obstruct a humanistic reflection on the counteractive influence of internet information on people’s intellect, violating their original belief, value and lifestyle, causing the actual impossibility of bringing out a new civilization enlightenment in the entire world in the future. In fact, people’s living in the globalized becomes more homogenous, alienated and extreme, despite the virtual freedom has been made. Equally speaking, it is hard to praise that globalization is sincerely working on its promise for “realizing the well-being” of common people.

For this globalization issue, there is no reason to simply accept all negative effects of globalization, including various economic crises and political conflicts as well as human alienation, on the contemporary. Therefore, anti-globalization movement[1] has been carried out in different continents of the world, representing a significant voice from grassroots and commons against the deformed governance of global powers turning a blind eye to the violation of human right, the deterioration of environmental pollution and the decrease of the standard of living of world citizens.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

[1] “Critics of globalization claim that the global market has become too dominant as well as some players being more dominating than others in the global market, namely the multinational enterprises (Sklair, 2004). Thus, coordination efforts should be channeled into creating a new world economic order where more attention is paid to protecting the global environment and regulating financial flows (the Tobin tax initiative). The anti-globalization movement has expressed deep concern with the inequalities in the global market economy, calling for instance for debt relief for the poorest countries of the globe (Cavanagh and Mander, 2002; Held and McGrew, 2002; Held, 2004; Rosenberg, 2002; Meiksins Wood, 2005; Gill, 2002). The anti-globalization movement focuses upon the major meetings among governments coordinating their responses to globalization. It could be the reunions of the WTO, the G7/G8 or G20 countries, the EU or the IMF. Perhaps the most spectacular success with making the world conscious of globalization was the Seattle meeting of the WTO in 2000, where the anti-globalization movement managed to put forward its criticism of globalization and the lack of governance of globalization (Woodin and Lucas, 2004; Keane, 2003).” See: Lane, Jan-Erik (2006). Globalization And Politics: Promises And Dangers. England: Ashgate Publishing. p. 10.

耶穌言行的無政府性 (3)

耶穌對世人的愛源自上帝的愛,其超脫所謂男女之間的愛情或共同血緣之間的親情。基督信徒如此相信,世人亦應相信,上帝全知全能,知曉眾生困阨,這是一個「真理」。所以「神愛世人」。據傳統猶太教的典籍記載,上帝的愛似乎獨厚猶太族人。不過,基督宗教中耶穌以愛宣揚神的啟示,其關涉世上所有人類,因為上帝愛人係無私的,祂不分族類、不分長幼,不管社會地位的高低或身體的強壯懦弱。作為上帝的使者,耶穌擁有悲天憫人的神格。所以,耶穌在其人生及宗教實踐─例如對基督教義的宣揚上對人「一視同仁」。人人都是平等的,只要全心信仰上帝。比起權貴,耶穌更加親近平民及病弱者。這就是神的大愛的本質:福音並不專屬於一小撮教徒。這種解放的宗教實踐確確實實存在於耶穌的言論和行為中。

耶穌以愛作為一個真確的信念,作為一種超脫世俗藩籬的體現。此信念是以創造的意志和實踐表示出來。這並非意味「上帝」是由耶穌所創造。恰好相反,耶穌富有神人二格。上帝創造萬物的意志和實然係被耶穌的「神力」施展所兌證。耶穌的人生意義是以宣佈神對待每一個人都是平等而得以成全。耶穌沒有創造「上帝」,但其言行確實創造了一種人類關係的越界態勢。這種人與人之間的休戚相關不但超越男女情愛的框架,打破了親屬血緣關係的格局,更瓦解所謂國家民族意識型態對人的精神束縛。最後,全人類因不同地緣和語言所造成的疏離與隔閡被上帝的愛所消弭,使人類不分國族界限的理想:建立一個「神的國度」得以現實。創造作為無政府性之一,其實可從耶穌一生的宗教實踐中獲得兌證。

(摘自: 無政府與全球化. 台北: 國立政治大學. 2003)

耶穌言行的無政府性 (2)

上帝憐憫、體恤萬民苦難,祂要世人知道苦難的原由:世界上每一個人都帶著永遠無法洗脫的原罪。我們無法追究這種罪的成因。人人生來就有罪,這根源於上帝創世之時,亞當與夏娃(Adam and Eve)因偷嚐「禁果」所犯下的。現世人類對這段「真理」陳述無法知道更多,亦無法挽回這個因欲望驅使所犯下的罪業。所以耶穌說:天國近了。在世界末日之時,上帝將審判所有人。凡未抱悔改之心的「罪人」,必下地獄。只有全心信仰基督、相信人子來世的目的是為了洗脫人們的罪,天堂之門是打開的,所有人將獲得永恆的生命。

在基督教教義裡,我們認識到「罪」這個概念的普全性質。沒有人從未犯過錯,所以人身上都帶有不同程度的罪。這並不是法律上的犯罪,而是一種道德的罪、由基督宗教所定義的罪。以規範一個概念的普全特性來進一步發展思想理論或教義的規模,其思考邏輯與斯多噶的基諾講人擁有「理性」相似。如上節所述,基諾認為人是理性的,所以人與人之間的關係是平等、休戚相關、是「自然」的。在此,基督教認為凡人必有罪,所以這個罪係必須被贖:耶穌代替我們贖了這個罪而犧牲生命,這個事體我們必須相信。不然,地獄就是死後唯一存身之場所。

下一個問題是,耶穌─上帝之子、「人子」、「彌賽亞」究竟依據什麼思想、理念、精神基礎去頂替人類面對死亡、為人贖罪?據《新約聖經》記載耶穌一生的言行來推斷,祂是基於「愛」─一種打破不同種族、長幼、社會階級等藩籬的大愛為人去贖這個根本之罪。

(摘自: 無政府與全球化. 台北: 國立政治大學. 2003)

No Relationship with the Cultural Difference between the East and the West (10)

In conclusion, through the above analysis we recognize that there are three essential characteristics shared by the media movement practices of “Inmediahk.net” and “Coolloud.org” in Hong Kong and Taiwan. This recognition provides us with an opportunity to open up a new approach to reconstructing our knowledge of the socio-political structure of the modern “China”. The first discovered characteristic of the practices proves that the two media activisms do not “fall behind” in the present trend of social movement development on the scene of globalization: the media’s social actions are closely integrated with people’s living not only in the local but also in the global. The other two characteristics: “no label” and “having no relationship with cultural difference between the East and the West” are both fresh discoveries that allow us to understand the present “China” in a new sense. In fact, the future development of the “China” heavily depends on how Chinese people appropriately position their complex identity and traditional intellectual heritage in order to (re)construct a collective or cohesive historical consciousness belonging to the whole Chinese society. This thinking for linking up the “new” with the “old”: an attempt to reveal the profound relationship between the present “China” and some of the Chinese traditional thoughts is significant that would help us mend the “civilization crack” made by the Wars, clarify the social position of the ancient heritage in the modern and rethink the civilization problems endured by the Chinese nowadays. Relative contents will be completely presented in the next chapter of Conclusion.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

No Relationship with the Cultural Difference between the East and the West (9)

“The Internet cannot supersede the social position of independent media. However, it has a role in facilitating social movement practice and furthering the positive development of local media circumstance. The case of ‘Inmediahk.net’ is an example reflecting the embodiment of internet media activism. Nowadays, independent media and the Internet are not the new things (for social movement practice). In fact, independent media is not the ‘leader’, but an organic part of social movement practice which helps create some significant moments for realizing a social activistic spirit, producing various kinds of political relationship between people that generate a practical approach to social development. This is generally ignored by the public, waiting for us to discover. [1]

According to Ip’s thinking, the major aim of running an internet independent media is to “catalyze” a possible change of the socio-political reality encountered by global/local citizens, providing an alternative media approach for people to understand more about the “real” in order to terminate the monopolization of media space in the social dimension, deconstructing the ideological restriction on the development of human’s intellectual in modernity. The practice of the media movement helps construct a kind of substantive public opinion on the Internet for sustaining a social concern environment through encouraging people’s spontaneous journalistic actions, such as reporting social issues or political debates. The point is everyone can promote their unique ideas and point of views publicly. Ideally, the social intrusive influence of mass media supported by world governments and global capitalists would be “neutralized” by independent media’s activism.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

[1] See: Ip, Iam-Chong (2007). Small Media, Big Issue. Hong Kong: Step forward. p. 96.

No Relationship with the Cultural Difference between the East and the West (8)

Therefore, we can see the independent media in the Chinese develop their own strategies to tackle the challenges coming from the political powers that are influenced by the long history of feudalism and the civilization of the centralization of power of Chinese politics. Although “Inmediahk.net” and “Coolloud.org” are working under a relatively close social circumstance, they are still doing their independent media works by trying to extend their social influence based on the distinctive historical legacy in the East. The ingredients of the visible and invisible pressure, including the Communist China’s one-party dictatorship as the scar on the people’s spirit, and even the burden of the intellectual traditions like Confucianism and others, directly cause the Chinese to be more conservative that they are so reluctant to face any radical change of the status quo of the “China”. Against this background, capitalism, renamed as the “socialism with Chinese characteristics” in the Mainland from the West, has become the only approach for Chinese people to settling their social value allowed by the ruling since the 1980s. As we can see, the social atmosphere of not only the parts but the whole Chinese society is impacted by the ideologies of materialism and commercialism that is unfavorable to social movement practice. Notwithstanding, the media activisms in Hong Kong and Taiwan both show the Chinese are not the “outsiders” of the development of globalization. The “China”, like other “developed societies” in the world, is also the land nurturing the evolvement of the internet social movement with a solidarity spirit against political power as part of anti-globalization movement contributed by people’s goodwill for well-being.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)