Debate Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi


December 25, 2017

Debate Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi

by S.Thayaparan @www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT | “Iksim propounds the view that Islam does not come under the jurisdiction of any political power. According to it, religious enforcement authorities come under the patronage of the Sultans, not state governments. This is a remarkable vision of an autonomous, almost all-powerful, religious elite that is like a state within a state.” – Shad Saleem Faruqi

I have often referenced Pprofessor Shad Saleem Faruqi’s articles in my articles, sometimes agreeing; sometimes disagreeing with what he writes.

If someone were to tell me that Shad’s intention in anything he ever wrote was to insult or breach the peace, I would burst out in hysterical laughter. This academic (unlike this writer) has never written a polemic, as far as I can tell. In addition, I have probably read everything this man has written.

If you have not read the article, that has got Iksim all in a rage, I suggest that you read it and determine if anything in that article warrants the state security apparatus “probing” this academic under section 504 of the Penal code.

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Instead of engaging intellectually with Shad, Iksim resorted to the Islamists playbook and issued a public statement claiming that Faruqi and the G25 (Noor Farida Ariffin specifically) were attempting to cause racial disharmony and subverting the Islamic agenda as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. You can read the full statement here but the relevant passage is this:

“Tohmahan-tohmahan liar berkenaan termasuk oleh Prof Emeritus Shad Saleem Faruqi dan Datuk Noor Faridah Ariffin dari puak G25 dilihat sebagai satu cubaan untuk mencetuskan perasaan permusuhan antara kaum dan agama di negara ini. Kedua-dua mereka jelas menentang pemikiranpemikiran ke arah mendaulatkan Islam sebagai agama Negara sekalipun ia jelas termaktub dalam Perkara 3(1) dan sumpah Yang di-Pertuan Agong di bawah perkara 37(1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan.” 

In the quote that begins this piece, the good professor, questions Iksim’s perspective that Islam does not come under the purview of any political power likening such a perspective to a “state within a state.”

If you read the press statement and consider Iksim’s rationale for going after Shad and the G25, you would come to the realisation that their “unique” interpretation of the Malaysian constitution and of Islam in general, is exactly the “state within a state” idea that Shad alludes to in the quote I referenced.

Have you noticed that Islamists always claim that the people they target are attempting to cause tension amongst the various ethnic groups here in Malaysia? Is there any evidence of this? Are non-Muslims threatened or provoked by what people targeted by groups like Iksim say and do? I would argue that the only people threatened or provoked are the Islamist and the reason why they are threatened is that their views or beliefs are challenged.

Furthermore, Iksim has not rebutted the points raised in Shad’s article. They have not claimed that what he wrote was false or fallacious. They have not denied the agenda he attributes to them. What they have done, is use the state to sanction the professor and intimidate any others who subscribe to his views.

Indeed by their own admission (as quoted by Shad referencing their March 28 booklet), – “secularism, liberalism and cultural diversity are elements that will undermine the Islamic agenda and destroy the country’s sovereignty”.

In other words, according to Iksim, everything that non-Muslims value and probably a majority of Muslims are detrimental to the Islamic agenda in this country. Therefore, when Umno potentates talk of cultural diversity and protecting the faiths of non-Muslims, this is detrimental to the Islamic agenda of this country.

When UMNO potentates talk about the rich cultural diversity and the need to respect different cultures as envisioned by the founders of this country and which is great for tourism, this is detrimental to the Islamic agenda of the country.

When “liberalism” redefined as “moderation” – Islamic or otherwise – is bandied about as the foundation for economic, social and religious success by the establishment, this undermines the Islamic agenda in this country.

And you know what, they are correct. If you believe in the kind of Islam they believe in and the kind of Islam that the House of Saud, is slowly and painfully attempting to reject, all these concepts are detrimental to turning this country into an Islamic state.

An Islamic state where the primacy of syariah law and the submission of Muslims and non-Muslims to a theocratic hegemon is the natural order of things which is the desired state – and state of being – of Islamists like Iksim.

‘Islamists not interested in debate’

A couple of months ago, the crypto-fascists got their knickers in a twist when I wrote that, liberalism is only a threat to the kind of Islam tyrants preach – “Those people who fear ‘liberalism’ however they define it, in reality, fear the loss of power when empowered societies choose alternatives. So yes, liberalism is a threat to the kind of Islam they preach. Mind you they may actually win in a ‘fair’ democratic contest because that is one of the perils of democracy. Beyond institutional safeguards, democracy is a risky endeavour, but I would take it to anything these Islamists have to offer.”

While Shad Faruqi has invited them to debate and challenge his views, the reality is that Islamists are not interested in debate or discussion. Their only interest is submission. This is why they have no need for freedom of speech and expression.

There is enough empirical evidence to demonstrate that such concepts are anathema to the kind of Islam they wish to promulgate.

In many of my articles where I discuss the numerous provocations of the state-sanctioned Islam in the private and public lives of non-Muslims in Malaysia, I have always made it clear that the people feeling the brunt of a state-sanctioned religion is the majority, Malay Muslim population.

I have also made it clear, that Malay Muslim public intellectuals, academics and writers, are at the mercy of the state conspiring with various Islamists groups – sub rosa and overt – who sanction behaviour that they and they alone determine to be a threat to the state sanctioned religion.

Ultimately, Siti Kassim (will someone elect her already) has the right of it, when in her Facebook page, she wrote: “We must stand with Professor Shad Faruqi. We should never allow these extremists group taking over our country. Never. Never. Never.”


S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur and Phnom Penh for Xmas and 2018


December 23, 2017

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur and Phnom Penh for Xmas and 2018

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Dr. Kamsiah Haider in Kuala Lumpur and Din Merican in Phnom Penh wish all our friends and associates around the world a Merry Christmas 2017 and prosperous New Year, 2018. We are indeed grateful for your warm friendship and support we enjoyed during 2017. We forward to working with you in the coming year and together we can make our world a better place.
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We have little time for politicians and ideologues as they are a crop of egoistic, misogynistic  and greedy people. All we have to do is to look at Syria, Yemen, Myanmar, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan and other places to see for ourselves their handiwork. People are their victims, especially women, children and the elderly. They have lost the moral high ground and we must put our differences aside and work hard for peace.
On the occasion of Christmas and the New Year 2018, may we ask Michael Jackson to sing for us his famous song, Make The World a Better Place. –Dr. Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican.

Ops Lalang–Dr. Mahathir and Anwar are the Villians, says MCA Publicity Man


October 30, 2017

Ops Lalang–Dr. Mahathir and Anwar are the Villians, says MCA Publicity Man

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by Ti Lian Ker@www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT | We are now commemorating the 30th anniversary of the biggest crackdown on innocent activists, politicians from both sides of the divide (including MCA leaders ), intellectuals, academics and activists, including the revocation of the publishing licences of two dailies – the MCA-owned The Star and Sin Chew Jit Poh.

The dragnet was the landmark of then Prime inister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s draconian iron-fisted Machiavellian style of maintaining power for 22 years.

Mahathir had been an authoritarian and condemned for bringing “dooms and time bombs” to Malaysia by his political enemy – but now ally – DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.

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Ops Lalang was said to be caused by the growing racial tensions by Mahathir’s government that were said to be too “tolerant” and “liberal”. However, the real and immediate cause was the appointment of about 100 non-Mandarin speaking senior assistants to vernacular Chinese schools, which caused anxiety and fear among Chinese educationists and politicians.

On October 11, 1987, the United Chinese Schools Committee Association, also known as Dong Jiao Zong, together with Chinese politicians had gathered more than 2,000 people to protest against this decision that was seen as a direct attack on the character of Chinese vernacular schools.

Coincidentally, the Education Minister then was Anwar Ibrahim. At the time, Anwar was a rising political star and Mahathir’s protege in UMNO. Anwar repeatedly warned of retaliation and that the Education Ministry’s decision would not be changed or compromised despite pressure from component parties, including MCA.

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A week later, on October 17, 1987, UMNO Youth responded to the Thean Hou Kong 2,000 gathering with a bigger rally of 10,000, where UMNO politicians displayed their ire at MCA politicians for participating in the protest.

This was followed with a promise of a half a million UMNO members gathering on November 1, 1987, by the then UMNO Secretary-General Sanusi Junid, who is a Mahathir loyalist. This was calculated and meant to increase the tempo of racial tension.

However, on or about October 27, 1987, Ops Lalang was carried out, targeting Chinese activists, academicians, politicians, etc, who were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA). They were arrested and detained without trial by the order of the Home Minister, who was also the prime minister.

Looking back, the protagonists or “villains” of the dark period known as Ops Lalang were none other than Mahathir and Anwar.

Was the blatant and forceful decision to appoint a large number of non-Mandarin speaking teachers to helm Chinese vernacular schools intentional? Was this decision made knowing that it would provoke a massive “violent” reaction from Chinese educationists and politicians?

Were the events leading to Ops Lalang orchestrated by both Mahathir and Anwar?

Ironically, we are now asked by the biggest critic of these two “villains” who was also a victim of Ops Lalang, Kit Siang, to vote and support these “villains”.

DAP and Kit Siang might have chosen to forgive and absolve these “villains” but there are others, including MCA politicians, who were innocent victims of this blatant abuse of power. We cannot allow a repeat of such a politically heinous act. Never again!


TI LIAN KER is MCA publicity spokesperson and religious harmony bureau chairperson.

 

MP Nurul Izzah to The Donald–Support Democracy, Justice and Freedom, not Kleptocracy in Malaysia


September 13, 2017

MP Nurul Izzah to The Donald–Support Democracy, Justice and Freedom, not Kleptocracy in Malaysia

by Nurul Izzah Anwar, MP

Nurul Izzah Anwar is a member of the Malaysian Parliament and Vice President of the People’s Justice Party. She is a Graduate of SAIS, John Hopkins University

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/09/11/heres-what-president-trump-should-tell-malaysias-prime-minister/?utm_term=.857897e8f561

Image result for Najib I am not a crookThe Donald is hosting this Malaysian Prime Minister at The White House. A slap in the face of all freedom loving Malaysians–the unintended consequence of his invitation

 

On Tuesday (September 12), President Trump will host Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in the White House. The two men will discuss cooperation on counterterrorism and economic development. But what should be foremost on the agenda is the hatred and fear fueled by Najib’s own party’s support of extremist groups that routinely harass and frighten the country’s significant Christian, Buddhist and Hindu minorities. Any conversation with a purported partner against extremist violence who fails to address these concerns at home is pointless.

As a Malaysian, I am sorry to say that my country faces a desperate situation. For the 60 years since independence, we have been under single-party rule. The corruption scandal surrounding our sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, the largest of its kind ever investigated by the U.S. Justice Department, alleges that Najib’s government routinely pilfers public funds for its own enrichment and the funding of its political survival. Our political leaders are so accustomed to power that they will do anything to keep it. Our elections are routinely corrupted just enough to maintain the ruling status quo. Print and broadcast media are more than 95 percent owned or controlled by the ruling party, and peaceful political protest is routinely a cause for detention under laws meant to fight terrorism.

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I know this from first-hand experience. As an opposition member of Parliament, I was arrested under sedition laws and imprisoned with actual terror suspects simply for daring to raise questions in the legislature about the political imprisonment of my father, detained opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Before he was thrown in jail, my father championed a multi-ethnic and multi-religious opposition movement in Malaysia that garnered 52 percent of the votes in the 2013 parliamentary election — a victory set aside because of gerrymandering. His arbitrary detention has been condemned by the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

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Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Delegation are staying at Trump International Hotel Washington DC 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC, 20004, United States of America. What a coincidence!

 

All the while, a growing cohort of educated young people facing high unemployment is growing deeply mistrustful of their leaders. These energetic young men and women are frustrated by the absence of democratic institutions. That they may feel compelled to seek recourse for this dissatisfaction outside the political system represents a major threat to Malaysia’s future.

Tensions between different ethnic and religious groups have also reached alarming levels. Najib’s ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) party has not just turned a blind eye to extremism — they have actively encouraged it. Religious extremists are permitted to promulgate their views with impunity, and the government has actually incorporated those views and personalities into its own platform. As if this weren’t astonishing enough, in 2014, Najib himself encouraged his own party followers to emulate “brave” Islamic State fighters.

If Najib’s autocracy and extremist actions are not condemned and resisted, all of us are at risk.

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Yet despite our challenges, I love my country and I know that we have incredible potential. In fact, that is what makes this issue so important. Unlike many autocratic Muslim-majority countries, Malaysia can be a true functioning pluralistic democracy with real economic strength and growth potential. Our coalition of opposition parties follows the leadership of our imprisoned leader, Anwar Ibrahim, in asserting that the only acceptable way forward for Malaysia is as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, democratic and freedom-supporting state.

But to achieve this, the Malaysian people need the help of true friends and partners around the world. Najib must hear from every nation that his actions are a threat to international security and undermine genuine efforts at countering violent extremism.

President Trump has the opportunity to deliver this message. As a former golfing buddy of the prime minister, he has an established rapport with Najib. And Trump set a precedent in his recent recalibration of aid to Egypt, where he laudably recently recognized the opportunity to stress civil society reforms by cutting some U.S. aid to Egypt. The same frankness should be applied when assessing Najib as a potential recipient of anti-terror funding from the United States.

To advance his foreign policy goals and the mission of international security cooperation, Trump must hold Najib to account. Trump must make clear that Washington will no longer be silent when U.S.-Malaysia cooperation on countering violent extremism is undermined by the Malaysian government itself. To start, Najib should immediately cease persecution of journalists and opposition leaders, and release all political prisoners, including my father. Trump must also make clear that the United States does not tolerate partners who harbor and protect terrorists, much less partners who actively encourage such behavior.

Without reforms, the Malaysian government is not a reliable partner on counterterrorism, international security or economic development. A clear message, followed by strong action, is the only way to transform Malaysia from a liability to a credible ally.

 

Demise of Liu Xiaobo: a case of lose-lose for China


July 21, 2017

Demise of Liu Xiaobo: a case of lose-lose for China

by Kerry Brown

http://asaa.asn.au/demise-liu-xiaobo-case-lose-lose-china/

China’s treatment of its Nobel Peace Prize laureate, writer, literary critic, and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, raises difficult and penetrating questions, writes Kerry Brown

The loss of Liu Xiaobo is a tragedy. For him, a personal tragedy but there are far wider ramifications.

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The final decade of his life was spent in jail. The books he could have written, the contribution he could have made to Chinese and global society, the influence he could have had as a highly regarded public intellectual.

The silencing of Liu has robbed Chinese society of an important, forensically sharp, and creative voice at a time of huge internal change when it needed diversity of opinion.

The outside world has been robbed of the perspective of a truly authentic, engaged, highly erudite and insightful scholar. The body of work that Liu published in Chinese and English before his incarceration provided immensely useful insight for understanding the complexities of China’s current position. More of this would have been very helpful. But it was not to be.

That he died suffering from terminal cancer is just about the worst possible outcome for the Chinese government. Eight years into his 11-year sentence, the world saw heart-breaking photos of him and his wife, Liu Xia, while he undertook palliative treatment in hospital and received some kind of care.

Stain on China’s reputation

While Xi Jinping, China’s President, attended the G20 in Hamburg, back home a man in a hospital ward in the north-eastern city of Shenyang was making the sort of headlines that the Chinese government would have preferred to avoid during its new era of global influence.

The Chinese state often talks about win-win outcomes. In the case of Liu, it has turned out to be lose-lose. No one comes out of this happily. For Liu, his family and friends, the situation is very obviously a terrible tragedy. For the Chinese government, who of course will be blamed for the entire situation, it is a great stain on its reputation.

We have to remember the crime that Liu was said to have committed. He never physically harmed any one. He never stole. He was never accused of blackmail or bribing or breaking any law recognisable under most standard justice systems.

His crime was subversion of the state. And the evidence for this was articles he wrote on websites, most of which were blocked in China and had no more than a few hundred readers.

When we reflect on the meaning of Liu’s case, we have to wonder why it was that every step of the way over eight years, right to the end, the Chinese government did not compromise, despite paying a huge price in terms of its reputation and image.

Since the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing, the Chinese state has poured huge resources into promoting itself abroad. Under Xi Jinping, it has made a concerted effort to communicate the ways in which its role in the world is now beneficial and positive. At the same time, this one case gave its most implacable enemies endless ammunition.

The horrible irony was that this was the first-ever peace prize to a citizen of China, resident and also in detention

Take, for instance, the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu. The horrible irony was that this was the first-ever such prize to a citizen of China, resident and also in detention. For a government that had been pursuing its dream of getting Nobel recognition for decades, this was a huge slap in the face. But its management of the issue afterwards made a bad situation even worse.

Liu became for Chinese officials a symbol of how they would not bow to Western pressure. In a sense, he became a test case for how emboldened they felt in the face of criticism about their rights record. So, the refusal to allow him to attend the Oslo ceremony, and the empty seat that was used to represent him, was a powerful and emotive symbol. A single image represented just how problematic Chinese government treatment of rights issues had become.

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On top of this, there was the treatment of Liu Xia in the years since. Her incarceration in her own home despite never being accused of a single crime summed up the zero-sum approach of the Chinese security apparatus. Images of her weeping in the street, reports of her deep depression, and sporadic stories about her pitiful condition, provided a parallel, contradictory narrative to the bolder, positive message China was trying to spread under its new leadership.

One of the most worrying aspects of the Liu case is how it points, not to the Chinese government’s strength and confidence, but to its weakness. As uncertainty spreads everywhere, the world is increasingly inclined to want and to believe in a China that is stable, predictable and confident. The fact the Chinese state has been willing, right until today, to expend so much precious political capital, such disproportionate effort on this case, looked like tangible evidence of a mighty party state rattled by the actions of one man.

The answer lies in trenchant comments that appeared in Liu’s essays

Western leaders have to contend every hour of every day with fierce and sometimes savage criticism, without recourse to placing their opponents in jail, yet China made such an effort to deal with a single individual? The question this inevitably provokes is a simple one: why were they so frightened?

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The answer lies in trenchant comments that appeared in Liu’s essays. For him, what broadly typified the Western posture towards politics and culture was a sceptical, questioning attitude. He contrasted this with a much more managed, coerced contemporary Chinese practice.

Questions will linger

Liu’s work repays attention, as does his case. His treatment after his leading role in the demand for more human rights in Charter 08 generates endless, worrying questions about the control of the ruling Communist Party in China, and their mandate.

These are questions they have so far responded to by simply closing down debate, silencing Liu and people like him. One wonders how this approach can be sustained.

From the Oslo 2010 ceremony, from society in China during his imprisonment, and now through his death, it is Liu’s absence that proves so powerful. This is remarkable.

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Liu’s contribution is to leave unanswered questions lingering for years to come. These questions, which can perhaps be evaded but not ultimately avoided, relate to the real inner confidence and conviction of the political system that imprisoned him. His final disappearance will not stop these questions, only make them more penetrating and difficult to answer.

In his life, Liu worried the Chinese state. With his demise, Liu’s questions should worry us all.

 

 

Liu Xiaobo– A Warrior for Human Freedom


July 15, 2017for

Liu Xiaobo– A Warrior for Human Freedom

by Dean Johns@www.malaysiakini.com

“…we owe it to ourselves and our fellows to progressively throw off the chains we are born with, or into, or otherwise shackled with, and seize our freedom to be, and do the best we possibly can”.–Dean Johns

Like so many famous rhetorical flourishes that come to be regarded as self-evident truths, French philosopher, and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ringing declaration that “man is born free, and is everywhere in chains” is, on careful consideration, ridiculous.

Tribute to Madiba and Liu Xiaobo

In fact, the reality is entirely the opposite. We are all born in chains – chains of genetic inheritance, of infantile ignorance and impotence, and of the familial, physical, cultural, political and other environmental circumstances in which we find ourselves – and can either submit to being constrained by such chains or struggle against them to try and set ourselves as free as possible.

And this state of affairs seems to me to be nowhere more evident than in China, or what I prefer to think of as “Chaina”, on the grounds that its people have been enchained throughout history by an endless series of dismal dictatorships.

Mostly imperial dictatorships, of course, but currently one led by a Communist Party as dictatorial as any emperor could possibly be, and so deceptive as to try and pass itself off as the “People’s’ Republic of China” into the bargain.

When the people protest, however, it quickly reverts to the “Party’s Republic of Chaina”, as it did on the occasion of the notorious massacre of protesting students and workers in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and again following the publication of Charter 08 on 10 December 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Liu Xiaobo, a hero of Tiananmen Square who had subsequently sought and found sanctuary in the US before courageously returning to China/“Chaina” to co-author Charter 08, was sentenced in 2009 by the regime to 11 years’ imprisonment for “inciting subversion of state power”.

And today, as I write this, it has been reported that Liu has died under guard in a hospital of cancer after being refused permission to seek treatment overseas for his illness.

Here, courtesy of Wikipedia, in honoured memory of Liu Xiaobo and in support of his fellow activists against the Communist Party overlords of the “Anti-People’s Republic of Chaina”, is the first paragraph of Charter 08, followed by a list of its demands of the regime:

“This year is the 100th year of China’s Constitution, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 30th anniversary of the birth of the Democracy Wall, and the 10th year since China signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“After experiencing a prolonged period of human rights disasters and a tortuous struggle and resistance, the awakening Chinese citizens are increasingly and more clearly recognising that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal common values shared by all humankind and that democracy, a republic, and constitutionalism constitute the basic structural framework of modern governance.

“A “modernisation” bereft of these universal values and this basic political framework is a disastrous process that deprives humans of their rights, corrodes human nature, and destroys human dignity.

“Where will China head in the 21st century? Continue a “modernisation” under this kind of authoritarian rule? Or recognise universal values, assimilate into the mainstream civilisation, and build a democratic political system? This is a major decision that cannot be avoided:

1. Amending the Constitution
2. Separation of powers
3. Legislative democracy
4. An independent judiciary
5. Public control of public servants
6. Guarantee of human rights
7. Election of public officials
8. Abolition of Hukou system
9. Freedom of association
10. Freedom of assembly
11. Freedom of expression
12. Freedom of religion
13. Civic education
14. Free markets and protection of private property, including privatizing state enterprises and land
15. Financial and tax reform
16. Social security
17. Protection of the environment
18. A federated republic
19. Truth in reconciliation

Of course, China is by no means alone in the world in urgently needing many, if not all, of these reforms for the sake of good government and honest governance on behalf of its citizens. Malaysia, for example, enchained as it has been for almost 60 years by its corrupt, illegitimate, and otherwise criminal UMNO-BN regime, has a crying need for items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 19.

And a great many other nations, from Russia, Pakistan, and all the other “-stans”, to a great many more similarly freedom-impaired countries in Asia, Africa and South America could do with many, if not most of them.

My own country, Australia, could perform much better, in my opinion, on points 6, 11, 13 and 15. And of course the United States, as the self-proclaimed world leader in government of the people, by the people, for the people, could well do itself and the rest of the free world a favour by electing a president capable of thinking coherently and telling or at least tweeting the truth.

But to end on a personal level, it is worth making the point that we are, all of us, part of the problem and thus capable of making ourselves part of the solution.

In other words, whether Chinese or whatever other nationality or ethnicity, we happen to be, we are all chainees of various false “faiths”, “beliefs”, “customs”, “prejudices”, and other mental bonds and restrictions that prevent us living up to our full human potential.

And thus we owe it to ourselves and our fellows to progressively throw off the chains we are born with, or into, or otherwise shackled with, and seize our freedom to be, and do the best we possibly can.