Saturday, August 31

China's upcoming Shenzhou 4 test flight will enable China to become the third nation to have an independent human space launch capability. Phillip Saunders, Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, argues that "China's manned space program is like China's desire to host the Olympics - it's all about prestige." Saunders said that, from the Center's perspective, one key area of interest is the impact of the manned space program on China's strategic modernization efforts and on potential military uses of space. Although the manned program attracts more resources to China's overall space effort, Saunders said, it also diverts resources and scarce engineering talent away from areas with direct military applications. (Optimistic guy!)

Thursday, August 29

The Secret of Happiness

Instapundit and Lileks, respectively, bring us the following two guys. One argues that electricity has disrupted and destroyed vibrant African culture and communities (I wonder if he reads by candlelight; he sure has an insufferable smirk) and another says wealth makes us miserable. (I hope for his sake he doesn't get paid for that article!)

But as Epictetus said,
The other day I had an iron lamp placed beside my household gods. I heard a noise at the door and on hastening down found my lamp carried off. I reflected that the culprit was in no very strange case. "To-morrow, my friend," I said, "you will find an earthenware lamp; for a man can only lose what he has."

Another source claims "It is a proof of the estimation in which Epictetus was held, that on his death, his lamp was purchased by an admirer for 3000 drachmas (several thousand dollars by today's standards)." Was that the same lamp?

Anyway, as it says in Matthew 6:19-21 (and me an atheist!):
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

And the Economist recently presented research concluding that money can't really buy happiness. Although income makes a difference, other factors�notably health and love�are supposed to make more.

Indeed, from a book review in the Far Eastern Economic Review (only available to subscribers) about The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices, by Xinran, the former host of a phone-in radio show:
Xinran talked to thousands of women, some on the air and others in person. Almost none of them have found fulfilment. Only the poorest women from central China told Xinran they were happy. These women, "who seemed to have been left behind at the beginning of history," could conceive of no other life than their grinding poverty.

So, um, let's hear it for poverty! In the interests of the happiness of others, I'll take it on my frail shoulders to accept however much you'd like to unload on me. Don't be shy! I'll sacrifice myself!

Wednesday, August 28

Younger black people prefer more moderate leaders, and younger black politicians are looking to appeal to a broader constituency, moving beyond the traditional program of being anti-business, 100 percent pro-labor, only interested in social programs, and not interested in development and business.
Taiwan's Leader Offers To Help China Embrace Democracy. Of course they won't but it will embarrass them.
Protectionism carries its own political risks. US steel producers wanted even more protection. They didn't get it.
Just like the guy said, "One step backward for every two steps forward." Many steel prices have jumped 35 percent to 60 percent since the tariffs were imposed, and steel consumers complained.
The WaPo sez,
A Japanese district court ruled that Japan conducted germ warfare in World War II, bluntly contradicting the continued insistence by the government that there is no proof of such crimes. But the court rejected claims for compensation by elderly Chinese victims. A Japanese attorney for the Chinese, said the loss was tempered by the unqualified declaration about the biological warfare. "The fact that the court confirmed it is revolutionary," he said. "But the court did not have the courage to admit responsibilities on the part of the Japanese government. I think there will be a time when [the government] will have to admit it. In that sense, this is the first step."

The United States made a secret deal to exempt the biological war crimes from the Tokyo trials held after the war, in exchange for the results of the gruesome experiments. Although the Soviet Union tried 12 members of Japan's notorious Unit 731 (which carried out the biological experimentation in China) in 1949, their gruesome accounts at the trial were dismissed by the United States as Cold War propaganda.

Tuesday, August 27

Breakfast bars--those nifty breakfast bars I like to make don't taste so hot this time. Too much apple made them too moist.
DVD update. The colors of VCD's on the new DVD player aren't very good, and using the TV to adjust them doesn't work all that well. Plus, anytime we want to watch real TV, we'll have to re-adjust them.
According to the NYT,

The Chinese government plans to rechannel vast rivers of water from the Yangtze basin to the thirsty north, over three pathways of nearly 1,000 miles each at an official price tag of $58 billion. The eastern, coastal route is technically simple, though it will require 13 pumping stations, which will consume large amounts of electricity to lift water from near the mouth of the Yangtze to the higher north.
The main challenge is pollution. The route cuts across many of the world's most soiled river basins. Some scientists are quietly asking how the coastal route can ever affordably deliver water that will be safe enough even for industry, let alone drinking.

Perhaps toughest of all, in a country where no good patch of land lies idle, is how to provide for those like Mr. Zhang and his family who will be moved. One resident is quoted as saying "We never see a cent of the resettlement money. All these city, county, town and village officials stuff the money into their own pockets."

Monday, August 26

Douglas Gantenbein says that much of the Bush forestry plan comes from Wally Covington (Does that name sound familiar? See below). The trouble is, Covington focuses on ponderosa pine forests, which don't regenerate well after destructive wildfires, but millions of acres of Western forests also have in them other tree species, many of which are genetically programmed to turn into a pile of ashes every 100 years or so.

But Gantenbein also claims that encouraging big logging would be incredibly shortsighted, because across much of the West, prosperity arrived only when the logging stopped. Logging towns are now flourishing as well-off retirees and energetic high-tech entrepreneurs swap big cities for a view of mountains and forest and a chance to fly-fish or mountain bike.

So what's Gantenbein saying: we should encourage these lifestyles of well-off retirees and high-tech entrepreneurs at the expense of the forests?
Ahh, free trade.

The entry of Chinese manufacturers into the DVD player market in the last two years forced the Japanese to slash their prices. Last spring we got one of those Chinese DVD players; it was cheap, but didn't play the Chinese VCD disks as well as it was supposed to. Yesterday, we just got a US brand, which was cheap, and seems to work OK.
In a movie review, Ray Kurzweil writes
To change oneself into someone else, which I've always maintained, is one of the more compelling features of virtual reality, provides an expanded perspective on the image of who we are. We tend to become very identified with our current physical image, so the idea that it is actually possible to convincingly become someone else is rather liberating.
But what if I'm already somebody else?

Sunday, August 25

Is this supersitious?

Even though most scientists consider it wishful thinking, weather manipulation plays a critical role in China's national image, shooting rocket grenades at storm clouds, an admittedly unusual way of controlling hail.

via Tres Producers
We don't need no stinkin' Arabic speakers.

According to Matt Welch
U.S. ambassadors, current and former, are forever gleaning their primary information from the ever-growing ranks of Saudi princes (at least 6,000 at last count), who dominate the government and elite business class. That is in large part because many Saudi princes speak English, while U.S. ambassadors, at the direct behest of the House of Saud, do not speak Arabic. (New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman reported last October that King Fahd had persuaded former U.S. president Ronald Reagan in 1988 to withdraw his recently appointed Arabic-speaking ambassador, Hume Horan, and that "ever since then, we've been sending non-Arabic-speaking ambassadors to Riyadh -- mostly presidential cronies who knew exactly how to penetrate the White House but didn't have a clue how to penetrate Saudi Arabia."

(via Instapundit)
Ick!
The Secular Society Gets Religion
About how religion is increasingly intruding on secular life.
A Gallup Poll last year, for instance, showed that 82 percent of Americans thought of themselves as Christians, 10 percent belonged to other faiths and 8 percent were atheists or agnostics, Professor Heclo said. But they also said no dogma, religious creed or denominational commitment guided their beliefs. On the other hand, while majorities were willing to support a black, Jewish, female or gay presidential candidate, only 48 percent said they would vote for an atheist.


Almost all of which I find very disagreeable. However, I've got to disagree with the woman who says, "Vouchers are about government support for religion." OK, plenty of religionists support them, but that's not the whole story about vouchers. After all, as the Economist argued, "introducing choice should force all schools, even the worst, to get better." And,
In the longer term, vouchers should make America's independent schools less heavily religious, by encouraging private companies to move into the education market and open more secular institutions. Encouragement is what they need. Although America has an advanced network of private companies investing in education, they cannot yet make money.

Of course, anybody making money is anathema to those who believe that corporations are fundamentally evil.

On the other hand, look at what can happen even in public schools: Georgia School Board Requires Balance of Evolution and Bible
As the Economist (in a pay-only article) mentioned:

In 1910, the US Forest Service decided that protecting forests from fire was its fundamental obligation. The result is that
Ponderosa pine forests are now dangerously dense. Worse, the forest floor is head-high with brush, making it easy for fires to leap from ground level and take hold on trees that have survived dozens of previous blazes�thus helping to create �megafires.�


The fires will get worse. Wally Covington, a professor of forestry at Northern Arizona University, reckons that 75m acres of western forests are prone to severe wildfire. He recommends thinning forests back to their original density, leaving just two trees for every stump that could be found dating from around 1900 (the assumption being that some of those left standing will die). Fire could then be safely re-introduced to keep down the brush.


Some of the loudest opponents to the idea of returning forests to their native state are environmentalists. Greens are suspicious of any efforts to remove trees from national forests�not least because the Forest Service has often allowed perfectly healthy trees to be logged in the guise of aiding forest health.


But even if thinning the forests might be a solution, the environmentalists also seem to hate the idea that anybody might make money off it.

update: like this Dowdy woman

Friday, August 23

What a dummy! I read this via Instapundit and actually believed it.

As we say in simplified Chinese: ����

Thursday, August 22

Pessimists have more long-term health problems than positive people. Physicians are advised to encourage their patients to adopt a more positive outlook to improve and lengthten their lives. Pessimists across the country said they would try, though they seriously doubted it would work.

Tuesday, August 20

Bad things will occasionally happen.

Yep. Read the whole article.
Was Bush wrong?
This article suggests so:

In 1998, the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) encouraged China to experiment with trying to limit births less coercively in certain rural counties. The programs involved expanding health services for women, providing more information about contraception and allowing couples to make their own decisions, and ending promoting abortion as family planning. An independent team sent by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in May visited five of the counties where the experiment was held, and found no evidence of coercive abortions or involuntary sterilizations. It concluded China's family planning program remains coercive, but noted "some relaxation" in the UNFPA counties and urged Bush to continue funding UNFPA.

The Bush administration last month withheld $34 million from the UNFPA, noting that even in the UNFPA counties, the government imposes "crushing fines" on couples who have unapproved children. It argued the fines are so high they force women to have abortions.

The UNFPA has objected to the fines and hopes to persuade the government to review them. Moreover, Chinese officials said the fines are not as high as they seem, because many families earn much more than the average income and poorer families are allowed to pay less and spread payments out over time.

Sunday, August 18

Well-meant exaggerations:

Last year we heard about 15,000 child slaves on Ivory Coast's cocoa plantations.
This month, the results of the first extensive survey of child labor in cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast and three other African nations were released by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, a nonprofit, multinational research organization that works in Africa. The survey, financed by the Agency for International Development and the United States Labor Department, found that almost all children working in cocoa fields were children of the plantation owners, not forced laborers.

As for child workers unrelated to the plantation owners, the study found that brokers had placed 2,100 foreign children, most of them ages 15 to 17, in Ivory Coast's cocoa plantations. Ninety-four percent of the children, the study says, knew the intermediary, or broker who hired them for the plantation work.

"The most frequent reason given for agreeing to leave with the intermediary was the promise of a better life," the report says. It adds: "None reported being forced against their will to leave their home abode. One hundred percent indicated that they had been informed in advance that they were going to work on cocoa farms."
(via Metafilter)
I don't care if he's an Objectivist!

David Kelley defines modernism as:
the view that reason, not revelation, is the instrument of knowledge and arbiter of truth; that science, not religion, gives us the truth about nature; that the pursuit of happiness in this life, not suffering in preparation for the next, is the cardinal value; that reason can and should be used to increase human wellbeing through economic and technological progress; that the individual person is an end in himself with the capacity to direct his own life, not a slave or a child to be ruled by others; that individuals have equal rights to freedom of thought, speech, and action; that religious belief should be a private affair, tolerance a social virtue, and church and state kept separate; and that we should replace command economies with markets, warfare with trade, and rule by king or commissar with democracy.

Today, the predominant forms of anti-modernism:
are postmodernism among the intellectuals, who attack reason, individualism, and capitalism as Western aberrations; and fundamentalist movements in religion, which have been on the rise for the past quarter century among Christians and Jews as well as Muslims.

And:
Anti-modernism is not simply loyalty to pre-modern stages of civilisation on the part of people who have not yet discovered reason and individualism. It is a postmodern reaction by people who have seen modernity and turned against it, who hate and wish to destroy it.

This is a profoundly anti-human outlook, and there can be no compromise with it. As we take aim at the terrorists who have attacked us, we must also take intellectual aim at the ideas that inspire them.
Take that, postmodernists!

Thursday, August 15

I guess I don't have to worry so much about glaucoma. Plug me in!
After Taiwan's president declared that the island was a "sovereign state", an American China specialist reportedly told the Taiwanese government they were overestimating the rationality of their Chinese cousins on the politically inflammatory question of Taiwan.
Surprise, surprise:

A growing number of Chinese academics say that an independent legal system, a free press, a reduction in the power of the bureaucracy, and free elections are the only ways to effectively curb graft.

Wednesday, August 14

Why I'm not afraid for my personal safety

Islamic terrorists often attack primarily to create fear. However, the risks of dying in ordinary crimes or accidents -- being run over by a car, killed in the traffic accident while driving, or even being murdered -- are historically much higher than those of being killed in a terrorist act. About 15,000 people were murdered last year in the United States, and the 10-year national average for murders is around 20,000 people per year, compared to the 2,800 who died in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. In 2001, the risk of death from terrorism was less than one-fourth that of being murdered, and far smaller than the risk of being involved in a fatal car accident. I'm not sure that's necessarily a reason to reduce our responsiveness to terrorism, but we should certainly be wary of enacting drastic new domestic policies.
This approach really makes happyfunpundit angry, though.

Tuesday, August 13

This article suggests that people are more shaken by disasters that wreak havoc among the middle class. If the victims are people who are out of sight (the poor, the old, and those who live alone), the public hardly notices. Moreover, a disaster that causes dramatic visible destruction also catches people's attention. Other than that, what makes a disaster seems to be nothing more than a variation from what is normal. The climatologist says, "What makes a heat wave in Duluth is not what makes a heat wave in Dallas." So we respond to the normal conditions of wherever we live.

Sunday, August 11

Deconstruction in action (speaking of burritos).
Here's a solution to spam:
Give your email program a list of the people you wish to receive mail from. Any mail from someone not on the list is returned, with a note explaining that you charge five cents to read mail from strangers.
Your tax dollars at work, being pissed away on a no-win war.
For lunch it was black bean burritos (beans mashed by yours truly, with garlic, olive oil, cumin and a little liquid they were boiled in returned to the mash--note to self: after the liquid is added, the beans will absorb it, so it's OK to add more than seems enough) on wrappers made of a mix of all purpose, whole wheat, and soy flours, served with grated cheese, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and Sabrozita hot sauce. Much easier than the pesto, and tastier, too.
A review of Blood Work, based on the novel by Michael Connelly describes Connelly as "one of those post-Chandler hardboiled writers (the best include Lawrence Block in his Matt Scudder series, George P. Pelecanos, and Dennis Lehane)." I know Matt Scudder, but not the others.

Then there's this:

Other pamphlet writers reserve their ammunition for particular academic disciplines. In "Waiting For Foucault, Still," Mr. Sahlins tackles the theoretical excesses of anthropologists. In "New Consensus for Old: Cultural Studies From Left to Right," the critic Thomas Frank does the same for the field of cultural studies. By the 1990's, Mr. Frank contends, facile "cult stud" arguments about the "subversive potential" of a television sitcom or the "counter-hegemonic" impact of shopping malls had come to look uncomfortably like the market populism promoted by the pro-business right: both groups appear to equate consumerism with democratic self-expression.


And I came across these earlier:
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, by Peter L. Bernstein; Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes-And How to Correct Them: Lessons from the New Science of Behavioral Economics, by Gary Belsky, Thomas Gilovich (I may have read that); Fooled by Randomness, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and from the Economist: Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson and Who's Sorry Now? by Howard Jacobson.
Let's hear it for freedom!

Alice, a 52-year-old Parisian prostitute, says of the increasing numbers of new faces (Middle Easterners, Africans and East Europeans), "They are taking clients for much less money. This is more than unfair competition!" While Socialists call prostitution a form of "modern slavery,"
Daniel Borillo, a researcher with France's National Center for Scientific Research who has been writing and speaking out on the issue in recent weeks, said, "The right is condemning foreign prostitutes and clients -- for me, that's an absurdity." To target foreign prostitutes, he said, "is a type of discrimination."

Many women make a free choice to enter the field, Borillo said. To call all prostitution "slavery," he said, "is very passionate, but it's not a position from which you make public policy. Public policy has to be founded on a good analysis."

"For me, prostitution is a necessary evil," he said. "It's necessary to control it by law. If a person decides to be a prostitute, the state should give that person the right to work in that trade in security and freedom. The problem is to ensure that the choice is free."
Hmm, 52 years old.
Have you not received powers wherewith to endure all that comes to pass? Have you not received greatness of heart, received courage, received fortitude? What care I, if I am great of heart, for aught that can come to pass? What shall cast me down or disturb me? What shall seem painful? Shall I not use the power to the end for which I received it, instead of moaning and wailing over what comes to pass?
--Epictetus (c.A.D. 50�c.A.D. 138)
Yesterday I made a pesto sauce again in a little food processor I got awhile ago. For the first time it came out the proper consistency. We served it on hand kneaded spaghetti (1/2 semolina & 1/2 all-purpose flour) cut in a hand-cranked pasta machine. We bought the machine years ago, used it a couple of times, and decided it was too hard to use; the secret seems to be that if the pasta is too floury, the machine won't take it in. The spaghetti came out looking good. But here's the kicker: the pesto wasn't all that tasty (probably not enough pine nuts), and the spaghetti wasn't even as good as ordinary store-bought. Boo-hoo!

Saturday, August 10

To backtrack--what the hell does Michael Atkinson mean when he says of Stanley Kwan: "much of his other work has merely the dubious distinction of being sublime."? Does he mean it's kitsch? Bad because the middle class likes it? (By the way, insofar as I understand the American middle class, they don't watch many foreign movies.)

When he claims Lan Yu's "homo hook" is what attracted popularity, what does Atkinson mean? Is that good or bad? Anyway, I thought the movie was alright despite the homo stuff. So there.

Meanwhile, Atkinson says of Zhang Yimou,
Seen from today's vantage�from the extremely minor key of Happy Times�it isn't a stretch to wonder if Zhang's ascendancy to Fifth Generation maestro in the late '80s/early '90s wasn't mostly due to Gong Li, well-trained cinematographers, and our fascination with historical Chinese misogyny.

This may well be true. But I don't get Atkinson's point.
Is he saying movies are supposed to limit themselves to plain or hideous actors and irritating cinematography, while omitting the social commentary? Even though like some Chinese critics, I found the misogyny especially of Raise the Red Lantern a little much, as far as I can tell, a lot of art movie viewers will only watch movies that have something about oppression of some disenfranchised group or person. I'll enjoy such movies only insofar as they have something else going for them. While I don't demand a beautiful star, the cinematography has to be at least watchable. Too bad the faux naive jiggly-camera stuff is slowly taking over.
Yesterday on Morning Edition, there was a story about the "Life As a Black Man". The reporter Alex Chadwick claims that this board game is different from Monopoly in that "it grounds itself in contemporary American life in a way that's a lot more genuine than real estate shenanigans". He also characterizes race as "the fundamental American story", so apparently that's really all that matters to him.


And to NPR, I guess. Also yesterday on All Things Considered, there was an item about "Pedro Rivera". This "entrepreneur" (what's wrong with calling him a businessman?) "exemplifies the new California -- where the diversity of the population is often a reason for entrepreneurial success." So a successful business--excuse me, enterprise--is of note only because it somehow impinges on this question of "diversity".

I'll admit these stories are interesting. But is race really the fundamental American story? Isn't there something else to American life?
Geez, what does Michael Atkinson have against Zhang Yimou (or the middle-class, for that matter?
Zhang Yimou has known middle-class acclaim like a show dog knows shampoo.

Why do intellos love to hate the middle class so much, anyway? It's like the contempt for kitsch:

kitsch (from bartleby.com)
NOUN: 1. Sentimentality or vulgar, often pretentious bad taste, especially in the arts

xrefer.com
kitsch
(German, 'trash') Art that is considered vulgar, tawdry, or pretentious, especially work designed to have a popular, sentimental appeal. It has been most often applied to mass-produced items, such as cheap tourist souvenirs, but it can also refer to intentionally vulgar images used by artists, for example Andy Warhol's silk-screen prints of Campbell's soup cans.

kitsch (German: rubbish)
Any artefact that aspires to have artistic integrity but is judged to be pretentious, sentimental, or out of step with current notions of good taste. While this clearly includes cheap mass-produced souvenirs created to satisfy a market that is unable to distinguish between what is kitsch and what is not, it is also true that many objects now regarded as kitsch have been coveted as original creations in other periods. Some 20th-century artists and sculptors, particularly those associated with postmodernism, have purposely produced items that they themselves regard as kitsch.
The Macmillan Encyclopedia 2001

kitsch
A German term for 'vulgar trash' which became fashionable in the early 20th cent. Its application ranged from commercial atrocities such as touristic souvenirs to any pretended art which is considered lacking in honesty or vigour. A museum of such products was organized at Stuttgart. Although the battle against kitsch was healthy in its origin, in Germany it frequently led to an unbalanced fear of all obvious beauty or sentiment.
----------------
So what's the difference between kitsch and camp?

from bartleby.com
camp2
NOUN: 1. An affectation or appreciation of manners and tastes commonly thought to be artificial, vulgar, or banal. 2. Banality, vulgarity, or artificiality when deliberately affected or when appreciated for its humor.

m-w.com
camp 3: something so outrageously artificial, affected, inappropriate, or out-of-date as to be considered amusing

bartleby: camp2
NOUN: 1. An affectation or appreciation of manners and tastes commonly thought to be artificial, vulgar, or banal. 2. Banality, vulgarity, or artificiality when deliberately affected or when appreciated for its humor

Also from from bartleby: funky
4. Slang b. Outlandishly vulgar or eccentric in a humorous or tongue-in-cheek manner; campy.

from xrefer.com
kitsch (German: rubbish)
Any artefact that aspires to have artistic integrity but is judged to be pretentious, sentimental, or out of step with current notions of good taste. While this clearly includes cheap mass-produced souvenirs created to satisfy a market that is unable to distinguish between what is kitsch and what is not, it is also true that many objects now regarded as kitsch have been coveted as original creations in other periods. Some 20th-century artists and sculptors, particularly those associated with postmodernism, have purposely produced items that they themselves regard as kitsch.
The Macmillan Encyclopedia 2001

Who knows why gay men like campiness so much. Apparently camping it up is OK, because you're being ironic about bad taste.

Regarding Stanley Kwan's Lan Yu, Atkinson says it has been brought to us courtesy of its "homo hook", and "much of Kwan's other work has merely the dubious distinction of being sublime." Before ripping Zhang Yimou's Happy Times, he suggests Kwan "may have been something of an American art-house anti-fashion".

Thursday, August 8

Ahh. Finally was able to bake sourdough rye (with 3 Tablespoons gluten). Delicious!

Tuesday, August 6

After declaring in a speech that Taiwan and China were separate countries and endorsing holding national referendums on issues of national sovereignty (which goes against a promise he made in his inaugural speech), Chen Shui-bian now claims he was only calling for equal or parallel sovereignty for Taiwan and China. Why did he backtrack? Probably because his speech angered many Taiwanese business leaders involved in mainland businesses, and as the New York Times puts it: "the United States has conspicuously refrained from publicly supporting President Chen in this dispute". Apparently Chen thought there was strong US support for Taiwanese independence, probably because as the Economist notes, President George Bush last year said that America would �do whatever it takes� to help defend Taiwan, and since then has approved the sale to Taiwan of a long list of imposing weaponry. Unfortunately, since then China has also become an important American partner in the war against terrorism.

I suspect Chen's message was meant only for his own radical supporters. According to the NYT:

The president used a complex Taiwanese term for country in his speech that suggested China and Taiwan were fundamentally different groupings. Chen Ming-tong, the vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, the ministry here that handles relations with the mainland, said today that there was still no consensus on how to translate the speech on Saturday into mandarin, much less into English.

This sounds like bullshit to me. Or maybe he hoped he could say one thing to his supporters while having China & the US understand it in another way.