Thursday 31 March 2011

"Not a friend of the Chinese people"

This is the reasoning, apparently, behind barring Tilman Spengler, German sinologist, and the man who gave the speech at the awarding of the Hermann Kesten award for "outstanding efforts in support of persecuted writers according to the principles of the Charter of International PEN" to Liu Xiaobo. All this, of course, links back to a discussion we were having a few weeks back about the impact of Chinese government policy on academic freedom.

Whilst I still think the accusations of espionage and propaganda against the Confucius institutes is overblown, this is a definite indication the Chinese policy is moving to punish academics for pronouncements made outside the country. It appears that in the future not only out-and-out political enemies of the CCP, but also their serious critics in the world of academia are to be refused entry to the country in an effort to discourage such criticism.

Finally, we have this entirely disreputable and unworthy comment from "China expert" Shaun Rein on this subject:

"My guess more bloggers/ academics who froth [at the] mouth about China will be denied visas going forward."

(My emphasis)

Mr. Rein then went on to characterise anyone who found this comment objectionable as an "idiot/troll". Sigh.

As other commenters have already pointed out, if any other world power were to adopt a similar position virtually no serious foreign scholars would be allowed entry.

[Edit: Fixed links to individual tweets - for anyone wondering how to link to a tweet, just click on the "x hours/days ago" tag under the tweet and it will take you the tweet's URL]

Monday 28 March 2011

How to trash you country's rep world-wide . . .

. . . by having your country's police and immigration officials be rude and insulting to foreigners coming to visit it.

I've had my own run-ins with police who were just "trying to help foreigners" (AKA pointlessly wasting their time) when I was in Malaysia a couple of years back. I also had my parents nearly get barred from entry into the US because they had forgotten to take down my sister's address when coming to visit her (she was waiting in the arrivals lounge).

Still and all, last night when I was speaking to a friend of mine in the US whose Korean girlfriend recently flew in to visit him who had an experience which shocked even me. Here's what the immigration officials at LAX said to this nice young woman from a respectable, influential Korean family before allowing her into the country:

"Who's your pimp?"

My friend put in a complaint, but the complaint went nowhere, and he was told that he was "lucky they even let her in the country". Yes, he was lucky that they let his girlfriend, someone with no prior convictions and no prior engagement in illegal activity, a talented young lady who works as a designer, into the country because they suspected her of being a prostitute based seemingly only on her ethnicity.

Seriously, is this what America is about nowadays? Being pointlessly rude, insulting, sexist, racially stereotypical and demeaning to foreigners visiting the country?

Saturday 26 March 2011

A Smoking Ban?

I find this BBC report of a ban on smoking in most public places in China to be brought in on the 1st of May a bit hard to credit.

Anyone familiar with China will also be familiar with the all-encompassing pall of cigarette smoke that surrounds most restaurants and bars, particularly late at night. School campuses (see picture above) and hospitals are the one possible exception to this.

On top of this, smoking plays a role in social interaction which means it will be more difficult to introduce such a ban that it was in New York, or in the UK. It is a common gesture among men at least to offer cigarettes as a sign of friendship, and for a man to turn down such an offer is likely to cause a very mild degree of offence. Whilst I do not generally like offering up a saying as an indication of how an entire culture works, the popular Chinese saying "烟酒不分家" (my trans.: "neither alcohol nor tobacco divide a home" - although there are other interpretations) says a lot.

Will the Chinese really abandon smoking in pubs and clubs after the 1st of May this year? My guess is that this law will be enforced to about the same degree that Chinese laws on DVD piracy and prostitution are enforced - that is, not a lot.

[Picture: A pack of double-happiness cigarettes, apparently from Taiwan. Via Wikicommons.]

Chris Devonshire Ellis: a two-bit thug

Chris Devonshire-Ellis's campaign of emailed threats continues. In the latest email, after accusing me of attempting to hack his email account (I haven't) he had this lovely little message for me:

"Be careful when walking to work in Wroclaw we don't want any accidents do we. I'm watching you. So are my friends."

It amazes me that this man wasn't exposed for his fabrications and thuggish threats such as the one above much sooner.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Japan's "Liquidators"

Back in my student days there was general agreement that no-one could match the researchers from the former Soviet Union for their fearless approach to radiation risks. Whilst we wondered whether this wasn't just down to the stereotype of the vodka-guzzling "Crazy Ivan", we also knew that these were people from the same scientific and engineering community which had exhibited bravery of the highest and most commendable kind in the face of near-certain death during the Chernobyl disaster.

There are two instances of bravery amongst the "Liquidators" who rescued much of Europe from life-threatening irradiation which stand out the most. The first is the planting of a radiation sensor on top of the damaged reactor by Nicolai Melnik, for which he was named a Hero of the Soviet Union, and lived into a comfortable comfortable retirement in Spain despite having suffered ill-health. The second, and perhaps the greatest act of bravery I have ever heard of, is that of Alexei Ananenko, Valeri Bezpalov, and Boris Baranov, who reportedly donned diving suits and swam to their deaths through the highly radioactive pool of water that formed beneath the blazing core of Chernobyl's reactor No. 4 in order to release the water and thus avoid a thermal explosion far worse than that which had already occured.

When the situation at Fukushima began my thoughts, and those of many others, turned to the incredible risks that were being run by those fighting to prevent catastrophe at Fukushima. They are Japan's answer to Chernobyl's "Liquidators".

We must not go overboard, though. Despite the ridiculous messages issued by the British government as well as others urging their citizens to flee the Japanese capital, some 200 Kilometres from Fukushima, so far at most only three of the workers is reported to have suffered any harmful radiation exposure as a result of this disaster. According to the IAEA, no injuries have been caused by radiation. This is in contrast to the almost certainly fatal doses inflicted on nearly all of those who initially responded to the Chernobyl disaster. Fukushima is bad, but it is not yet that bad, and hopefully never will be.

Those working to save their country and its people from deadly contamination at Fukushima are deserving of high praise, and should receive all the support and gratitude that Japan and the world can offer once this crisis has finally been safely averted. This is the best way of rewarding their bravery.

[Picture: The central detail of the Soviet medal given to the Chernobyl Liquidators. Via Wikipedia.]

It's A Big Machine

The Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra (東京シティ・フィルハーモニック管弦楽団) under Taijiro Iimori (飯守泰次郎):

Yes, I know, Holst, which I'm sure marks me out as popular music-loving philistine, but one can't help but be impressed by the excellent and, for once, extremely visible precision of the orchestra in this piece. It is like watching a complicated military drill, or an aerobatic display team being put through its paces.

For those of more studied taste, here's the same orchestra under a different conductor playing a sparkling rendition of the 3rd movement of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

A mind-numbingly stupid move

I don't have much to say about the recent announcement that the UK is going to slash visas for students from outside the EEC other than to say that it is utterly stupid. Britain owes a great deal of its remaining influence in the world to its status as a centre for culture and education. Both benefit greatly form the influx of foreign students.

David Cameron's has pointed out on more than one occasion that Britain exports more to the Republic of Ireland than it does to the BRIC countries, and that this represents a missed opportunity for British business. Just how does he ever expect to tackle this if he is turning away hundreds of thousands of prospective customers from those very same BRIC countries with this idiotic policy?

Even the poor excuse of reducing immigration does not appear to be valid in this case, since the immigration that people truly object to is illegal immigration. Indeed, it is easy to see how this policy will increase illegal immigration by barring the legal kind.

Monday 21 March 2011

The Third World War

Now, for only the third time during its 65-year history, the UN Security Council, the body notionally responsible for world security, has authorised direct military attack in support of one of its resolutions. However, this is quite different to the previous UN-authorised conflicts.

In Korea in 1950, the resolution authorising the deployment of forces under the UN banner was only possible because of the absence of the Soviet delegation, and was, at least initially, designed for the specific purpose of evicting the North Korean invaders from the south. In the case of Kuwait in 1990-1, the resolution was also clearly limited to actions necessary for liberating Kuwait.

In the present resolution, it is impossible to see any such clear limitations, or purpose to the resolution. The various parts of the Anglo-Franco-American alliance do not even seem to be clear as to who will be leading the coalition, what its objectives are, or even what the resolution authorising their action actually authorises. The Americans are talking only of a no-fly zone, whilst the first act of the French was to carry out strikes against tank columns. Whilst the only thing that is explicitly barred by the resolution is an occupation of Libya, even this does not seem to explicitly prevent an invasion of the country.

Moreover, once the present coalition has done what it can to protect the rebel-held cities of Benghazi, Misrata, etc., what happens then? Most obviously, now that we are in we should do what we can to help the rebels overthrow Gaddafi and resolve the situation - yet no-one has come forth to say this or even imply it. Regime change is the logical conclusion of the previous resolution referring the Gaddafi government to the International Criminal Court, yet this is not recognised.

This is, of course, not only the third UN-authorised military action, but also the third military action by the Western Powers in a majority Muslim country in the last ten years. If this conflict is resolved quickly, if Gaddafi is overthrown quickly and the Libyans left to solve their own problems, then we may at least be assured that another quagmire like Afghanistan will have been avoided. Unfortunately this is far from certain.

[Picture: A Tomahawk missile is launched from the USS Stetham, 2004. Via Wikicommons]

Wednesday 16 March 2011

My Stalker: Chris Devonshire Ellis

Back when Chris Devonshire Ellis resigned, I said that so long as I heard no more of CDE harassing and threatening bloggers who pointed out that he did not have any of the qualifications he claimed to have, that would be the last I would write about him. Even when it turned out that he hadn't properly resigned, I made it clear that I wasn't going to write any more posts on the guy. When the weird campaign of spreading my identity all over the internet started, I still tried to keep an open mind as to the identity of my pursuer despite my stalker's familiar writing style.

Until today, when I received this email in my work email in-box:

"Dear Mr. Grundy;

Just to remind you that according to Charles, our Private Investigator, you have a 5pm deadline to keep today as regards removal of offensive and defamatory material from your website.

I suggest you do, and if so, we'll say no more about this issue between you and I. You've had your fun, now it's time for you to move on and stop this constant bothering and sullying of my name.

Yours sincerely;

Chris Devonshire-Ellis


Dezan Shira & Associates


Who was this "Charles" of whom CDE spoke? Well, on Sunday I received this bizarre, rambling, and threatening email from the address "":

"Mr. Grundy

My name is Charles & I am a private investigator. You know me as 'anonymous' on your blog. I act as a go between on behalf on a group of four individuals. They have engaged me to establish your identity and to make contact with you. This concerns various comments and statements you have made on your blog & on those of others. I have now made you aware that I can track you down & also your colleagues family & friends. I also have records of your addresses in Brighton & Lansing full details of your movements throughout Asia & the people you met with professionally. I can stretch this further & add in contacts within the UK & immigration worldwide for your immigration & passport details. I can now find you & keep track of where you are. The question is what happens next. You are instructed to immediately delete from your website all references to the people you have harrassed online within the next 48 hours. Lets not have you getting smart asking who or what. Use your sense. I have a list of your comments & I will be watching. Take everything down & delete it. This means a deadline of close of business 5pm GMT on Tuesday 15 March. You are asked to do the same for references of the websites of Wang Jiangshuo & Rhondo Zeb. It is your problem if these sites are not under your control. If you comply with this request & abstain from making any further references to any of the individuals concerned no further action will be taken against you. If not then actions will be taken & this will involve your employers & other means that will not be to your amusement at my disposal. I have contacts in many places & Wroclow is a text away. There are no negotiations. It is better for you that it is not necessary to meet with any of my friends. That would not be a good idea. Do not piss me off or them off & we can bid goodbye & let all your bad behaviour be history.
(my emphasis)

A quick check shows that there is no registered UK private investigator by the name of "Charles Pi", nor can any record be found of one in another country. None of the three UK private investigator's called Charles on the ABI registry know who Devonshire Ellis is or have had any contact with him. The most obvious explanation is therefore the simplest - "Charles Pi" is an alias.

CDE doesn't bother to identify what on this blog he considers "offensive and defamatory". Once again, the reason for this simple - nothing here is "defamatory", if it were he could have had the relevant material taken down years ago. Instead, CDE is trying to take down bona fide commentary on this blog through a campaign of thinly veiled threats against my friends, family, and job such as those highlighted above. He admits as much in his email.

I have not "defamed" him. Instead it is his own words that condemn him, now as before. Moreover, it is now Wednesday evening and the sky is yet to fall in, despite the 5 PM Tuesday deadline.

It seems that CDE is not merely in another time zone, but on a different planet all together.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Fukushima and the future of nuclear power

Back in university I wrote an essay on safety and nuclear power. Basically my analysis was that a water-cooled reactor could never melt-down under conceivable circumstances, that 3-Mile Island only suffered partial meltdown because of a series of avoidable accidents, and that an accident that knocked out both the primary and back-up cooling systems would probably also destroy the reactor and was therefore not worth worrying about.

I also wrote that Chernobyl exploded because it was basically a bomb - the graphite blazed out of control after the initial melt-down, no-one would build another reactor like that in the future. The conclusion was that another major nuclear accident like Chernobyl was almost impossible.

Yes, I know Fukushima hasn't gone into full meltdown yet, and the reactor vessels are, as far as we know, still in tact. However, the circumstances I described as being inconceivable have occurred - an accident bad enough to knock out the cooling systems, but not so bad as to destroy the reactor. Moreover, if explosions can tear reactor containment buildings apart in the way they did at Fukushima, the reactor itself can also be destroyed, and the fuel spread over a large area in just the same way the Chernobyl explosion did. It didn't happen, or at least it hasn't yet, but it could have.

I'm a long-term supporter of nuclear fission power, but I also think that this accident should at the very least give the supporters of nuclear fission food for thought. There are reactor types at the experimental stage, such as inert gas-cooled reactors which should not be vulnerable to the chenical explosions that tore apart Chernobyl and the Fukushima reactor buildings. This won't eliminate the low risks associated with spent nuclear fuel though.

On the other hand, the German government's de-activation of seven of the seventeen nuclear reactors in Germany is a ridiculous over-reaction.

[Picture: A satellite picture of the explosion at the Unit 3 containment building at the Fukushima I plant. Picture made available by DigitalGlobe under a CC-by-ND-NC 2.0 license.]

Friday 11 March 2011

My Name Is Gilman Grundy

Hi there. For a long time I've been blogging using a handle (FOARP), but because someone's gone and revealed my identity, from now on, whilst I'm going to keep using the handle because I guess it's what people are most familiar with, you'll also be able to know exactly who I am.

A few things about me that some may find interesting:

- Whilst I think "fluent" is one of the most abused languages in the English language, my Chinese is at what they call "business-level", which means I can take part in meetings, give presentations, translate documents etc. in Chinese without embarassing myself too much.

- I work in IP, a career that has taken me from China to London to Japan to Poland, and which I greatly enjoy.

- I'm a big fan of Liverpool F.C.

- I once came second in a television song competition watched by millions, despite my blatant attempts at vote-rigging.

- I'm very interested in the connection between IP and competition law, something that no person who I have ever met was actually interested in.

You can read an interview with me here.

[Picture: Me giving a talk on the European Commission's decision in the Microsoft case at the EIPIN conference in Gerzensee, Switzerland, 2008]

Japan Earthquake

Probably just like most of you I have spent this morning doing little work and gaping, open mouthed, at the video feeds coming from Japan. It is a well-worn cliche that Japan is a politico-socially stable society in a geologically unstable area, but nothing brings home the sheer power and force of this earthquake like the footage of houses, ships, trucks, and towns being lifted and smashed by the force of the tsunami generated by the quake. It is simultaneously deathly horrifying and shockingly astounding. Living in Taiwan and Japan I adopted a blasé attitude to earthquakes, but it will be hard for me to be so cold-blooded ever again.

For the moment, I merely thank god (or whoever) that everyone I know in Japan and Taiwan (which the tsunami also hit) is safe and well. The dead are only just being counted, but it is hard not to believe that they will greatly exceed the 6,434 people killed in the 1995 Kobe earthquake, although modern construction should ensure that the toll will not approach the 100,000 killed in 1923 Great Kanto quake.

[Picture: An earthquake-damaged refinery blazes out of control in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture. Picture taken by Danny Choo and made available on a CC-by-SA license, 11th of March 2011]

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Global Times on Charlie Sheen: Pure, concentrated awesomeness

Global Times (no, really, Global Times) runs with an awesome piece criticising Charlie Sheens recent drug/ego/craziness-inspired going-off-the-rails gonzoism for its lack of filial piety. Yes, at first I was a bit dubious, the opener almost could be a bona fide GT agit-prop editorial, but the more you read into the piece, the more awesome it becomes. The name of the editorialist is also a bit of a giveaway. Go there now and read it before it goes the way of Ask Alessandro.

[Picture: Not the editorialist being mobbed by crazed fans. Via Wikicommons]

Sunday 6 March 2011

China's defence spending up by 12.7%

When the Chinese government announced last year that defence spending might rise by only around 8% I was among those cautiously optimistic that this might signal a slacking-off of the break-neck speed with which the PRC has been improving its military capabilities. However, it seems I was being a tad over-optimistic. This report from the Guardian does a good job of covering all the angles.

Now, as the Guardian report points out, despite the fact that the US (which outspends the rest of the world combined on defence) is reducing its budget, there are a few justifications for this increase. The first, and most obvious, is that China's defence spending, though high compared to many of its neighbours, is still low in comparison to overall GDP at around 1.5% of nominal GDP, and that as China's economy is growing quickly high increases in military spending should be expected. The second is that even though the US is cutting spending, regional rival India is planning an 11.6% defence spending hike.

Still, in the long term these increases, which have out-stripped GDP growth, will give the Chinese military a decisive advantage over all of its neighbours, or any likely combination of them. Whilst official yearly Chinese spending is now around 91.1 billion US dollars, 2009 military spending in South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan totalled roughly 84 billion USD. In fact this year's declared increase in Chinese military spending is equivalent to the entirety of the Taiwanese military budget. Only the commitment of the United States to the defence of Japan South Korea, and Taiwan would give them an edge.

[Picture: Smoke comes from the funnel of the former Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag, now said to be re-named Shi Lang, which is under renovation in Dalian Harbour. Sources suggest it may begin sea trials with the People's Liberation Army Navy as early as the end of this year. Picture via Defensetech]

The West does not exist

Since Hidden Harmonies decided to do a somewhat bizarre piece on what they believe "the West" to be, including this delightfully weird passage comparing media in general to criminals who must be kept under lock and key:

"So, what is the “Western media?” For one, they pride themselves on being a “free press.” We all know “free” criminals commit crimes, so most of us are immuned to their self-professed higher moral ground. But, the Western public largely buys into that. The Western media also share a peculiar trait of crusading for these ideologies: “freedom,” “democracy,” and “human rights.”"

I thought I'd put in my tuppence worth on this as well.

As a geopolitical entity, "the West" has existed and been written about since at least the start of the medieval age times, when the Great Schism divided Orthodox Eastern Europe from Catholic western Europe. However, what does it mean in modern terms?

Firstly and most obviously, it means Western Europe, Australasia, and North America. Western Europe because it is the original home of Western Christianity, and North America and Australasia because they were colonised by countries in Western Europe. However, what of Latin America, the very name of which requires it to be an off-shoot of Western Europe? At least according to the statements of two modern-day Latin American leaders, they do not consider their countries to be part of the same grouping.

Things get even more murky when one looks at the countries which are also regularly lumped in with "the West" in commentary on the internet. Perhaps the ESWN blog is not the best source on what exactly "the West" is, but a recent post in which "境外媒体" (roughly "external media") appears to have been translated as "Western media" despite, as Richard Burger pointed out, many of reports being from organisations based in Asia, is about par for the course.

Even the dreaded "Western" media seems a bit hazy on what "the West" actually is. When it comes to "Westernisation", you often see things being cited as evidence of "Westernisation" which should rightly be referred to as "modernisation" (i.e., mobile phones, the internet, mass-produced clothing) since they carry little or no intrinsic cultural meaning and are merely indicative of technological progress.

Finally, many of the things people use to identify "the West" are no longer true or exclusively true of many countries which are traditionally identified with it. Whilst "Christian" values are often said to be a hallmark of "the West", in many countries non-believers form the largest grouping. "Democracy" is often said to be intrinsically western, yet many countries with cultures highly dissimilar to that found in Europe and America (Taiwan, Japan, India) are democratic.

My solution to this is the easiest one: The West no longer exists. Whilst we can be relatively certain what phrases like "the Western Powers" refer to (i.e., France, Germany, the US, and the UK), "the West" itself is too vague a concept to be useful.

Civil War

So it seems that the civil war that many feared might occur in Libya has come to pass. Civil war is often the dirtiest kind of war, not that there is any clean kind, with both sides refusing to recognise even the right of the other to exist, and, especially at the start, both sides finding it difficult to distinguish friend from foe. It seems likely that tens of thousands of Libyans, many of them innocent civilians, will die in such a conflict, nor is it even certain that the side which was born out of a pro-democracy revolution will be the victor, since war is the theatre of the unpredictable.

A few things that should be said though. It would be unjust if the world were to inflict a false "temporary" division on Libya similar to that in the Ivory Coast. There is no equivalence between the two sides - the Gaddafi regime must go, and elections must be held to decide the future of the country.

There has been a lot of talk about establishing a no-fly zone, but since this requires a wave of airstrikes to be unleashed against Gaddafi before such a zone can be put into place, establishing such a zone is indistinguishable from intervention. If we must intervene, let it be by providing weapons and training to the one side that promises democratic rule in the country before Gaddafi, with his control of the airforce and much of the expertise of the army, overwhelms them.

In the short term Gaddafi has the advantage of control of the airforce, mercenaries, and greater organisation. However, if the opposition can hold on, and an effective blockade can be imposed on the Gaddafi regime, the advantage should switch to the opposition as foreign support increases the effectiveness of their forces.

Finally, the democratic countries of the world, particularly those in Europe, bear a responsibility towards the people of Libyan, firstly for our coddling of the Gaddafi regime, and secondly for the encouragement given to the various Arab uprisings. We must not cut and run from this duty.

[Picture: "Revolution and war are inseparable!" - An anarchist poster from the Spanish Civil War, via Wikicommons]

Wednesday 2 March 2011

The Confucius Institutes: Not spy command centres

It's weird to even have this debate, but it seems we must. In an article redolent of the "den of spies" rhetoric thrown against the US embassy in Tehran under the Shah, Michael Turton, using a report from Fa Lun Gong-founded Epoch Times as his evidence, characterises the Confucius Institutes thus:

"Confucius Institutes have two, and only two, functions: one is propaganda, and the other is intelligence on the academic community. Watch out for the one in your neighborhood; its presence is entirely inimical to the development of robust critical views of China, academic freedom, and democratic politics."

This might have been defensible had the Epoch Times report contained anything solid linking the Confucius institutes to either of these activities. Instead, there is little in the report to support such claims. To support the assertion that Confucius institutes serve to propagate propaganda, the only direct link in the article is the presence of a group of pro-Beijing demonstrators "wearing T-shirts with labels identifying them as being from Montreal's Confucius Institute". Backing up the idea that Confucius institutes facilitate the gathering of intelligence, at most the article mentions a speech in which the head of the Canadian security service lumped the Confucius Institutes in with other instruments of Chinese policy, and a 2007 warning from an academic that Confucius Institutes might restrict freedom of speech at universities (with no follow-up).

The section that opens the article describes a Xinhua report about a Canada-based Confucius Institute instructor engaging in criticism of Canadian reporting from China in 2008. However, this activity seems to have consisted mainly of showing students a map showing Tibet as being inside China (like almost every map in the world) and reads like a CCP propaganda piece that may well be exaggerated or manufactured. At any rate, it shows nothing conclusive about the Confucius Institutes, certainly no evidence of the Confucius Institutes engaging in intelligence gathering or direct propaganda. Michael Turton's European friends may have reported rumours of intelligence gathering, but once again, no solid examples were cited.

Otherwise the sources cited in the Epoch Times article largely agree with the majority view on the Confucius institutes: that they are an exercise in soft power, not direct propaganda, and none of the experts quoted referenced the gathering of intelligence as a purpose of the Confucius Institutes.

[Picture: A Confucius Institute instructor (just kidding). Photo by Alan Light, 1980.]

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Then and Now

In the wake of Sunday's unanimous resolution referring the Libyan government to the International Criminal Court, an act which, given that the ICC prosecutor is guaranteed to bring war crimes charges against the Gaddafi regime, is tantamount to a call for regime change from every member of the UN security council, it's instructive to compare what was said about Libya last year with what is being said now:


Then -
"During the meeting, Wu said China and Libyan share a long tradition of friendship. Since they established diplomatic links in 1978, bilateral relations have seen smooth development.

Wu said the two countries respect and treat each other as equals as they continued to deepen mutual trust. He said China and Libya are complementary in economy and their cooperation has produced win-win results.

Wu said the two countries share broad consensus and cooperate with each other on major regional and international issues such as human rights, reform of the United Nations, climate change and the international financial crisis."

Now -
""It is imperative now to stop the violence and avoid further casualties," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters.

"We hope the international community will play a constructive part in restoring stability in Libya as soon as possible.""


Then -
"In the last 18 months, the United States and Libya have made great strides regarding military cooperation. The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on future defense cooperation, and finalized an agreement that sets the stage for a new security cooperation relationship."

Now -
"Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is "delusional" and "unfit to lead", the US ambassador to the UN has said.

Susan Rice was speaking after the embattled Colonel Gaddafi was interviewed by the BBC and others."

The UK

Then (this one from 2003) -
"This courageous decision by Colonel Gaddafi is an historical one. I applaud it,"
(Blair on the Gaddafi's announcement that he was going to scrap all weapons of mass destruction under his control)

Now -
[Andrew Marr (BBC)]: Are you clear that Gaddafi had weapons of mass destruction and then destroyed them?

[William Hague (UK Foreign Secretary)]: I think it was clear that he was developing various programmes and working on various programmes. There, there certainly was a programme of mustard gas creation and creating stocks of that.

AM: [....] was there a verifiable destruction at any point of these stocks?

WH: Some of those stocks do appear to exist although we’re not sure what condition they are in

Yes, time makes fools of us all, but it appears to have worked mighty quick on the relations of various countries with Libya.