Getting What You Asked For

James Palmer in Foreign Policy:

Foreign reporters are limited to residence in a few major cities, chiefly Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen; they are followed and harassed when they travel elsewhere in the country and find it particularly difficult to reach the countryside.

But do journalists like him even need to be in China, let alone deep in its hinterlands? When all they do is regurgitate propaganda, which they can do just as easily from Washington D.C.

Article is chock full of BS from beginning to end, but this one jumped out to me in particular:

We don’t know how good Chinese schools really are because the much-quoted statistics provided by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) that placed China first in the world were taken from the study of a small group of elite Shanghai schools. As soon as that was expanded merely to Beijing — another metropolis — and two rich provinces, the results dropped sharply.

In reality, even discounting Shanghai, China gets excellent results in PISA – with IQ equivalent scores of around 102-103, it is much higher than the OECD average.

This has been well known since I first broke leaks of the results into English in 2012:

I suppose James Palmer is to be commended for sort of proving the point that 95% of American journalists deserve to be abused, harassed, and expelled with extreme prejudice from any self-respecting foreign country.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Daniel Chieh says

    It really annoys me how journalists keep proving the Party’s most paranoid beliefs about the world to be true.


  2. Maybe off topic: Netanyahu just unveiled half tons of secret documents that Israel allegedly stole from Iranian nuclear program and smuggled from Iran.
    Will Israel get what Israel asked for – war with Iran? Will uncle Donald deliver?

  3. Felix Keverich says

    I can imagine some airstrikes (that could drive the price of oil to $200), but certainly no ground invasion.

  4. TheUmpteenthGermanOnHere says

    Another instance of wonderfulness in that article is the idea that the Chinese crime rate might be 40x the reported rate. Presumably that is why blacks tremble with fear at the mere thought of having to set foot into their local chinatown.
    (Actually the Chinese difficulties with statistics stem from the premium they attach to adherence to the norm – sort of like Foreign Policy-writers’ difficulties with the truth due to the importance of sticking to certain core beliefs a.k.a. unrenounceable biases.)

  5. Duke of Qin says

    I’m familiar with Borge Bakken, the “scholar” who cites that Chinese crime rates are actually 40x their reported rate. He is one of those deep state useful idiots in Australia whom the powers that be mobilized in recent years in order to push the China threat fever like his European counterparts are used to shill against Russia. His mission was primarily to kill an Australian-Chinese extradition treaty designed to repatriate financial criminals. He needed to prove that the Chinese criminal justice system was unreliable hence no treaty was possible and he did it by “adjusting” (read as inflating and making up wholesale) criminal statistics. Did you know rape and murder rates in China are akshually 4x higher than in Australia? Sure your lying eyes may be deceived by the appalling lack of Chinese in prisons for rape and murder everywhere and the strange sense of public safety in China itself, but he has a PhD, so you’ve got to believe him. I mean if Blacks are just as smart as Whites according to right thinkers, why cant Chinese be just as violent as Blacks?

  6. Anonymous says

    Foreign reporters are limited to residence in a few major cities, chiefly Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen; they are followed and harassed when they travel elsewhere in the country and find it particularly difficult to reach the countryside.

    I am acquainted with several Western journalists in China. Their chief problem with the government is visas. One Western reporter who reported on Occupy Hong Kong could not get a visa to the mainland for almost a year afterwards. Another reporter assigned to the mainland had to wait a while (around a month) to get a routine visa. However, these reporters travel freely throughout China except for Tibet. They definitely do not find it difficult to reach the countryside. I do not know if residence of foreign reporters is restricted but for obvious reasons they stay in Beijing and Shanghai.

    I recall an infamous incident involving harassment in the countryside. In 2013 in a rural area of Hebei (province surrounding Beijing) a German broadcast team was attacked by a large group of thugs.

    A German television crew filming in a village near Beijing was assaulted on Wednesday by a group of men in four vehicles who tried to run the crew’s minivan off the road and then smashed its windshield with baseball bats, said one of the correspondents. No injuries were reported. One witness later told the journalists that at least one of the vehicles belonged to the local Communist Party chief.

    This event was highly unusual.

  7. Daniel Chieh says

    OT: Asian American SJWs against Chinese soft power.

    “Cultural appropriation” has always been an exceptionally retarded concept. I’ve never understood how it could have gained cachet at all.

  8. random rand says

    I particularly like James Palmer because unlike many other “China hands”, “China experts”, and Western journalists in China who are simply dishonest propagandists, I think James Palmer is actually just plain stupid. Or maybe he is trying to be an effective propagandist but he’s too stupid to know how to be. Anyways, the idea that the Chinese government knows nothing about what’s going on inside China is hilarious. Apparently China’s development was basically just the government throwing darts at a board but somehow everything ended up ok. The thing is, I don’t even know who people like James Palmer is trying to fool. Chinese people? No one with half a brain will be convinced by him. The American public? But that wouldn’t do much to influence policy given it’s the Deep State that runs foreign policy. But I guess everyone needs to make a living.

  9. to push the China threat fever

    Please don’t pay attention to your country becoming majority Chinese! Just be a good foreign devil and let 10s of millions of my countrymen peacefully occupy your country

  10. Thorfinnsson says

    I seriously doubt someone with the username “Duke of Qin” is a true blue Aussie.

    Australia can also theoretically have good relations with China without mindlessly letting in every Chinaman who shows up (or indeed any Chinamen at all).

  11. Recently certain VIP showed the headline “Iran lies”. The font size used could be too big such that there might be a space squeezed or missing. ==> “I ran lies.” Getting-what-you-asked-for.

  12. Mightypeon says

    I actually think that there is a secondary reason why the elites hate Russian and Chinese systems.

    You see, the political system in China is highly darwinian. Essentially, if you play poker in Chinese politics, your liberty is the small blind and your life the big blind. This does create a certain degree of accountability since morons get eaten before they reach important positions.

    The Russian system is somwhat similiar, but here the small blind is your money and the big blind your liberty, and the level at which this starts to be a thing is a bit higher.

    In the western elite world, there is no accountability for being a moron.

  13. Daniel Chieh says

    So what, lie and hope that falsehoods win to get your way? Falsehoods are fundamentally suboptimal; they are distanced from reality. Although given that Western governments are basically interchangeable with the poz, I suppose having no purchase in reality is the norm.

  14. So what

    Go home and leave white people alone

  15. Daniel Chieh says

    Coming from an Aussie quisling, that’s particularly funny. Go cry me a river.

  16. Mitleser says

    Largest group of most recent migrants to Australia are Indians.
    And unlike China’s population, it will keep growing and growing.

  17. Coming from an Aussie quisling


    Go cry me a river

    Just demonstrating why people like you should be sent back to your own country

  18. Daniel Chieh says

    What, because you need to sit in your comforting lies and avoid reality? That’s sweet; please sit in your safe space with the other SJWs: you’re spiritually the same.

    The good news is that you get to see the results of your nonsense within your lifetime.


  19. neutral says

    I don’t know why he is supposed to be a quisling but that does not matter, all non whites must leave, no exceptions.

  20. What, because you need to sit in your comforting lies and avoid reality? That’s sweet; please sit in your safe space with the other SJWs: you’re spiritually the same.

    SJWs = anti-white
    Me = pro-white

    I know that being an allegedly ‘anti-SJW’ Chinese living outside China means that you need to tie yourself up in all sorts of complicated ideological knots about ‘SJWS’, but it really is that simple.

    ‘Spiritually’ it’s you and the SJWs who are the same in sticking up for non-white ethnic interests. Not that there’s anything wrong with that in itself, but it is galling when you occupy a country for white people and pretend to be on their side.

  21. Daniel Chieh says

    Draw a straight line distance between Australia and England, then draw a straight line distance between Australia and China, then figure out who is in who’s backyard.

    No serious consideration of spheres of influence could be entertained otherwise.

  22. neutral says

    If you want to go into that line of argument then Australia should not belong the Chinese but aborigines, but that is not what you want, you want Han dominance over whites and everyone else as well in Australia.

  23. Daniel Chieh says

    That is not the line of argument and I am not a Han nationalist or something nonsensical like that; your theory of mind is quite incorrect in what I want: that’s a projection of your own focus on tribalism. The only thing I really care about is competence, and specifically bash anything that opposes epistemic values as fundamentally wrong. I don’t think that humanity itself is going to exist for much longer in the state we comprehend, so all of that is silly to me.

    But it remains true that Australia is in China’s sphere of influence.

  24. Duke of Qin says

    You should probably have read my posting history before making that utterly stupid remark. I oppose Chinese emigration abroad and want all the Chinese to return to our racial urheimat and to seal the borders. I’m a Han racialist and thus I understand both the advantages and disadvantages of my race very clearly. Living in proxity with the outsider is not one of those strengths and inevitably leads to our gradual cultural and indeed racial annihilation under a post-modern liberal order. Unlike the overwhelming majority of the West’s new racial cohorts, where Rassenschande leads to the de-whitening of the native demos, it leads to the de-Haning of ours. I think we even understand this at an instinctive level which is why we actively seek to congregate together in Chinatowns (even the millionaires buy mansions next to other Chinese millionaires) as part of a circling the wagons, but this stratagem is no longer working. A bigger paycheck is too big of a price to pay for not having any grandchildren, which is something that many Chinese don’t realize before it’s too late. Everywhere outside of our homeland, where the Communist Party holds sway and keeps the Pozz at bay, my people are an endangered species verging on extinction. This cannot be stopped without overturning the entire value system of the West and perhaps not even then. Thus to preserve my race, I advocate isolationism; backed with a massive military and nuclear arsenal of course to keep the degenerate and rapacious West at bay.

  25. If I may ask, why do you consider your race to be on the verge of extinction when there are more than a billion of you?

  26. Contaminated NEET says

    Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Qin
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Qin
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Qin
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Qin

    It’s great to see you commenting regularly. Are you writing anywhere else? Dare I hope that your blog has been resurrected? The Han race could do far worse for supreme dictator than you. Keep telling the truth and don’t let the sanctimonious universalists and swarthy swindlers get you down.

  27. Duke of Qin says

    Civilization itself is fragile and its flame must be constantly shepherded for it to survive. It took two millennia for the Han race to reach their current numbers. The time it would take for dissipation, nihilism, childlessness, and racial defilement to kill all of us is a single lifetime. Certainly we are working with a larger buffer than say the Estonians, but a slow death is still death nonetheless.

    You only have to look at what is going on in Singapore, in Taiwan, and even in Hong Kong to say nothing of the Chinese emigre communities in Southeast Asia and the West. Full on Western cargo cult self-annihilation mode that dare I say exceeds Sweden. At least a large minority of Westerners realize that they are under attack, the overwhelming majority of Chinese are still asleep.

  28. random rand says

    Australia can also theoretically have good relations with China without mindlessly letting in every Chinaman who shows up (or indeed any Chinamen at all).

    I don’t think Australia is allowed to run its own foreign policy. At the end of the day it’s a US military vassal and the US deep state probably runs the place. I highly doubt any Australian politician wants to end up Gough Whitlam. As an example of just how “sovereign” Australia is as a country:

    Due to its status as a secret treaty, its existence was not known to the Prime Minister of Australia until 1973,[14] and it was not disclosed to the public until 2005.[13]

    Regarding immigration, I highly doubt the Chinese gov actually gives a shit if Australia decides to limit immigration, that was never the problem. It’s not like the Chinese gov forced immigration onto Australia. What the CCP doesn’t want is Australia acting like a US attack dog in the South China Sea. The only reason Australia is trying to “contain” the country that is keeping Australia’s economy going is because the US told it to jump.

  29. songbird says

    What do you see as the Party’s main beliefs about the world?

    I always thought communism had a low level globalism which was inherent in the system. It is very easy to see this when watching any communist news program. There are endless very banal meetings with much smaller, less important countries, usually in drab locations with some potted plants brought in. Is that just formalism or pragmatism and not ideology?

    Communism’s version of globalism has only recently been eclipsed by the rabid, cancerous globalism of the West. But the internationalism of communism was something traditionally derided. In my view, the globalism of the West isn’t something philosophically inherent to not being communist or being Western. It is not a primary factor, but a secondary or tertiary one, caused by more powerful incentives, which arguably stem mostly from the earlier economic growth.

    China has a low per capita, so its incentives are different. When it is higher, they may change. America in the ’50s, when it had Operation Wetback was (tech aside) on average, a much more prosperous place than current China.

    I don’t know if we really have a perfect model for Confucianism in the East, communist or not. Japan seems to be different, but perhaps it only seems so because of differing factors – like language sphere. China, of course, will have a much bigger one, somewhat mitigated by the lack of a Roman alphabet (unless you count Pinyin) and the tonality of the language.

    Do Japan and China’s base psychology really differ from the West’s? How different is it from any European country, when it was 99.9% white, if you discount the obviously disproportionate and anti-national influence of Jews?

  30. Daniel Chieh says

    The Party’s beliefs change a lot, but sheer paranoia seems to be fairly constant. Unfortunately much of it has seemed justified in the aftermath: everything from the belief that every every major US tech company was actually a part of the US intelligence apparatus(Facebook), that pop culture was actually subversive and evil(Zootopia), and that participation in every international agreement would largely prove exploitative(IMF). In part, this is because the Party itself utilizes the same tactics and the Chinese adage of “a robber knows another robber” is unfortunately true.

    As far as internationalism, the Party designed its system until very recently as an unexportable model that was suited only for the Chinese people, or at least those of Asian descent – which was the argument of the “Asian model” that an increased level of totalitarianism was necessary, which was to explain with the possible exception of Taiwan, all Asian governments have less direct democracy. Now I’ve grown very dubious of how democratic anywhere else but the perception of participatory democracy is certainly higher in the West.

    This has changed recently with Xi, with the idea that the Chinese model is exportable to other third-world nations seeking to increase their development. Which leaves us to define what is this model…state-run capitalism? Its not really clearly defined, and Venezula has been a standout model of how billions of Chinese money can go right down into a black hole in some places. I tend to believe it really just means “hire our advisors and give us influence on your governments.”

    As for base psychology, that’s a large question. As a general rule, individualism increases as you move west and Nisbett mentioned some fundamental differences in comprehension due to the context-heavy language. Its not very different from Russia, really, where there are even similar status games(and imo, the inflated notion of corruption due to the emphasis on human relationships as a necessary or desired part of dealmaking). The French, such as Voltaire, connected fairly well with the Chinese thought in the past and there’s a lot of similarities(they have similar elite-formation, as well). Anglo thought is very distant.

  31. songbird says

    Thanks, for those insights.

  32. Thus to preserve my race, I advocate isolationism; backed with a massive military and nuclear arsenal of course to keep the degenerate and rapacious West at bay.

    Sounds sensible to me.

  33. But it remains true that Australia is in China’s sphere of influence.

    Australia would be a lot better off if we understood that and accepted it. We’re too weak to stand alone so we’re going to have to be someone’s vassal. We’d be a lot better off as China’s vassal.

    But the U.S. is unlikely to give us the option.

  34. Zootopia is subversive?

  35. A country that went from being dirt poor to the 2nd largest economy in the world in the space of 40 years cannot have a very smart populace

  36. Daniel Chieh says

    The position of the PLA officer who wrote the editorial criticizing it in the military journal noted these:

    • It encourages the idea that perceptual reality is untrue – small female rabbits are better police than large animals
    • The “role reversal” misguides children and encourages them not to use their natural instincts on what is dangerous or not.

    Essentially it has a lot of postmodern themes, though I doubt the PLA guy actually knows the meaning of “postmodern.” That instinctually sets off a lot of alarms in people who feel that traditional heuristics should be encouraged in children.

  37. Daniel Chieh says

    Maybe 2018 will be a year without blackouts.

    I don’t think that China wants vassals; just not self-destructively running-dogs of the West that, really, aren’t even appreciated fro their service.

  38. Toronto Russian says

    Didn’t see the cartoon but this article seems a bit like the feminist outrage over “unrealistic beauty standards” in Disney princesses. This stuff isn’t supposed to be realistic, it’s fantasy and stylization. And a small prey animal kicking the butt of a large predator animal is a classic trope in cartoons going back at least to the 1940s (Tom and Jerry).

    Whatever, I grew up watching tiny Japanese girls fighting demons in Sailor Moon (mostly with magic but sometimes physically), and it didn’t make me not wary of dangerous-looking people in real life – just like the Little Mermaid didn’t give me anorexia. I did dream about her cool tail though:) Kids can normally tell what’s fiction and enjoy it as that.

  39. Daniel Chieh says

    Kids can normally tell what’s fiction and enjoy it as that.

    There’s good evidence that not even adults “tell what is fiction.” Nisbett’s Mindworks goes into this further, but we are surprisingly easy to persuade by the company we keep, only we mentally rejustify it later as a personal decision.

    You are the company that you keep. For many of us these days, the company is often mental figures(as it was, in the past, for Catholics who kept the company of saints). And as there becomes increasingly fewer counterexamples in fiction for normalcy, then abnormality is seen as the norm by their readers.

    At any rate, this is a good example of the difference in past and present fiction. Sailor Moon clearly indicates that the strength of its protagonists is unnatural, and even embarrassing. Most fairy tales and even stretching into Victorian stories, you see clear acknowledgment of norms, even if they may be violated sometimes. What is unnatural is at least ugly, Faustian bargains lead to hell, and personal honor is all-important(even Fu Manchu and the heroes spare each other rather than break their words, even though it means great peril for their goals).

    Modern stories normalize abnormality and hold it as common and imply it is “within us all.”

    Certainly if you wish to impose normative, traditional values then, you must control the media which is ingested by the population.

  40. Toronto Russian says

    Agnostic wrote about the resistance of kids to ideology promoted by entertainment in the 1990s:

    The well received cartoon Captain Planet and the Planeteers, which ran from 1990 to 1992. Read the Wikipedia entry — it really was as propagandistic as it sounds. The heroes are from all races, while the villains are all white, although some are part-swine or part-rat. Seriously. The heroes are balanced for sex, while all but one of the villains is male — and even the female was made to be the scientific genius, just to sneak in some feminist nutjobbery for good measure. And of course all the heroes are young (although under the guidance of a hippie elder), while the villains are mean old grown-ups.

    No one gave a shit about recycling who watched the program — it was just cool to see good guys fight bad guys. The just-maturing boys were more interested in banging Gaia than saving the planet…

    In sum, none of these propaganda campaigns managed to influence us at all, even though we were glued to the TV when Captain Planet and Saved by the Bell came on. Pre-pubescent kids just don’t have to obsess over all the details of fitting in with their peers the way that adolescents do, so these efforts were doomed to fail. Now, if I were 15 or 16 when Saved by the Bell was on, I would’ve taken careful mental notes of what was verboten and been sure to avoid doing that in real life. Thankfully, I came of age after most of that insanity had died down.

  41. 19th century stories are normally weirder, and with weirder characters, than current ones.

    In current world, as a result of totalitarian governance of 20th century history, and of now social media – we have less tolerance for abnormality. Young people have pressure to ‘fit in’ and to conform to group thinking, and less tolerance for eccentricity and individual character, and independent thinking.This is reflected in the media consumed.

  42. reiner Tor says

    I don’t understand your point. Captain Planet as propaganda didn’t try to make children do recycling, its intention was to make them think that the bad guys are all white males, that good guys always have people of color and females among them (therefore, whites and especially white males are worse than anyone else), and that being against “the environment” is one of the greatest evils.

    These views did indeed gain currency since 1990, and I don’t think it’s implausible to think that it happened as a result of such propagandistic efforts as Captain Planet. (When I saw it I was already something like 14 years old and thought that the whole thing was cringeworthy, but not all propaganda efforts were so crude, and obviously I was already older than the target audience.)

  43. We thought it was absolute tripe when we were 8.

    Anybody who admitted to liking it was mercilessly bullied – as propaganda it was a massive own goal, and thank God it came along, or else we would have had a Green party government by 2014 at the latest.

    That said, I still crack up thinking about the time that the title character was incapacitated by one dirty look from Hitler.