A 1960s CHILD WATCHTOWER (PLEASE WRITE TO: A60sCHILDMAILBOX@aol.com)

" The More We Learn, The More We Realize Just How Little We Know, And How Much There Is Still To Be Learned " I come from the dramatic, revolutionary, albeit violent, yet 'magical' 60s. Opinionated and challenging, I write about current events, geopolitics, globalization, history, music, mainly classic rock, philosophy, pop culture, politics, religion, sociology, and anything else that defines the person which I am. 60s Child

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Location: Miami, Florida, United States

I belong to a special generation, the 'Baby Boomer Generation', all 70 million of us. Mine is the countercultural, culture-changing, music-influenced, society-altering, rebellious, and revolutionary generation which grew up during the dramatic and violent, while in many ways exciting and 'magical' 1960s. After all these years, I still feel totally identified with the 60s, as that decade defines me. Although I was both a participating and observing member of the 'flower generation', I am a conservative in my political and sociological principles. As much as I appreciated the freedom and radical liberalism of the 60s, I nevertheless did not support the anti-war movement. I am also Roman Catholic, and teach catechism. AS I CONSIDER THE MUSIC OF THE 60s AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE CULTURE, AND CONSIDERING THAT EVEN AFTER 40 YEARS IT RETAINS ITS POWERFUL ALLURE, I WISH TO SHARE SOME OF MY 60s FAVORITE GROUPS: ANIMALS, B.BOYS, BEATLES, B.GEES, B.S.&T, CHICAGO, CREAM, C.C.R., C.S.N.&Y, E.L.O., E.L.P., 4 SEASONS, G.F.R., J.HENDRIX, KINKS, LED ZEP, MAMAS & PAPAS, M.BLUES, R.STONES, R.ORBISON, S.& G., WHO, YARDBIRDS EMAIL: A60sCHILDMAILBOX@aol.com

Thursday, September 29, 2005

THE LATINIZATION OF CHINA

SO WHO'S CONQUERING WHOM?

Latin-American countries may be too willing to accept Chinese investments. But while some people raise concerns that China may be moving in and displacing the U.S. as Latin America's main trading partner, they may wish to re-think the other notion that China may also impose its cultural influence over this continent.

Most Chinese know little about Latin America, but their country is rapidly expanding trade, investment and diplomatic ties in the region, where knowledge of China is also lacking.

We may very well witness the substitution of "Duck Sauce" with.......... SALSA!!!!!!
On a recent Friday night, as quick salsa rhythms poured out of Beijing's hottest Latin dance venue, owner Zhou Junyi stood at the entrance and swiveled his hips to display his skill at salsa dancing.
He quickly looked embarrassed and gave up. I don't understand it,'' he blurted out. ``But it doesn't matter. I hire professionals.''

While China's trade and diplomatic relations with Latin America are surging, average Chinese know little about the region. Most Chinese have difficulty naming any Latin personalities or leaders other than singer Ricky Martin and Ronaldo, the Brazilian soccer star. But a small core of government officials is orchestrating a dramatic rise in Chinese investment in the region.

After a trip last November by President Hu Jintao to four Latin countries, China has opened the spigot to tens of billions of dollars in investment to nations such as Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. Beijing has become an obligatory stop for Latin presidents. Last year, 49 percent of all Chinese overseas investment went to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Yet China's interest isn't only trade. Chinese military officials are zipping back and forth to the region, Chinese police help keep the peace in Haiti, and Chinese diplomats are expanding their presence in Latin America.

`THE BEST OF TIMES'

''Presently, relations between China and Latin America are at the best of times,'' said Dong Jingsheng, an expert on Latin America at Beijing University. ``China's economy needs the resources of Latin America, such as oil and minerals.''

As China's economy opens up to the world, bits of Latin America are creeping into the nation's more cosmopolitan cities, from Brazilian barbecue restaurants to Argentine tango classes. A salsa dancing craze has also erupted.

Urban Chinese are experimenting with foreign leisure pursuits and foreign foods as never before.
''People prefer to enjoy foods with different flavors now,'' said Wang Hua, a saleswoman of imported foods, as she checked on deliveries at Churrascaria Beijing Brazil, where waiters clad in gaucho-style pants tucked into boots served barbecued meat from skewers.
Asked to name any Latin American celebrity or leader, Wang pondered long and hard. ''It's very far away,'' she said, stymied by the question.

''I know about [retired Argentine player Diego] Maradona, the soccer star, and about Ronaldo,'' responded a diner, Zhou Honghong, a college librarian.

LITTLE KNOWN

of knowledge goes both ways. Chinese who venture to Latin America say they find people familiar with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan -- especially consumer products from those nations -- but not China.

''Everybody knows Acer,'' said Wang Ping, a Latin American scholar at Nankai University in Tianjin, referring to the Taiwanese computer maker.

Yet, small Chinese communities exist around Latin America, most often along the region's Pacific coast -- most often descendants of migrants who came to the Americas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to toil in railroad and canal construction, landing in California, Costa Rica, Panama and Peru.

Curiously, the murderous Shining Path insurgency that arose in Peru in the 1980s was fighting to install a peasant dictatorship there, styled after the China of Mao Zedong. It was largely quelled by the mid-1990s after tens of thousands of Peruvians died.

Wang, an advisor to the government on Latin American affairs, said China and Latin America are so distant that little contact was even contemplated until recently.

LANGUAGE GAP

Even today, despite the boom in commercial links, few Latin diplomats speak Chinese with fluency, operating instead in English, which all Chinese study in school.

And while several major Chinese universities -- including Beijing University, Fudan University in Shanghai and Nankai University -- sponsor institutes studying Latin America, their academic offerings are scant.

So far this year, there are about two or three courses on Latin America, either in history, international relations or Spanish,'' said Dong, the Beijing University scholar.

Barely a dozen students focus on the region each year, although with the current boom in interest, ''it is very easy for them to get jobs in banks or diplomatic institutions,'' Dong said.
Latin American students studying in China are also rare.

''I'll tell you the truth. The professors and students think all we know how to do is to dance, drink, play soccer and mess around with women,'' said Erick Morales, a student at Beijing Science and Technology University from Sucre, Bolivia. ``They think Bolivia is a city in Europe.''
''It's worse,'' piped in Mariela Martinez, a fellow Bolivian. ``They think it's in Africa.''
Even so, Martinez, who lives in coastal Zhejiang province, said many compatriots back home ask her how they can send their children to China to study Chinese.

That's because the effect of China's economic juggernaut -- and its voracious appetite for crude oil, copper, tin, bauxite, iron ore, zinc, manganese and soybeans -- is rippling all the way to South America.

''China's economic growth is benefiting Latin America,'' Dong said. ``The price of primary goods in Latin America is rising.''

of the biggest beneficiaries is Chile. China became Chile's second largest trade partner last year, after the United States, as trade volume surged 52 percent to $5.5 billion. In the first five months of this year, Chile's exports to China leapt a further 55.6 percent. Chile and China are now negotiating a free-trade agreement.

China is also cozying up to oil-rich Venezuela. For the first time ever, in mid-June, a tanker with 1.8 million barrels of Venezuelan fuel oil set sail for China, part of a pledge to provide China with 30,000 barrels a day. As oil prices soar, such long-distance transport has become more feasible.

U.S. IS WATCHFUL

The boom in Chinese activity in Latin America has caught Washington's eye.

''We will be attentive to any indication that economic collaboration will feed political relationships that could run counter to our key objectives for the region,'' Roger F. Noriega, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, told a House of Representatives panel in April.
President Hu included Cuba on his four-nation tour of Latin America last November and announced sharply higher investments in Cuba's nickel sector.

But Dong, the Beijing University scholar, said China's relations with Latin America are oriented largely to trade and the need to secure raw materials.

ISSUES IRRELEVANT

Issues that bedevil U.S. relations with Latin America, such as drug trafficking, the fight against terrorism and threats to democratic rule, don't hinder China's ties to countries in the region, he said.

The two sides ''don't have ideological clashes,'' he said. ``There are fewer obstacles.''

1960s CHILD

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