Chinese Prejudice on Mr. Rem Koolhaas

Chinese Prejudice on Mr. Rem Koolhaas

Mr. Rem Koolhaas designed the headquater building[1]-[4] for CCTV, the core propaganda machine of Chinese Communist Party.  When he was criticized for this project, he replied: "alles wat we er tegen hebben een restant zou zijn van misplaatste imperialistische arrogantie"[1] "To say that China should have the same democratic politics as ours is imperialist arrogance" [6].

Rem Koolhaas was harshly criticized by writers like Ian Buruma[6], for this cooperation with the propaganda organ of the PRC government. Buruma said, "architects with a utopian bent, who dream of transforming not just skylines but the way we live, are natural suckers for totalitarianism."[6] "China is not remotely a socialist society. It is, in fact, one of the most rightwing countries in the world today, more rightwing even than Chile under Pinochet, where there were still pockets of organised activity not under the junta's control."

Qin Hui [13][14], a Chinese professor of Historical Economics from Tsinghua University, pointed out that there is a special type of racism, or prejudice, or "imperialism", whatever you like, which claims that people of certain nations or "cultures" are not eligible to basic human rights such as democratic civil rights, freedom of speech, etc.  He referred to South Africa in the "apartheid" era as an example, when the democratic government of the Boer people advised the black people to remain in traditional chieftain system.

  1. Koolhaas blijft voor ingewijden; http://www.archined.nl/news/3716.html (removed); http://lihlii.posterous.com/archined-koolhaas-blijft-voor-ingewijden
  2. Koolhaas Still for Initiates http://www.archined.nl/archined/3743.html
  3. rem koolhaas' cctv tower has a very bad reputation in china; http://www.danwei.org/architecture/rem_koolhaas_and_cctv_porn.php
  4. Twisted mouth - Chinese netizens' comments on Rem Koolhaas' CCTV tower; http://lihlii.posterous.com/cctv
  5. Ian Buruma: China's Burden; http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2009/04/ian-buruma-chinas-burden/
  6. Ian Buruma: Don't be fooled - China is not squeaky clean; The Guardian; Tuesday July 30, 2002; http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/jul/30/china.features11; http://www.webcitation.org/63qnAfuSY
  7. Ian Buruma: China's class ceiling; http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-buruma11-2009oct11,0,8205.story
    For the nation's growing economic elite, life is sweet. For dissidents and peasants, it's a different story.
  8. Ian Buruma: Lessons from Tiananmen; guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 3 June 2009 15.30 BST; http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/03/tiananmen-chinese-liberties
    The best way to remember those who died in the Tiananmen massacre is to reaffirm the Chinese people's right to civil liberties
  9. Delerious [sic] Beijing http://www.backspace.com/notes/2004/07/28/x.html
  10. interview with Rem Koolhaas http://www.icon-magazine.co.uk/issues/013/rem_text.htm
  11. Power Dressing http://www.frieze.com/feature_single.asp?f=1158
  12. lihlii: Recent News about Human Rights Lawyer Zhisheng Gao, CCTV new headquarter fire; Date: Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 12:05 AM; http://lihlii.posterous.com/090212-lihlii-cctv
  13. Qin Hui; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qin_Hui_%28historian%29
  14. Qin Hui: China's Slum Dwellers Need A Break; http://www.worldcrunch.com/china-s-slum-dwellers-need-break/2918

Date: Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 12:05 AM
Subject: Recent News about Human Rights Lawyer Zhisheng Gao, CCTV new headquarter fire

Dear friends,

Last time you asked me about the whereabouts and recent situation of the human rights lawyer Zhisheng Gao[1]-[8] who was closed off for a long time.  Recently there are news reports[7] on 8 Feb. about his recent abduction by the PRC government.  It was told in a news report that before the recent abduction from his inhabitancy, Mr. Gao was isolated from his friends and kept away from public media, but he could survive by working somewhere.  At the same time, some human rights organizations released a horrible description of the torture he suffered in the previous abduction in Sept. 2007 by the  secret agents.  It's not out of my imagination but I was still shocked.  This information about his suffering of ferocious torture was not released before, because the governmental mafia agents threatened him that he would be tortured again in front of his wife and children.  "You bastard will reach your end of life if you tell this to the outside world. These several masters will vent our angers on you at anytime.", shouted a tall bully repeatedly, with Gao's hair seized up when he was tortured [10].

I'm burnt by anger and worry but I have no way to help him.  What a shame!

In recent days there is another Chinese news which might be interesting to our journalist friends.  One of the main buildings of the new headquarter of the Chinese Central Television (CCTV) (the major propaganda tool of PRC government) was totally burnt by possible ignition of the fireworks that CCTV shot to celebrate the traditional lantern festival on Tue. 10 Feb.  The building on fire was a luxury 5+ star hotel built as part of the headquarter business park, together with some production facilities of the governmental TV subsidiary.  Messages, photos and video clips taken on the spot by amateur reporters propagated quickly through mobile phone, instant messengers, Youtube.com, blogs and twitter.com.  Although people payed sympathy to the casualty of dozens of fire fighters and construction workers, there is a prevailing public cheering emotion of schadenfreude jokes and insults on this accident, especially in audience comments on news websites, blogs and short message microblog services like Twitter.com.  A secrete order was revealed on twitter.com, claimed to come from the government to news agencies and website companies to restrict the exposure of this news, only use the official copy of news release and disable user comment functions of websites in order to sheer away the public humiliation.

Mr. Han Han, one popular young writer born in the 1980s, wrote in an ironical essay on his own blog: "Well about CCTV, I never expected that a media which is always telling the truth could ever have suffered such a disaster.  Is God without eyes?"  The original blog posts were removed very quickly by the China-based blog service provider.  But before that, copies were already re-published everywhere on the Internet.

A popular IT tech blogger Jason Ng imprecated internet censorship in his twitter message: "I believe in Karma.  When the government shuts down the eighth batch of websites in name of fighting 'vulgarism', it's the time that the office of the 'Illegal and Bad Internet Information Report Center' [which is a governmental organ in charge of Internet censorship] will catch fire [like CCTV now]." [12]

Shuguang Zhou, a famous self-educated network engineer, blogger and amateur journalist as known as "citizen journalist" collected amateur report messages promptly and published a summary report with extensive text, maps, photos and video links on Google's online Document processor and blog website , as what he claims "a practical field training of new media journalism" [11].  He has been giving tutorial, lectures and writing such courses to help journalists and potential journalists in universities to improve their skills for timely reports utilizing Internet and mobile communication technologies.

It's interesting that in discussions of this fire accident, most of the people agreed on using a common vulgar nickname "big trousers"[14] for the main building of the CCTV headquarter which was designed by the famous Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his team from OMA.  This might be because the unusual and expensive shape of the building looks like the bottom part of a human.  Some people even created mockery cartoons (Fig. 1) joking about the fire accident: "Don't worry! The trousers are still not burnt yet".  A lot of people even showed their apparent disappointment when they were confirmed that the main building "big trousers" was not burnt down as they wished.

I'm especially curious on what Mr. Koolhaas will think about the humiliation of his great masterpiece in China.  Some journalists tried to call OMA but failed to reach Mr. Koolhaas for comments [15].

Chinese Internet Joking about the Fire Accident of CCTV Tower Designed by Mr. Rem Koolhaas

Figure 1, Peace! The trousers are still not burnt yet"
From http://hexieshangan.blog.163.com/blog/static/899184972009110101944608/

[1] Human Rights Watch: Profiles in Courage, China's rights defenders, Chinese human rights advocates in jail, under house arrest or under police surveillance http://china.hrw.org/chinas_rights_defenders

[2] Human Rights Watch report, "A Great Danger to Lawyers": New Regulatory Curbs on Lawyers Representing Protesters (Dec. 2006) http://hrw.org/reports/2006/china1206/5.htm

[3] Human Rights Watch report, "Walking on Thin Ice": Control, Intimidation and Harassment of Lawyers in China (April 2008) http://www.hrw.org/reports/2008/china0408/10.htm

[4] Chinese Human Rights Defenders, "Lawyer Gao Zhisheng's Whereabouts Unknown, Feared Detained by Police" (9/25/07) http://crd-net.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200709/20070926234216_5799.html

[5] China: Arbitrary detention/Fear of torture and other ill-treatment: Gao Zhisheng (m) http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA17/004/2009/en

[6] Kerry Brown: Courageous Fighter, A review of A China More Just: My Fight as a Rights Lawyer in the World's Largest Communist State
By Gao Zhisheng http://hrichina.org/public/PDFs/CRF.1.2008/CRF-2008-1_Courageous.pdf

[7] Human Rights Lawyer in Arbitrary Detention; Joint statement by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Human Rights in China, February 02, 2009; http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/press?revision_id=123359&item_id=122844

[8] HRIC Statement on Gao Zhisheng's Sentence, December 22, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/32006

[9] Zhisheng Gao: Dark Night, Dark Hood, and Kidnapping by Dark Mafia, November 28, 2007 (English translation) http://hrichina.org/public/PDFs/PressReleases/2009.02.08_Gao_Zhisheng_account_ENG.pdf

[10] ibid., Original Chinese text: http://hrichina.org/public/PDFs/PressReleases/2009.02.08_Gao_Zhisheng_account_CHN.pdf

[11] TVCC大火新闻专题报导 - 社会化媒体报道实战,新媒体实战教程 http://zhoushuguang.blogspot.com/2009/02/breaking-news-cctv_09.html

[12] 我相信报应的 http://twitter.com/jason5ng32/status/1199020127
[13] 请各网站只用新华社通稿 http://twitter.com/jason5ng32/status/1192378832
[14] Twisted mouth http://ubilibertas.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!E2818CD72B238DB0!173.entry

[15] ANDREW JACOBS: China TV Network Apologizes for Fire; New York Times; February 11, 2009 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/world/asia/11beijing.html?em

October 29, 2010
RT @yuanxinting: RT @mlhluo: 转:江湖上有此一说:央视新大楼充分说明,央视的新闻,姿态是下跪的;形式是扭曲的,内容是空洞的;表面是奢华的,立场是倾斜的;思路是混乱的。

Twisted mouth

Recently a lot of Chinese people insulted [2] one of great works of the famous Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the new CCTV headquater building (program center).

Some of them said that it looks like a Chinese character of "口 mouth", but twisted.  Others said it looks like the shape of trousers of a person who is sitting on a chair (or toilet bout).  So they joked the CCTV building as:

With a twisted mouth, of course they're not able to utter any straight (righteous) words.

CCTV 空洞的思想,扭曲的报道 扭曲的大楼 扭曲的媒体
CCTV inane thoughts, twisted reports.  Twisted building, twisted media

The twisted fact of CCTV is represented on the shape of the building, so vivid, hahaha...

CCTV的新大楼外观和它的报道风格很一置嘛 思想空洞 内容扭曲 真tm的形象 是哪位天使的天才设计啊!!!!!!!!!
The new CCTV building is really in accordance with its style of report!  inane thoughts, twisted reports, really fucking vivid.  Who is this talented designer?

I really admire that designer who looked through the nature of CCTV and made a good satire of CCTV in his work.

I feel that the new CCTV building is well designed.  Twisted, inane, represented the essense of CCTV in a very visual way.

很佩服该建筑设计师!讽刺的妙极了 深得我国人之心
I admire the designer of the building!  The satire is really cool!  He got the heart of our people!

The author above, you even dare to reveal this state secrete?  Pay attention not to be "harmonized [3]".

Throat and tongue [4] is a very scandalous name, but somebody put this pile of shit on his head proudly and regard it as a flower.

This is the future CCTV building.  It looks really like a "twisted mouth" "without teeth"[5], it's natural that nobody believes.

This throat and tongue won't have a future: It chooses to betray the people and the people abandon it as a worn shoe.

A pair of solid trousers, really funny!

Everyday I see this solid big trousers, really unlucky.

Big trousers, and the throat and tongue is in the middle of the crotch [6].

This time it's a true big trousers, because its designer is the famous Dutch architect -- Koolhaas (ku cha zi) [7]!!  So he can only design "ku cha zi"!

What a thing!  Beside the Imperial Palace, like a cringing person!!  Nondescript!  Where are the Chinese architects?  Does the fart of foreigners smell fragrant?  Wasting the money that people paid by tax!!

One of the "Four Monsters of Capital": The "Bird Legs".  Wasting man power and money of people and fucking forcing people to be displaced...

京城四大怪: 国家体育场——鸟巢, 中央电视台——鸟腿, 国家大戏院——鸟蛋, 中华世纪坛——鸟屎, 建筑设计者——鸟人
One of the "Four Monsters of Capital": National Stadium -- Bird Nest, CCTV -- Bird Legs, National Theater -- Bird Egg, China Centry Platform -- Bird Shit, Architecture Designer -- Bird Person [8].

The most misery of the Chinese nation is this monster CCTV.  It robs people's money to wash people's brain.

I hate this CCTV to death! They spend our money while speak for a small group of people.

Take a look of how splendid the CCTV building is, and you will know how tragic the Chinese people were cheated.

The splendid appearance can't cover up the extreme emptiness inside.

Shameless CCTV, Shameless government


[1] http://designcrack.com/v2/2006/10/24/the-cctv-headquarters-by-rem-koolhaas/

[2] 『天涯杂谈』 CCTV大楼比BBC气派一百倍,影响力却只有BBC的百分之一
2008-7-12 16:22:00 "Tianya By-talk" CCTV building is 100 times more splendid than that of BBC, but its influence is only 1/100 of BBC

[3] 和谐, harmonic.  Because this word is often used by the official propaganda to beautify the reality of the Chinese society, people make fun of this word as a verb "harmonized", which in fact means "censored", "shut up", "removed (internet messages, blogs)", "kidnapped", "put in jail".

[4] Throat and tongue: The PRC government calls the media controlled by the CCP as "the throat and tongue of the Party and the people".  In direct words, it means the propaganda organ of the government.

[5] "without teeth" in Chinese sounds the same as the word "shameless".

[6] The "crotch" of trousers in Chinese sounds the same as the word for political party, which in China has the default meaning of Chinese Communist Party.
    "The middle of the crotch" in Chinese sounds the same as the abbreviated phrase "Central [Committee] of the Party".  So this joke means the new CCTV building looks like a big trousers, and the "throat and tongue", ie, the propaganda organ of the CCP lies at the crotch of trousers, where the asshole locates.  This means, what the CCTV says are farts.

[7] The Chinese word "ku cha zi" sounds similar to Koolhaas.  It's a vulgar word for "trousers".
[8] "Bird Person" in Chinese is an abusive slang, which means "bastard". "bird" in Chinese has a slang meaning of penis.
[9] Ian Buruma: Don't be fooled - China is not squeaky clean; The Guardian; Tuesday July 30, 2002  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/jul/30/china.features11