-  Roderick Graham Murray
news. If you don't know who this man is, here is a brief
re-cap: Last August, barrister Roderick Graham Murray was suspended
from practice for six months by the Hong Kong Bar Association for
professional misconduct. (HKBA)
Specifics acts cited were (1) being late for court proceedings; (2)
interrupted proceedings by way of inappropriate comments, laughter, gestures
and hand clapping; (3) wore sunglasses during court proceedings; (4)
appearing in court intoxicated; (5) falsely represented to a newspaper
reporter that he had had a sexual relationship with the presiding
Judge. Two months later, he broke two bottles of liquor at a
supermarket and was sentenced to probation. In July this year, he got
into a fight with two police officers outside a McDonald's in Mui Wo and
destroyed three restaurant chairs. This case is scheduled to be tried
on September 30. Meanwhile, he is out on bail.
Yesterday, Roderick Graham Murray appeared in court and asked the judge to
reduce his bail. In his previous appearance, he had successfully
reduced his bail from HK$1,100 down to HK$500 already. This time, he
asked the judge to reduce the bail from HK$500 to HK$100 because he needed
the money. The judge rejected his request. Another barrister was
kind enough to lend him HK$500.
-  International
Blog Day. Via InMediaHK,
quoting Nir Ofir: "In one long moment on August 31st, bloggers from all over the world
will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs, preferably, blogs different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog
surfers will find themselves leaping and discovering new, unknown
Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers." Here
is my list of five blogs from other cultures, but I do share their
- Blood & Treasure
(Manchester, United Kingdom)
- Language Hat (USA, but
- Mon Journal de Chine -
Pierre Haski (France)
- The NarcoSphere
- Public Opinion
-  The Enemy Of
My Enemy Is My Friend. This Taipei
Times article is not strange in itself as it came straight from the
Central News Agency: "Nearly 10,000 people turned out for a rally in Taichung City yesterday supporting those
'wishing to renounce their membership' in the Chinese Communist Party
(CCP) ... the number of withdrawals from the party had accelerated and was expected to top 4 million soon, said Chen Chang-hui (陳昌輝), a spokesman for the Global Alliance to Say Goodbye to the CCP, the organizer of yesterday's
rally ... The group is a private organization based in Washington and was established by 91 smaller Chinese groups across the US last December.
Other participants [included]... Hwang Kun-hu (黃崑虎), chairman of the pro-independence Friends of Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) group."
What is strange here is that someone inserted the following underneath the
headline -- "DENUNCIATION: Thousands marched in Taichung in support of China's democratization and human rights in an event whose organizers are linked to the
F----* G---." A screen image has been saved here.
What is being denounced here? The marchers? China's
democratization? Or the Far Loon Goon?
Read the sentence and take your pick.
-  Baidu
vs. Google. China
Daily has a report on the CNNIC survey which gave Baidu shares of
52%, 44% and 48% versus Google shares of 33%, 38% and 28% in Beijing,
Shanghai and Guangzhou respectively. Wait, but it is not so simple as DoNews
has more from the CNNIC survey.
In Beijing, the search engine market is dominated by teachers/students at
44% followed by corporate users at 33%. Baidu has a 66% share among
teachers/students whereas Google only has a 26%. By educational level,
Baidu has 58% among junior secondary students, 71% among senior secondary
students, 73% among university students, 58% among university graduates, 40%
among masters students and 25% among doctoral students. By age, Baidu
has a 63% share among persons under 25 versus 24% for Google; for persons 25
or older, Baidu drops down to 40% while Google goes up to 43%. Among
persons 25 or older with a university degree and monthly income more than
3,000 RMB, Baidu has 28% while Google has 59%. The differences are
attributed to the search engine tasks that different people do: Baidu is
stronger for music, photographs, games, software and movies, but Google is
stronger at web page queries, dictionaries and business applications.
-  Television
Ratings Landmark. (Media
Post) Which is the highest rated television station for prime
time in the New York City? It must be one of the flagship local
network affiliates such as WABC, WCBS or WNBC, right? Wrong! For
the July sweek period, the Spanish-language Univision affiliate WXTV led in
the all important adults 18-49 and 25-54 demographics. The top rated
program among 18-49 is its telenovela La Madrastra. New York
City is only 24% hispanic, but the hispanic viewers gravitate towards this
main Spanish-language station whereas non-hispanic viewers are dispersed
among the English-language stations. In Los Angeles, Univision
affiliate KMEX has been number one during prime time for some time.
By the way, this is more than television ratings. It can be about a
political election. It is entirely possible for a candidate for a
minority group to win because the votes are split among multiple candidates
within the majority group. (BBC
News) In 2002, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada won the Bolivian
presidency with 22.46% of the vote, followed by Evo Morales at 20.92% and
Manfredo Reyes Villa at 20.92%. (BBC
News) In October 2003, Sanchez de Lozado was brought down by
mass protests and fled to the United States.
Taking things for granted. In Baghdad and then in Beirut, I read of the latest “anti-terror” laws of Lord Blair of Kut Al-Amara. Of course, of course. After suicide bombers on the London Underground, what else do we expect? Our precious capital and its people must be protected. Having been three or four trains in front of the King’s Cross tube that exploded on July 7, I take these things seriously myself. And were I back on the London Tube today, I’d probably be trying to avoid young men with backpacks — as well as armed members of the Metropolitan Police. And after all the panjandrums in the press about our wonderful security forces, I’d also be taking a close look at these fine and patriotic folk. These are the men (and women?) who lied to us about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
These are the chaps who couldn’t get a single advance trace of even one of the four suicide bombings on July 7 (nor the un-lethal ones a few days later). These are the lads who gunned down a helpless civilian as he sat on a tube train.
But hold on a moment, I say to myself again. The July 7 bombings would be a comparatively quiet day in Baghdad. Was I not at the site of the An-Nahda bus station bombings after 43 civilians — as innocent, their lives just as precious as those of Londoners — were torn to pieces last week. At the Al-Kindi hospital, relatives had a problem identifying the dead. Heads were placed next to the wrong torsos, feet next to the wrong legs. A problem there. But there came not a groan from England. We were still locked into our July 7 trauma. No detectives are snooping around the An-Nahda bombsite looking for clues. They’re already four suicide bombs later. An-Nahda is history.
And it dawns on me, sitting on my balcony over the Mediterranean at the end of this week, that we take far too much for granted. We like to have little disconnects in our lives. Maybe this is the fault of daily journalism — where we encapsulate the world every 24 hours, then sleep on it and start a new history the next day in which we fail totally to realize that the narrative did not begin before last night’s deadline but weeks, months, years ago.
-  False
Advertising In The Tiger Meat Case. For the original story,
see the first part of The
Battle of the Turtle Eggs - Feminists versus Naturalists. (Yahoo!
News) Now that this has become a nationally prominent news
story in China, the government has taken notice. The local police
visited the restaurant, and the owner said that the so-called
'tiger meat' was actually donkey meat sprinkled with tiger urine. Lab
analysis results are due later this week.
Is there a crime in false advertising? Do the consumers need to be
protected? That is a tough question. Back in Washington Square
in New York City, it is noted that there are always marijuana dealers
hanging out. Why haven't the police arrested them? The dealers
whisper "grass? grass?" or "weed? weed?" to passerbys
and they are actually selling 'grass' and 'weeds.' Except these are
not marijuana and you can get as high as one inch off the ground if you jump
hard enough. What were the police going to do? Arrest them for
false advertising under the consumer protection law? How much sympathy
might a judge or jury have for consumers looking for marijuana or tiger
-  Income
Inequality in China. The Gini index in China has reached
0.45. What in the world does that mean? I have no idea, even
though I am a professional statistician.
Here is what I can comprehend: a very well-known photo.
P.S. If you insist on knowing about the Gini Index, here is a previous
-  The
Mystery of Wen Jiabao. You know the meme -- the Chinese
Communist Party leaders are a bunch of ruthless butchers who have
slaughtered tens of millions of Chinese citizens. Okay, so we got that
out of the way. Here is the question: Why do they do that? You
know the meme. They want to seize onto their power. Next
question: To seize onto their power in order to do what? This is where
it is usually stuck -- they want to seize onto the power in order to seize
onto the power, and this is obviously not intellectually satisfying unless
you think every one of them is Mao Zedong as portrayed in Jung Chang's
Now we get to the question of Wen Jiabao. What does he want? The
photo below (via Xici
Hutong) was taken during his recent field study trip in Anhui.
Here, he is having lunch at the Ma'anshan Steel Factory workers'
cafeteria. For his own meal, he insisted on paying four RMB as
required under the rules.
Was this an act for the public? Apparently not, because he is very
consistent and you can read a longer account about him in The
Chinese Peasant Study - Chapter
30. No, the man does not take five week vacations. And
there is no indication that he is a schemer or plotter either. So what
is his motive for being in the Chinese Communist Party? What does Wen
Jiaobao want? I don't know the answer to that question.
I do know that it is a bit too simple and naïve to think that all 70
million Chinese Communist Party members including Wen Jiabao are Mao
Zedong-clones. How then are you suppose to sort the good apples from
the bad ones, and how will you deal with them? Oh, I forgot, Mao
Zedong was the one who wrote about how not all landlords and capitalists are
bad and then he showed how to sort them out and deal with them ... whatever
Mao did, you just have to make sure that you don't do it.
-  Furong
Jiejie as Unsustainable Development. At RConveration,
in reaction to China Net Star Cries Censorship,
Rebecca MacKinnon ponders whether Furong Jiejie is being censored in China
or her 15 minutes of fame has expired. I regard the phenomenon as an
instance of unsustainable development. For proof, I offer the
following photographs. How long can you sustain your interest?
She needs is a career makeover. Fast. With due respect, I'm not
interested in Furong Jiejie's belly button ...
-  Segmentation
of Internet Portals In China. Are all Internet portals similar
and exchangeable? Of course, not. So how are they different
then? You'd have to pay someone to get that information.
Meanwhile, here are the results from the Super Girls song contest, for the
official SMS vote tally as well as Internet portal voting (via Xici
They don't have the same kinds of
visitors, do they?
-  Why
Do People Love Hong Kong. (Apple
Daily) In a survey of 986 respondents in Xing Qing Culture
magazines, 92% of the respondents said that they love Hong Kong and 8% said
they don't. Here are the reasons why people love Hong Kong:
- 70%: freedom
- 40%: convenient transportation
- 36%: the place where I was born and lived
- 35%: convenient for dining, drinking and recreation
- 33%: stable and prosperous
- 31%: uncorrupt society
- 30%: human rights and rule of law
- 18%: democracy
- 14%: unique local foods
- 4%: fashionable/trendy
- 3%: concentration of name brands
- 3%: center of attraction
Note: A Sing Tao commentator said that it was puzzling to see 70% for
freedom but only 18% for democracy when the two are usually linked
together. Please re-read the question: Why do you love Hong
Kong? I choose freedom because I have freedom. I don't love Hong
Kong for its 'democracy' because there isn't much here (in the sense of
universal suffrage). Get it?
- [Administrative Note] Someone out
there does not like what I have to say about Taiwan. Well, much of
what appears on ESWN about Taiwan is directly translated from publications
such as Apple Daily and The Journalist. I don't personally agree with
what they have to say. In fact, I am often annoyed and disturbed, but
I cannot pretend that they don't exist. I note that the English-only
reader can only access western media, China Post, Taipei Times and Taiwan
News, and that is hardly representative of what appears in the
Chinese-language media. I translate from Apple Daily because it is the
single most popular newspaper in Taiwan right now. There is no point
in rebutting this or that story on the details or the reasoning. The
real deal is to explain why such stories should be so well received by the
people of Taiwan. This is what they want to read and I, for one, do
not like where this is going and I want you to think about how this came
about. You should ought to figure out why this is happening.
-  Wars
of the Virtual War. (via InMediaHK)
The case is the slashing attack on a seven-year-old boy in Hong Kong.
Whatever else, Hong Kong does not lack Internet commentators/trolls.
Here is one: 唔好因為佢7歲就以為佢無辜先得口架!!
(translation: Do not think that he is innocent just because he is only 7
Here is more elaboration: 但係岩岩睇完新聞...話比之前都比人打過唔知幾多獲....我就o係道諗呢個小朋友係咩人.....因為我認為好人好姐唔會比人斬,仲要係7歲...佢又唔係比人打一獲.....之前都比人打過.......新聞仲好似提及個小朋友好似成日攪事...開始o係道諗個小朋友抵唔抵幫
(translation: I just finished watching the news ... they say that the kids
has been assaulted numerous times ... I wonder who this kid is ... I don't
think a good person will get slashed, especially a 7 year old ... he wasn't
just assaulted this time ... he had been assaulted before ... the news also
seemed to say that this little kid is a troublemaker ... I am beginning to
think that the kid does not deserve any help)
This must then lead to following comment: 我明白在網上世界嘩眾取寵是很有趣的事，因為沒有機會成本，大不了轉一個名和電郵地址而已，但這單新聞是發生在真實世界的實事，刀刃是鋒利的，小朋友流出來的血是鮮紅色的......不跟你們多說道理了，好好反省吧
(translation: I understand that it is a lot of fun to shock and outrage
people on the Internet, because there is no cost; at most, you get another
alias and e-mail address. But this news item occurred in the real
world where the knife blades were sharp and the blood flowing out of the kid
was bright red ... I don't want to talk with you people anymore.
Please reflect on yourselves.)
-  Horse's
Fart Culture in Taiwan. (Apple
Daily) More political football to kick around as anything and
everything is scrutinised for a potential scandal. It is alleged that
in order to permit President Chen Shui-bian and Premier Frank Hsieh to
inspect the Hsuehshan Tunnel, the Department of Transportation spent NK$16.5
million to build a temporary bridge and remove some steel structures on an
emergency basis just so the entourage can pass through. The legislator
who brought the subject up called this "horse's fart culture" (馬屁文化),
meaning "brown-nosing" or "kissing up to."
The instant Apple
Daily public opinion poll of 408 respondents found 81% think that
this was a waste, 10% think it is not and 9% with no opinion. On most
issues, opinions tend to fall along party lines. But this case as
presented is so egregious that it is difficult to imagine what the 10% is
thinking. Meanwhile, it was also time to interview some political
scientist to rehash the "deification" and "cult of the personality."
-  Fear
Daily) From the Hong Kong insurance industry association comes
the reminder that full auto coverage does not include damages due to
riots. Based upon prior experience, at the WTO MC6 meeting, extremists
will vandalize autos. Therefore, the association suggests that auto
owners should consider purchasing additional insurance. Auto owners
are also advised to listen to police reports carefully and avoid the
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Dick Lee and Secretary for Security Ambrose
Lee were both on radio. The police claimed that they do not have a
black list of banned demonstrators. However, the Immigration
Department will "scrutinise carefully" all entrants with respect
to "the tendency to disrupt social order" based upon questions
such as "Why are you coming here?" "Where will you be
staying?" and "How much money do you have on you?"
This is only August and the meeting is for December. If you don't
think that they can sustain the fear level, you are underestimating the Hong
-  Newspaper
Circulation Figures in Hong Kong. So maybe the circulation
figures are audited, but there are always unanticipated contingencies.
Daily) As a result of a dispute over delivery logistics with
the distibutor, scores of newspaper vendors in East Kowloon have quietly
refused to sell Apple Daily, Sing Tao, The Standard and Hong Kong Daily
News. Technically, the newspapers are there, but they are hidden
underneath Oriental Daily, Ming Pao, Sing Pao and others. If asked,
the newspaper vendor will say "Not available" unless this is a
What exactly is the nature of the dispute? Can the distributor please
get the newspapers out by 530am as before, as opposed to being more than one
hour late these days? And can the distributor please also get the
magazines out on time as opposed to two days later? This is not a
political persecution campaign, but just common sense demands. Yeah,
why is it so hard?
-  The
Chinese Peasants Study Libel Trial. With due respect, August
27 is the anniversary of the four-day trial without a verdict (see previous post).
What can the court be waiting for? This is a civil suit and the
verdict should be delivered within one week normally. Do they think that if they wait
long enough, this whole thing will go away by itself? That won't
happen if people like me keep bringing it up. If you are a blogger
too, I would ask you to post a happy anniversary note as well.
-  China's
Most Wanted Fugitive. (Mainichi)
China's most wanted man was back in a Canadian jail Friday after a refugee board found he had breached his release conditions by socializing with reputed Chinese mobsters while fighting extradition to his homeland.
Adjudicator Leeann King said Lai Changxing violated the terms of his release pending his extradition hearings.
Lai has been under house arrest, with strictly limited amount of time allowed out of the house. His attendance at the birthday party violated both the time limitations and the terms defining who he is allowed to socialize with.
According to Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board documents, the party was also attended by members of the Big Circle Boys, who are believed to be involved in the smuggling of drugs and people, as well as credit-card fraud and loan sharking.
According to the documents, "He felt an obligation under Chinese tradition to send a gift and would have been most unhappy if he didn't attend."
Why was it so important for people like Lai Changzing to mix with
gangsters? Easy as pie. A person flees to a foreign country with
hundreds of millions in ill-gotten gains in the midst of tremendous
publicity. This person will be the target of extortion by local
Chinese gangsters wherever he/she may be. The smart thing to do is to
seek protection from a local gang, for which a signficant payment is
expected for the service. The person is also at the mercy of the sense
of ethics of the protector, who may extract a very high price (see the urban
legends about the four most corrupt Hong Kong detective superintendants who
fled to Taiwan after the Independent Commission Against Corruption was
established). A person such as Lai Changxing was a business person in
China with no gangster connections; once he landed in Canada, he had to fend
off the sharks in the feeding frenzy. He couldn't trust any Hong Kong,
Taiwan or Chinese-Canadian gangs for protection, so he had to count on the
mainlander "Big Circle Boys." (note: Big Circle refers to
the city of Guangzhou; see this urban
-  River
Plate Hearts China. SLAM!
Sports: Argentina's River Plate has launched an official website in Mandarin to try and build a fan following among China's 1.2 billion people.
Club president Jose Maria Aguilar announced the debut of cariverplate.com.ar/chino with a Chinese diplomatic entourage at a presentation late Thursday.
Aguilar said the Mandarin-language site was the first by an Argentine club. The site also offered English beside Spanish. River joined crosstown rival Boca Juniors in the quest to tap into the increasingly affluent Asian market.
But will China heart River Plate? Or perhaps their cross-town rival
Boca Juniors instead? There is a more general question: How do fans
choose their soccer clubs? You will not be surprised to hear
socio-economic class has plenty to do with it, as I wrote in Brazilian
Football Fans. You may not be interested in Brazil or soccer,
but this is really an article about human rights and choices.
-  More
Politics From Taiwan. First up, there is this news headline
from Taipei Times: MOFA begs US not to forget Taiwan.
What does the word 'beg' usually mean? Is this what it has come down
Daily reports on the Tainan prosecutor referring three major
government-business-mafia corruption cases involving for than 130
individuals for trial:
(1) The Tainan City Council Speaker was prosecuted over a public works
project that involved NT$200 million in bribes. The prosecutor has
asked for a 17 year jail term, confiscation of NT$100 million in gains and
NT$100 million in penalties. Other legislators, government officials
and mafia are prosecuted as well.
(2) The Tainan City Council Vice-Speaker was prosecuted over his
family-run illegal futures, lottery and sports betting business.
The prosecuter has asked for a jail term of 3-1/2 years and fines of NT$1
million. His wife and son are prosecuted as well.
(3) The Tainan County County Speaker was prosecuted for land theft
and bid-rigging to the amount of NT$250 million. The prosecutor has
asked for a jail term of 4 years and 2 months and fines of NT$30
million. Other legislators, elected representatives and government
officials are prosecuted as well.
All three prosecuted parties are claiming innocence and political
persecution. Meanwhile, they will continue to function in their
official duties until as such time when they are convicted in court and
stripped of their civil rights. They will presumably be running in the
upcoming local elections again.
In a separate story, Apple
Daily provided a re-iteration of the worst cases of "Black
Gold" politics in Taiwan, showing that the local legislatures and
governments are run just like in Sicily.
- In 1996, the Changhwa County Council Vice-Speaker was the first
elected representative to be shipped directly by helicopter to Green Island
under the Chihping Anti-Gangster Program. However, he was found
innocent during a re-trial and regained his legislator status. After
ascending to the position of Legislature Vice-President, he continued to
monopolise public works projects and directed his subordinates to shoot and
- In 1994, the former Pingtung County Council Speaker ignored the fact
that his friend's mother was kneeling in front of him and begging him to
spare her son's life. In cold blood under the full light of day, he
fired dozens of bullets into his friend, just like in a gangster movie.
- The Kaohsiung City Council Speaker was involved in an election
bribery case as well as a tax evasion case for several hundred NT$ million,
and fled overseas. Even so, he was able to control the elections and
enabled his children to be elected.
- In 1998, the Chiai County Council Speaker was the subject of a
manhunt under the Chihping Anti-Gangster Program, but he was still
re-elected as legislator in the election.
According to an academic scholar, "Black Gold" politics is a
characteristic of local elections in Taiwan. For one thing, these
elections cost far too much and campaign donors (especially corporate owners
with gangster backgrounds) must surely have ulterior motives. This was
the cause for the prevalence of politician-business-gangster
-  More
Local Politics From USA. The preceding item was about local
politics in Taiwan. What about the USA? In thinking about it, I
live in New York City and I can certainly name the POTUS (George W. Bush),
my two US Senators (Hillary Clinton and Charles Schurmer) and my Congress
woman (Carolyn Maloney). But I have no idea who my NY State Assembly
person or my City Council representative are. That is rather unfortunate,
because all politics is ultimately local. It is indifference that led
to five methadone clinics being placed in my district because we don't know
about these decisions and we don't know how to object even if we know.
So it is a strange sight to walk on the street on Saturday mornings to
see drug addicts from all over the city converging here to get their dose of
-  More
Local Politics From Hong Kong. What about Hong Kong? In
thinking about it, I can name the Chief Executive (Donald Tsang) and the
four legislators in my West Kowloon area (Tsang Yok-sing, James To, Lau Chin-Shek
and Frederick Fung). I cannot name my district councilor and this is
actually understandable. The district councilor is normally the person
to whom you go to about moving a bus stop fifty feet down the road, or
organizing a field trip for senior citizens or similar matters. My neighborhood was just featured in
Week magazine with this map of the stars such as Andy Lau and Jackie Chan. With due respect, Andy Lau does not
take the public bus and Jackie Chan does not go on field trips with senior
citizens. All we want here is to be left alone and have our privacy
intact. If the district councilor shows up to reach us, we'd slam the door in
-  Translation
Example. I am reading the Chinese translation of Janet Wasko's
Understanding Disney. There are two translators listed (林佑聖，葉欣怡)
and then, somewhat unusually, there is a proof-reader being credited (王乾任).
There are numerous errors in the book in translating certain proper names
from English into Chinese. Some were obvious typographic errors that
the proof-reader missed (Jiminy Cricket, Philips Morris, Ratio Disney, ESPN
Ratio, Celerbration, New's Corp, Manhatten, White Snow and the Seven Dwarfs,
"Tron and the Black Hole", Olando, One Hundred And One Dalmation,
...). But there is one translation that was truly astonishing.
Here it is: The second largest advertiser in the United States is a company
known as 代理人與投機.
You scratch your head and you can't never figure out why you don't know what
may actually be
the largest global advertiser. Who is it then? Thankfully, the
English name is included: Proctor & Gamble. The term 代理人
means 'agent or representative' whereas the term 'proctor' is someone who
supervises (as in an examination). The term 投機
means 'opportunistic' whereas the term 'gamble' means 'bet or wager.'
So maybe this was not a perfect translation. But the most crucial point here is that the name of the company is Procter
& Gamble, named after its founders William Procter and James Gamble. If the
terms 'Procter Gamble' are googled, the proper name of the company in Taiwan
(where the book was published) can be
found to be 'P&G寶僑'.
It can't be that hard, can it?
-  Rumsfeld
Pronounces Taiwan To Be Sovereign Nation. (Taipei
Times exclusive from Charles Snyder in Washington DC; image
saved in case they delete or revise the page) "US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld described Taiwan as a
'sovereign nation' Tuesday, saying it was up to Taiwan to decide whether or not to buy the US$15 package of weaponry Washington has offered."
Quick, take this very cheap deal quickly!!! It's only US$15, for God's
sake!!! It beats giving those tens of millions to the Marshall
Islands, Vanunu, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador and other places that you
can't find on the atlas to get the same "sovereign nation"
P.S. I love Donald Rumsfeld. He made this website famous when he
declared where Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were located: (DefenseLink)
"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."
I love people with a sense of direction and complete command of the
knowledge about a situation.
-  An
Extreme Case of Eviction in Shanghai. (Observe
China) At 1 am on January 9, 2005, workers from a Shanghai
residential relocation company proceeded to set fire to a building to ensure
the eviction of all residents. They had intended to intimidate the
residents into signing agreements and moving out. Since 2004, there
had been 12 arson events at the location, in addition other tactics such as
breaking the windows, cutting off the electricity, gluing the keyholes,
ripping up the floors and roof. Unfortunately, a 70-year-old man and a
71-year-old woman could not get out and perished. Those two workers
have been given suspended death sentences after a court trial.
The words on the wall left behind say: "Use our lives to defend the
constitution; use our bodies to protect our private property; the government
must break from the eviction companies; collusion between government
officials and business people must be stopped."
-  The
Case Against Anonymity On The Internet (6Park)
On a certain morning, 20-something-year-old Guangzhou female resident Ah
Li's mobile telephone began ringing nearly non-stop. There were more
than 60 calls on the first day, and it has not stopped since. The
calls were all from strangers, and the messages were all disgusting filthy
talk. One person said, "Oh, you are Ah Li! I saw your
marriage quest on the Internet and your photo. I want to become your
friend." Ah Li yelled, "You've got the wrong number. I
am more than 50 years old and I'm already married." Ah Li cannot
turn off the telephone because she needs to use it for her job.
Ah Li got on the Internet to check out the website that published her
telephone number -- it was full of filthy language with the photograph of a
scantily clad female that was not her. That website has more than
2,000 pages that are related to 'unhealthy' proposals for relationships with
contact telephone numbers. The website even has a page for
people to complain about pornographic material, except there is no contact
information about how to actually do so.
Ah Li has reported the situation to the local police. According to a
lawyer, the poster and the website have civil liabilities. The poster
is anonymous and is therefore beyond the reach of the law. What was
the website supposed to do? Could they say that they are not
responsible when their users exercise their freedom of speech?
-  Why
Become A Journalist? (New
Yorker) What exactly are the American schools of journalism telling and
teaching their students?
Daniel Cappello: [Katie] Couric told you that she believes it is her responsibility as a journalist to explore and talk seriously about issues “that people need to know about to be informed citizens.” She then pursued an exclusive interview with Jennifer Wilbanks, the “runaway bride,” and defended it as a “terrific story.” Did you get a sense from any of the morning anchors that there was an internal conflict about what their journalistic mission is?
Ken Auletta: Most people don’t get out of bed in the morning believing they are going to do something tawdry. When they do, they rationalize it. At the networks—as throughout much of journalism—such rationalizations are commonplace. I don’t believe that Couric was lying to me when she said it was a “terrific story.” I believe she was lying to herself. An hour-long interview with the “runaway bride” is not why she entered journalism.
-  Two
Female Kidnap Victims in Shenzhen. In Nanfang
Daily, there was a truly horrible story about two working girls
being kidnapped by men and tortured. The description is explicit, but
there is perhaps no need to go further than two photographs:
The tatoo on the forehead reads "Prostitute Number One" and the
one on the back reads "I am a prostitute."
-  More
on the Meishan Riot. Yesterday, I wondered about the media
coverage of this 'incident' (The Meishan
Incident?). Why did it appear only in AP/Reuters but nothing
inside China? A reader has turned in a link from Zhejiang
Online: (translation) On August 14, some villagers at Meishan
town blockaded the entrance to a factory about an environmental protection
issue. For the next 6 days, the factory was shut down. On the
afternoon of August 20, the blockading villagers got into a fight without
other villagers trying to clear out the obstacles. At around 10pm, the
villagers vandalised the office building and set fire to the production
line. The fire was put out at midnight.
The ZJOL is the official party line statement, which usually refers to any
mass incident as having been due to 'a small number of people' who misled
the general public. However, thanks to thought education conducted by
the party leaders, the people now realized their errors. Blah blah
blah. Duh! Anyway, we can say for sure that there was some kind of mass
incident at Meishan.
-  Flash
For Apple Daily Online. (The
Sun) Printed newspapers are subjected to the
"Pornographic and Obscene Articles Control Regulations" in Hong
Kong. While T&A are still publishable, they would be subject to
restrictions (such as being sealed in plastic and forbidden to be sold to
minors). But what about the online edition of the same
newspaper? After all, there are some differences such as the ability
to use videos, Macromedia Flash, and so. But apparently, the identical
restrictions hold. In yesterday's Apple Daily, there was an article
about a licentious female. The photograph of the topless female had
the two naughty points blurred in the printed edition, but it was unblurred
in the online edition. As a result, one citizen filed a complaint with
the regulatory agency. If convicted, this would be the 57th time for
Apple Daily and 102nd time for the Next Media group.
-  ESWN
is being ignored. Notwithstanding the post titled Reading Ching Cheong,
the South China Morning Post continued to report on August 22, 2005: "Ching has been detained since April 22
when he returned to Guangzhou to collect transcripts of interviews conducted by
Zong Fengming , a former party official and long-time associate of late
Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang." This is definitive proof that
the SCMP editors and reporters do not read ESWN ... as if I give a damn one
way or the other ... after all, ESWN only makes fun of them in front of
6,000 people a day, so why should they care? I mean, they are
mainstream media and they don't care.
-  New
and improved incentive program for Chinese newspaper reporters.
Letter of Li Datong that denounced the China Youth Daily for allowing
the reactions of criticized officials to determine job appraisals for
reporters and editors? Here is something completely different in
People's Daily Net (via MediaInChina).
According to Zhejiang Province's "Temporary Regulations For Incentives
To Reward News Media For Forwarding Evidence Of Job-Related Crimes To Law
Enforcement", news reporters may receive between 1,000 RMB to 20,000
RMB for forwarding evidence of corruption/bribery, theft of public funds,
abuse of official power and/or violation of human rights after the case is
established to be factual. For the truly serious cases, the law
enforcement agency may in fact go above the 20,000 RMB upper limit.
Now this is the pendulum swinging in the other direction to the
extreme. Given those kinds of money, reporters don't even have to
worry about writing articles. Just go out there and dig, dig, dig ...
Afterwards, if reporters were rational economic beings, they would (1) confront the
subject with the evidence and demand a huge payoff to keep quiet; (2) if
there is no payoff, then forward the evidence to law enforcement for the
reward money; (3) if there is no reward, then write an article for the
newspaper; (4) if the article is killed, then forward the information to an
overseas dissident website.
-  Equal
justice for all A common saying in Chinese: 在法律之前人人平等
("in front of the law, all people are equal"). Anatole
France wrote: "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."
-  The
Meishan Riot? The usual mode of operation here is that I would
translate a quick breaking report on a 'mass incident' published in Chinese
(either mainstream media or Internet) and then it will be weeks, if not
months, that the information appears in the western media. The delay
factor has less to do with information access by the western reporters,
because they can read the same things that I do; instead, it has more to do
with painstaking fact-checking because they would not want to report any
Internet rumor as fact. But here is an exception in which the process
From Audra Ang in Associated
Press: Protesters demanding the closure of an eastern China battery factory they say is spewing lead into the environment clashed with police, and dozens of people were injured, witnesses and hospital officials said Sunday.
After the initial melee with police, thousands of demonstrators torched police cars and broke into government offices, witnesses reported.
Saturday's violence began after a large crowd gathered outside the Tian Neng Battery Factory in Meishan, a town in Zhejiang province, to demonstrate against lead pollution, said a villager, who refused to give his name for fear of retribution.
"Police fired tear gas into the crowd and beat innocent bystanders," the man said in a telephone interview. "I also saw some ambulances go through the area to pick up injured people."
He could not give an estimate of how many demonstrators were involved except to say there were "many, many people."
At the emergency ward of the Changxing County Hospital, a woman said between 60 and 70 people were treated Saturday for minor injuries related to the incident. She said most had been discharged, but she refused to provide any other details or give her name.
Another man, who did not want to give his name for fear of retaliation against his family, said about 1,000 police officers later went to villages and harassed and beat the participants, injuring at least 10 people. The police were holding shields and wearing helmets, he said.
The man, who said he was told about the incident by witnesses, said up to 5,000 residents retaliated later that night by "breaking into government offices and burning police cars."
Telephones either rang busy or were not answered Sunday at the factory, Meishan police and government offices. A man who answered the phone at the Changxing County government office, which oversees Meishan, said he had "never heard of the case."
"Chinese protesters set fire to factory buildings and police cars in a clash sparked by toxic waste, police and residents said on Monday.
"It's very serious. There was a clash between protesters and the police. Some people were injured," said an employee of the post office in the county of Meishan who declined to be identified. Calls to the factory went unanswered and an official at the county government said he had not heard of any violence.
But a police officer in Meishan acknowledged there had been a protest, saying police had rushed to the scene to maintain order. She refused to give further details.
"A lot of children in our area have too much lead in their bodies and it will greatly affect their growth," said a receptionist at a Meishan hotel surnamed Han.
"People burnt the factory. The office building, workshops, and the factory's products were all set on fire," she said.
Four police cars had also been set alight, she said, adding there was heavy security presence in the area and police were rounding up suspects.
So how is it possible that there is absolutely nothing about the Meishan
riot in Chinese? Nothing in mainstream media, BBS's and forums in
China, perhaps understandably so. But nothing in the overseas
dissident sites either, and they would have given such an incident full
play. You can go back and read the two reports carefully and look at
the sources of information. Think about whether you consider them
-  How
Hong Kong citizens perceive their local news media. (HKU
POP) Survey results from 1,001 persons interviewed between
August 5-9, 2005. Droll thing about freedom -- 64% think the local
news media had given full play to the freedom of speech, but 66% think they
had misused/abused the freedom of press (see this previous post Media Monitoring in Hong
- 20%: perceived the local news media to be
responsible in their reporting
- 34%: perceived the local news media to be irresponsible in their reporting
- 64%: perceived the local news media had
given full play to the freedom of speech
- 26%: perceived the local news media had not given full play to the freedom
- 66%: perceived that the local news media
had misused/abused the freedom of press
- 20%: perceived that the local news media had not misused/abused the freedom
- 40%: perceived that the local news media
had practised self-censorship
- 40%: perceived that the local news media had not practised self-censorship
- 32%: perceived that the local news media
had scruples when criticizing the HKSAR government
- 60%: perceived that the local news media had no scruples when criticizing
the HKSAR government
- 60%: perceived that the local news media
had scruples when criticizing the Central Government
- 28%: perceived that the local news media had no scruples when criticizing
the Central Government
-  More
fantastical defense strategies in the Zhao Yan case. The most
detailed coverage of The
Trial About Chinese Tourist Zhao Yan has to be the local newspaper
Buffalo News. Still, I am flabbergasted by this post in the unsourced 6Park:
(Translation) Defense counsel Cohen believes that "Zhao Yan could
have been a
terrorist, and her handbag could have contained a suicide bomb."
An observer believes that this assertion is totally absurd as the defense
counsel wants to use rumors to influence the jury decision-making. The
observer is concerned about the defense counsel presenting these rumors as
court evidence for the defense, and such rumors may indeed affect the
support for Zhao Yan among the jury members. As I say, all eyes in
China on how this case unfolds. The type of behavior described here is
somehow putting the victim on trial, and will be duly noted in China.
It just makes it infinitely difficult to sell the 'democracy' brand in this
This is same problem that people are having with the Nancy Kissel
trial. Is she on trial for killing her husband? Or is her
defenseless and dead husband on trial for bad behavior that brought on his
much deserved demise? And he cannot even mount a defense of his own
name. Why is it normal that the alleged victim must go
through hell under this judicial system that grants all benefits of doubt to
-  A
contemporary big character wallposter. (Beijing Times via Yahoo!
News) A fed-up Mrs. Zeng living in a ground floor Beijing
apartment finally let the neighbors see the writing on the wall: "The
tenants on the upper floors pay attention: Please put away your used condoms
carefully. Do not flush them down the toilet, because it may affect
the hygiene of the people downstairs." Mrs. Zeng had been unable
to flush her toilet properly, and the maintenance workers found that it was
due to the large number of condoms clogging the pipes. After personal
advice had no effect, she was forced to go public.
-  A
memorable brand name. This is the name of a fashion store in
China. Literally translated, "Her grandmother's bear."
The well-understood colloquial meaning cannot be published on this site
without losing our family-friendly rating. Very memorable, indeed.
The shop employee explained: "We used this very striking name in order
to attract people's attention and memory." When asked "Does
your clothing line have anything to do with panda bears? And is it
really necessary to use this name to present yourself?" the shop
employee said: "There is no connection with panda bears. Anyway,
it is about making the name unforgettable." Some customers said:
"This name implies a term of insult to us and makes us quite
uncomfortable. If a weird and unhealthy shop name can exist, it causes
serious chaos in the street and it damages the name of our city."
Someone then got into contact with the boss and within moments, three
workers came around and took the store sign down. Once again, people
power triumped and we are all happy ... for the moment ...
-  How to
solve a diplomatic problem (given the regrets of going to war in
Matters) Pat Robertson, host of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition of America
on President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela:
There was a popular coup that overthrew him
[Chávez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken;
Chávez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.
You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.
Is this a terrorist threat? Or an
exercise of freedom of speech? Now plug in the name George W. Bush for
Hugo Chávez, and the U.S. Secret Service will be paying the speaker a visit.
P.S. It is a federal felony to use instruments of interstate or foreign commerce to threaten other people. The statute is clear, and simple.
Title 18 of the United States Code, Section
875(c), states: "Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."
- [Administrative note] My mysterious
problem with accesing blogspot websites via i-Cable in Hong Kong has this
Groups via the wonderful Sidekick): IE / Firefox => 工具
=> 選項 =>
一般 => 連線
=> 手動設定 Proxy => HTTP Proxy:
Proxy.i-cable.com Port: 8080.
Are they f*cking nuts at i-Cable? Do their engineers have too much
time on hand? Obviously, they must be.
Heaven forbid that they won't even allow access to Apple Daily. What
will I do with my life ...?
-  Jury
service terms. While researching the Hong Kong jury system re:
the Nancy Kissel trial, I noted the following (Judiciary.gov.hk):
"A resident of Hong Kong is eligible to serve as a juror if he/she (1) has reached the age of 21 but is not yet 65;
(2) is of a sound mind and has no disabilities such as hearing or visual impairments that might prevent him / her from serving as a juror;
(3) is of good character, and (4) has sufficient knowledge of the language of the court proceedings (Chinese or English as the case may be)."
Hmmm ... what do they mean in (3)? How would they know anyway?
Maybe that explains why I am not on the jury roll ...
And then there is the question of exemption. In New York City, one
used to be able to write in and get an automatic deferment up to seven
times. So it was that I got my seven deferments. On the eighth
call-up, which in theory I could no longer defer upon pain of jail term, I
was physically present in Hong Kong and obviously could not attend. So
I sent in photocopies of my passport pages and got an eighth
deferment. In Hong Kong, you can get exemptions up front (see Legislation.gov.hk)
by being a special person such as the spouse of a consul of a foreign state,
or the Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, or the
editor of a daily newspaper, or a pharmacist, or an imam of a Muslim
congregation, or a airplane pilot, or a wireless telegraph operator and so
on. And even if you couldn't get out on that basis, you can still be
exempted in court for specific reasons related to the case (e.g. personal
acquaintence with a witness, etc). But in New York City today, you
couldn't get exempted even if you were the Mayor or the New York State Supreme Court Chief
Here is another interesting factoid from Hong Kong: "A juror who has attended in response to a jury summons will not normally be summoned again within 2 years."
The same 2-year-rule applies in New York City. However, I am currently
on an eight-year hiatus, because my last stint as a grand juror for the
Manhattan Narcotics Division went on for four full weeks. Note that
the statement from Hong Kong says 'normally' and that means exceptions also exist. My mother shares the all-time record, as she got a lifetime
exemption from further jury duty in Hong Kong after serving on one
trial. That trial falls into category of 碎屍案
("a case of a dismembered body") and that jury was shown graphic
photographs of the 28 (I think that was the number) pieces of the victim and
they were excused for life in consideration of the psychological trauma.
My mother does not discuss that case, in spite of the persistent pestering
from her son who was terribly interested ...
Postcript: The Nancy Kissel jury got a 15-year exemption afterwards.
-  Do not stop on the
roadside to relieve yourself. (Apple
Daily) More blood-and-gore guaranteed to sell copies. In
Taichung, two men stopped the car by the roadside to relieve themselves, and
were murdered execution style. When found, the two still had their
zippers undone and the car engine was running. Both men had criminal
records (murder, robbery, narcotics, kidnapping). While they were
unemployed, they appeared not to have any money problems.
Due to the cold-blooded nature of these murders, a criminal investigator
said that the murderers probably had received military training and (in the
very standard way of phrasing these things) "it cannot be precluded
that this was perpetrated by Big Circle Gang (大圈仔)
members who had received training in the People's Liberation Army."
Under the Military Service Law in Taiwan, all males must serve two years in
the military, with 2 months of basic training and 22 months with their
assigned units. Are we now to assume that their military training is
worthless, for none of them are capable of shooting people? No.
So the deal here must be that Apple Daily wants you to be very afraid of the
cold-blooded killers from China. This is tabloid journalism and it
-  More
WTO MC6 news. In SCMP, Jimmy Cheung wrote: "On Saturday, Police Commissioner Dick Lee Ming-kwai warned that protests such as setting fire to a consulate or a company office would not be tolerated."
Ahem ... I sure hope that setting fire to a consulate or a company office
would not be tolerated, and I don't think that there is too much dissent
about that. No, what Dick Lee said was that protest banners
calling for specific acts of violence such as setting fire to a consulate or
a company office would not be tolerated. However, you can still have
banners like "Down with the imperialist pigs" and so on.
The SCMP article quotes Confederation of Trade Union legislator Lee Cheuk-yan:
"The Hong Kong police lose no time in jumping on the opportunity to demonise civil society as organisers of violent protests, and whipping up anti-protest sentiment.
This is foul play and unfair. It also diverts attention from the real issues [such as those relating to the WTO]. We are also worried that this is a tactic to implant the wrong impression of the protesters in the minds of the public to justify rough handling and suppressing the protests."
He pledged to organise non-violent protests to arouse public awareness on issues such as job losses and poverty as a result of liberalisation.
-  More
strange public restroom tales from Hong Kong. (Ming
Pao) Last night, a 36-old-female named Wong went into the
public restroom at the intersection of Shanghai Street and Market Street in
the Yaumati district. Suddenly, two men jumped out and used a
chloroform-soaked towel to render her unconscious. When she woke up,
she found out that her mobile telephone and $2,700 cash were missing.
She went down to the police station to file a report.
Got it? But you have to remember that this is Hong Kong, and you
cannot trust any newspaper. So here is the addendum. (Sing
Pao) Upon understanding the circumstances of the case, the
police believed that Wong had 'bad habits' (this is an euphemism for drug
addiction). Furthermore, Wong claimed to have entered the public
restroom at 10pm but she woke up at midnight, so she should have seen by any
other citizen using that restroom during those two hours. Therefore,
(and here we have the strange newspaper language) the police does not preclude the possibility that there are other
- [Administrative note] I live in Hong
Kong, I use Cable TV broadband and for the past two days I've been
'bloggered' (i.e. no blogspot sites were visible). I don't know if
this is a problem with 'blogger' or if my ISP is filtering. I don't
care, I'll just get over it. My advice to the rest of the world: get
your own domain name and take control of your own fate. Then, if
'they' filter you, it will be a badge of pride! Finally, if and when
that should ever happen, you know that
-  QQ
tanks after registration? (ObserveChina)
[summarized translation] The largest instant messaging service in
China -- Tercent QQ -- claims to have more than 100 million users but after
the registration requirements in July, tens of thousands of users have fled,
with the white-collar workers migrating to MSN. The Chinese
authorities do not have the ability to blcok international chatting systems
such as MSN, Skype, Yahoo Messenger and so on, which have gotten many more
Chinese professional netizens even as QQ users have tumbled. This will
be significant for Tercent, which is a public company listed on the stock
market. According to certain Chinese IT experts, the number of MSN and
Skype registered users have increased dramatically, and it is more common
for netizens to leave MSN addresses. Only teenagers continue to use
QQ. Technically speaking, MSN v.7.0 has better features than QQ anyway
and there is no reason to return to QQ.
BLOGGER'S WARNING: I have no idea how ObserveChina could know about user figures
on QQ versus MSN other than anecdotal evidence. Mark this one down as
-  Wiki
marries Malice. (InMediaHK)
This is largely in Chinese, but it has generated plenty of comments.
Basically, it is the worst thing possible on the Internet -- a combination
of technology and malice. It is an anonymous forum where people use
Wiki to do oppo research (e.g. dig up private dirt, make up outright lies,
etc) on others. And these others are not even public figures but just
other virtual celebrities such as web radio hosts, web commentators,
bloggers, etc. You may think this is entertaining until you
become the subject and you will not be amused. If you want a reason to impose regulations on the
Internet, this is one. Uggghhh!
-  (Journal
News) Former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer said today that Jeanine Pirro does not have a "Chinaman's chance" of getting the Conservative Party's nomination for U.S. Senate, sparking criticism from Asian-American groups that consider the term offensive.
"That level of racial insensitivity says something about our elected officials," said Glenn Magpantay, staff attorney for the New York City-based Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
When a caller to the program later questioned Spencer about his use of the phrase, the former mayor insisted it was not derogatory and referred to the experience of Chinese immigrants in building the nation's railroads.
"It's an often-used cliche by talking heads all over the media," Spencer afterword in a telephone interview with The Journal News. "It is not derogatory at all and anyone who says it is is being a little bit political, I guess."
Advocacy groups disagreed, saying the term dates back to the late 19th century and has come to symbolize the racism and oppression faced by Chinese immigrants.
"'Chinaman's chance' refers to a sad period in American history when Chinese immigrants had little chance of survival in helping to build the nation's railroads on the West Coast," said Pradnya Joshi, president of the New York Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association., who was attending the group's national convention in Minneapolis today.
Continuing with a listing of my dissatisifaction with the Hong Kong media
coverage of the WTO MC6 (Sixth Ministerial Conference):
Police Commisioner Dick Lee was on Commercial Radio's "Saturday
Politics and Economics" program and said that the police has received
an application from the WTO alliance for three days of demonstrations.
He emphasized that the police will not permit any placards or banners that
advocate violence. For example, "Burn the XX headquarters",
"Kill XYZ", "Burn the XX Consulate" are inflammatory and
threatening, and the police will arrest any demonstrator and/or prosecute
the organization. However, "Oppose the government" and
"Oppose one-party rule" are not restricted.
Daily) The Hospital Authority has ten steps in place for the WTO:
1. If the demonstrators block the traffic to the hospitals, they will set up
an emergency medical station inside the Convention Centre itself
2. If necessary, medical personnel will be sent out to the scene to provide
3. Procedures have been established to handle foreign casualties
4. Increase hospital security
5. Command will be assumed by a professional and operations staff, and they
will have a major incident coordination network center
6. They will plan with the Fire Department on where to send the injured.
7. All leave will be cancelled for emergency medicenter personnel at various
hospitals on Hong Kong islande.
8. All non-emergency medical service will be reduced at those hospitals with
9. Experienced emergency medical personnel will staff medical assistance
10. Contingency planning will be made in the event that the information
systems are disrupted.
(XinhuaNet via Wenxue
City) One morning in Dengfeng City (China), the public
security bureau director was looking at a mass of peasants on a petition
mission. The peasants looked glum and sad. The director was duly
concerned and listened carefully. It turned out not to be about land
acquisition, pollution, official abuse, gangsters or any such. The
people wanted to get their names changed. Once upon a time many
centuries ago, the people in the village went by the name 敬
(jing). Unfortunately, that name was also used by an Emperor, and they
had to remove the 文
(wen) on the right hand side and ended with the name 苟
(gou). Even more unfortunately, this name sounds the same as the word 狗
(gou), which means dog. For centuries, they have been addressed as Mr.
Dog, Mrs. Dog, Ms. Dog, Little Dog, Old Dog or even "Woof Woof",
and they are sick of being social outcasts. So they are petitioning to
have all their names changed back to the original 敬
(jing). Yes, the massive name change will take place and then the
people will be
holding a celebratory party.
-  [Permalink]
Here are the latest arguments in the case of the beating of Chinese tourist
Zhao Yan at Niagara Falls (see the post The Chinese Tourist Zhao Yan).
see also Buffalo
The defense lawyer Steven Cohen has asked the court to bar the use of
photographs of Zhao Yan's bruised face as evidence shown to jurors.
The reason is that one cannot determined from photographs alone that Zhao
Yan had been assaulted. Defense lawyer Steven Cohen used the testimony
of New York State licensed doctor Eric Davis who said that his experience in
the emergency ward showed that pepper spray can also cause the same type of
bruises on the face, and therefore it would be prejudicial to show Zhao's
photographs to the jury.
So which do you believe? Your own lying
eyes, or the testimony of a paid-for 'expert witness'? Besides, what is the
difference between causing those injuries by punching or kicking or using
clubs or applying pepper spray?
P.S. Thanks to a tip from JR, I found out that ESWN was mentioned by Buffalo
News: "What happened to this woman?" EastSouthWestNorth, a Hong Kong Web site, asked in posting photos of Zhao. "Was she the victim of domestic violence? Was she in a train wreck? Was she the victim of a mugging?"
(Washington Post via SFGate)
Philip P. Pan wrote: "Police in China's northern Shaanxi province have arrested one of the nation's leading advocates of private property rights, after officials posed as journalists and forged an e-mail from a prominent Hong Kong reporter to lure him out of hiding, friends and relatives said."
This statement is at variance with the one in Yazhou Zhoukan (translated in the
the Media), in which officials posed as a CCTV reporter. It would
seem that CCTV will have much more impact than a Hong Kong reporter,
prominent or otherwise.
-  In this
week's Next Weekly (Hong Kong), there is a follow-up on former vice-chairman and chief executive of Bank of China (Hong Kong)
Liu Jinbao, recently given a suspended death sentence in China for
embezzlement. Named among his connections was Sandy Mo, for whom Next
Weekly gave a full description of her famous Beijing parties as well as
her introduction of Liu Jinbao to many important people.
Standard) Sandy Mo, the former general manager of Shanghai Land Holdings on trial for alleged fraud and conspiracy, has denied she received financial aid from jailed banker Liu Jinbao.
Mo, the wife of jailed former Shanghai Land chairman Chau Ching-ngai, in an announcement in several Chinese newspapers Friday, disputed allegations by Next magazine about links with Liu.
"I never knew Liu,'' she said. ... Mo said she will pursue legal action against the magazine and related parties over the report.
Since Sandy Mo's assertion was that she NEVER knew Liu, Next Weekly may be
completely stumped to back up those 'introductions' that Sandy Mo allegedly
made (such as the one to the
son of a former Chinese president/chairman from Shanghai).
-  I am
really shocked that such things go on. I am absolutely appalled.
I mean ... they promised us that everything would be perfect if we have a
democracy with universal suffrage and freedom of press, didn't they?
Chris Matthews on the situation in Iraq: "What I keep doing here is asking people on and off camera who come on this program, high-ranking officers, enlisted, former officers. I get sometimes, not all the time, two different versions, the version they give me on the air and the version they give me the minute when we're off the air.
The version they give me when we're on the air is gung-ho, we're doing the right thing, everything is moving along. The version they give me off the air is, Rumsfeld is crazy. There aren't enough troops over there. We're not taking this seriously enough, or, we shouldn't be there, sometimes."
-  There
is a general ban on advertisements on healthcare and medical products and
services in China due to the high proportion of misleading claims.
Here is an example of something in the Nancheng Evening News. Inside
the red box: (translation) "Each day 20,000,000 women around the world
uses the 'Japanese Dream Abortion Method' to terminate their
pregnancies." I'll let you ponder on the implications for that
-  Two
things about the Internationale in China. If true, then irony
is alive and well in China. (New
Century Net) In the name of a harmonious society in which
capitalists and workers are supposed to join hands, the singing of the Internationale
will be banned at all public assemblies (such as migrant workers demanding
back pay). Offenders will be prosecuted for disrupting "social
stability" in accordance with "party regulations and government
laws." That is to say, the revolutionary hymn that called the
proletariats of the world to unite is now anti-revolutionary in the
Meanwhile, there is a popular QQ version of the Internationale
written to defend the rights and demands of real estate buyers: "起来，已经买房的人们/起来，准备买房的人！/满腔的热血已经沸腾/要为好房而斗争!/商人们个个油头滑脸/买房的人们起来，起来!不要说我们弱势无助/我们要做家园的主人!/这是正义的斗争/团结起来，到明天/信息对称就一定要实现/这是正义的斗争/团结起来，到明天/从来就没有什么救世主/也不靠神仙官府/要创造我们的幸福/全靠大家团结斗争/…"
(Arise, people who have bought apartments! Arise, people who are about to
buy! Our chests full of blood are ready to boil to fight for good
apartments! The commercial sellers are devious, those who buy
apartments must arise, arise! Do not say that we are weak and
helpless, we want to be the masters of our own gardens! This is the
fight for justice! Unite together, until tomorrow when information
symmetry will happen. This is the fight for justice! Unite
together, until tomorrow. There was never any Savoir, nor will we rely
on a fantasy government. To create our own happiness, it will depend
on us uniting to struggle together ...)
-  Nice
work, as McDonald's defends its brand name. Not the Big Mac brand
name, but the brand name known as McWages. (Oriental
Daily) A survey conducted by the Hong Kong and Kowloon Trades Union Council
about 80 companies in fast food, cleaning, security, courier and supermarket
industries showed that the lowest hourly wage is between HK$15 to
HK$22. McDonald's lead all the companies with HK$15. In
rebuttal, McDonald's said that after a 30-day probation period, the wages
may be adjusted to an average of HK$18. They explained that the
salaries for the 12,000 Hong Kong employees amount to 23% of business
revenues, which is commensurate with most other food service
companies. The labor union is looking for the government to enact
legislation that mandates an hourly minimum wage of HK$25 and a minimum
salary of HK$5,200 (while still paying overseas domestic helpers HK$3,320?).
SCMP also covers the story: An hour's pay for a junior McDonald's staff member is not enough to buy the fast-food chain's cheapest combo meal.
McDonald's pays its staff $15 an hour - the lowest rate found in a union survey of 80 companies - compared with $20.30 for a Sausage McMuffin with fries and soda.
A person who worked for McDonald's for eight hours a day, 26 days a month could earn just $3,120.
McDonald's pay rate 10 years ago was $13 and climbed to $18 in the late 1990s, so it was now moving downwards.
-  My
reference to The Children of
Iraq post brings in more hate mail. Look, I am not going to
discuss whether or not the child in this photo
is seemingly delighted to be frisked or that this photo
is a Photoshop job. The fact is that I don't have a clue. I only
ask that you step back to look at the totality and then make your
own inferences. That is why that page has no words except for
"The Children of Iraq." It is up to you to say whether this
is tragic or they ought to be happy and grateful about their new freedom.
As to whether the photos on that page are inflammatory
and propaganda, I note that Ellen Knickmeyer and Khalid Saffar reported
today in the Washington
In the hours after a triple car bombing in the Iraqi capital Wednesday, state television broadcast a montage of faces of random children -- some appearing solemn, some smiling, some slyly glancing up at the camera. In the background, mournful music swelled, and the faces gave way to the bright flash of a car bomb, shown in slow motion.
"They were young but were turned to pieces of flesh," the singers lamented, as the network then broadcast footage of previous attacks showing limp children, wailing men and distraught women dressed in black abayas pushing through crowds. "Oh, oh Iraq, the land of
So the official television channel of the
sovereign and democratic government of Iraq was not beyond such methods. Whatever else, please don't tell me that
everything is fine in Iraq and going according to plan.
-  Antonio
Gramsci wrote: "The old is dying, and the new cannot be born; in this
interregnum there arises a great diversity of morbid
symptoms." Such morbid symptoms include false messiahs,
doomsday predictions, UFO sightings, pyramid schemes, and so on. Here
is one story (Lanzhou Morning News via Wenxue
City) that is just too bizarre:
A certain Chinese woman has apparently developed a problem whereupon words
(including phrases "Bank of China"), numbers
("888") and even English letters ("ABCD")) appear
spontaneously on her body. The photo of the left has the words 美麗山川
and the right photo has 壯麗河山.
Both phrases can be translated to "beautiful mountains and
Understandably, her family is spooked. Her children have been copying
down the words that have appeared so far.
-  I'm
going through my Firebox bookmarks and deleting old items. Here is
something about the Hong Kong July 1 march that I saved from Long
Hair's website: (in translation) Civil Human Rights Front
member April 5 Movment's Leung Kwok-hung launched an attack by saying that
the Front "reported a number that was too low." He believes
that July 1 march was attended by at least 30,000 people. The April 5
Movement's donation box at Gooseneck Bridge in Wanchai alone gathered
HK$80,000 and so he thinks that there was at least 20,000 people. He
said that the Hong Kong University team of Robert Chung only counted in
Wanchai, whereas they should be counting in Causeway Bay, Wanchai and
Central in order to be more accurate. He said that he is collecting
the different methodologies used in different countries to count people and
he will disclose them to the public later.
I saved that item because I knew what the outcome would be. Hong Kong
currently has the most elaborate procedures for counting attendance at
public places (see, for example, Mexico
City By The Numbers, The
Numbers at the 326 March in Taiwan, More
Venezuelan Numbers). Hong Kong counts are also replicated by
multiple organizations. If Leung really did his homework, he would be
disappointed at not finding what he wanted. I kept that bookmark to
remind myself that Leung will never bring up that subject again. He
has not so far. I have deleted that bookmark, but I now have this
comment posted for the record.
-  (The
Standard) The shooting of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian and
Vice-President Annette Lu on the day before the presidential elections has
been formally closed with the naming of a lone gunman, Chen Yi-hsiung.
Will the alleged perpetrator be prosecuted to the full extent of the
law? Ten days after the shooting, he was found drowned and his body was
cremated a day later with the cause of death listed as accidental
drowning. Hmmm ... what am I supposed to think? I resent being
forced to be paranoid.
Here is what people in Taiwan think, according to the instant poll results
of 356 persons from Apple
Q1: The results of the 319 shooting probe led to Chen Yi-hsiung being
lone gunner. Do you believe that?: Believe (26.12%); Don't believe
(62.08%); No opinion (11.80%).
Q2. Do you think that the case is closed, or should it be investigated
further? No more investigation: (32.58%); Continue investiagion
(58.43%); No opinion (8.99%).
China Times (via Yahoo!
News) has a larger poll of 798 adults with breakdowns. Do the
respondents accept the explaination? 4% totally accept, 15% somewhat
accept, 23% are dubious, 17% totally refuse to accept and 41% had no
opinion. By party affiliation, more than 90% of pan-blue supporters
think the case is unsolved, whereas 69% of pan-green supporters believe in
the official explanation; among the independents, 32% believe in the
explanation, but 68% have doubts. The only certainty here is that
party partisanship trumps objective analysis, and this is not the only time.
- [Administrative note] I'm working on
my second conference paper today, so I will make it a point not to have a
real blog post (like translating a 10,000 word Chinese-language essay). Just to look busy (without having actually to be
busy), I will note some historical statistics. This blog began in April
2003 when I moved to Hong Kong from New York City. In the 28 months of
operation, the log files say:
- 35,536,242 hits (=html files, images or videos)
- 1,491,952 page views
- 1,212,352 unique visitors
- 934,047,716 Kbytes of data transferred.
The single most popular blog post in my history was The
Children of Iraq, with 167,125 page views. That one post basically
put EastSouthWestNorth v1.0 out of business due to the high bandwidth
consumption. I was forced to dump everything and re-start with a
bandwidth-preserving no-frills v2.0 website. The way things are going
in Iraq these days, I just might have to revive the Chaos In Iraq series --
it is too easy! But motivation is a problem these days. Anger is
a powerful force if I see people keep talking about how everything is going
according to the plan or that Bush is brilliant; but these days, anyone who
says that is most likely a troll, and I shall not be trapped.
Just for old times' sake, here is an AFP
report: "A group of Iraqi workers in Baghdad came under fire Tuesday from US troops who mistook them for insurgents, injuring 26, an interior ministry source said.
'The electricity went out at around 0500 (0100 GMT), so we exited the hotel to the street to have breakfast in the fresh air. A helicopter then opened fire into the
street,' said Ali Mohammad, who sustained neck and leg injuries."
What kind of sovereign democracy has foreign military helicopters descending
from the sky to shoot at people having lunch out in the street because that same
occupation authority has no idea how to provide electricity? Of
course, this matter must be investigated fully (which means that you will
never hear about it again).
But of course the Today In Iraq blog
does such a great job that I am not needed.
-  Why is
blog-city being blocked in China? Well, I'm only a blogger and I am
not privvy to know what was behind that decision. But here is my
favorite Chinese blogger Anti:
(translation) "I am reminded about how smart a netizen friend
was: when he chose his blog service provider, he felt that blog-city has
good functions but since Anti sets himself up there, he would be suicidal if
he goes there as well. Right! So I am apologizing here to all the
Chinese users at blog-city, but of course the blame will have to be on the
Chinese Youth League and the Chinese Communist Party." (Note:
Just yesterday, Anti commented on The
Letter of Li Datong in this blog post 中青报官僚情调复辟 体制内良心被迫出走.)
By the way, Anti's solution is to have a mirror site on MSN Spaces.
-  On page 12 of
East Week, a white page appeared: "Announcement of Apology: In the cover
story for the Ching Cheong espionage case in issue 102 of our magazine,
there was a reference to a mistress of Ching Cheong. After further
investigation by our magazine, it was discovered that errors were made
during the process of establishment her identity and we mistakenly thought
that Ms. Huang Wei was Ching's mistress. Our magazine apologises to
Ms. Huang Wei, all other related people as well as our readers. East
How wrong were the media? They got her name wrong, they got her job
wrong, they got her university wrong, they got her child wrong (daughter
instead of son) and they got her circumstances wrong (i.e. she shares a 200
RMB/month one-room apartment with three other women in Shenzhen and not a HK$5
This leaves an obvious question: Did the Chinese government script all
this? Well, they couldn't be that incompetent as in getting all the
details wrong and then permitting the woman to travel to Hong Kong to refute all those
For comparison on media manipulation and/or media malfeasance, read: New claims emerge over Menezes death
Rosie Cowan, Duncan Campbell and Vikram Dodd, The Guardian; Police under pressure over Menezes leak
Matthew Tempest and Simon Jeffery, The Guardian.
-  Is this
how the war on terrorism shall be won? (The
Guardian) Five hundred televisions with free cable service are being distributed to teashops in violence-ravaged southern Thailand in the hope that English Premiership football matches will distract young people from militant action.
"Most children love watching sports on TV, but they can't afford that at home," said the interior minister, Kongsak Wantana. "So we are giving them what they love, hoping it can help solve the problem."
Thais are crazy about football, and about the Premiership, in particular. Several games are shown live every week and most of the others are replayed in full on two cable channels.
-  Here is
the English-language coverage of a Hong Kong rape trial: (SCMP) The girl has alleged her father began indecently assaulting her in the months after she started Primary Five in September 1998. The father allegedly raped her for the first time before December 1998, after forcing her to watch a pornographic film with him.
"I can't recall the exact period [it started], but it was after the big vacation" for schoolchildren that ends in September, she said.
The girl repeated her claim that her father performed sexual acts on her on numerous occasions over the subsequent year, estimating he had raped her at least five times.
She said the rapes always took place at her home, but could not be sure of all the details.
"It doesn't mean that I can't remember, but I can't recall the entire picture," she said.
Hmm ... in the Chinese-language press coverage, she evidently recalled many
other things. (Ming
Pao) First, when she was in Primary Six, her dad began to give
her breast enhancement pills while saying, "Even though this is very
expensive, I still bought it for you." Second, she took a karate
class in extra-curricular activities because she fought often with her dad
after she entered secondary school. She learned karate for
self-defense: "I was afraid that he would outfight me."
-  (Observechina)
Yu Jie wrote about female Hong Kong reporters: In mid-July 2003, I visited
the United States and went through Hong Kong on the way. This was my
first time in Hong Kong and it was during an 'atypical' period. There
was plenty to attract the eyes of a new observer. While in Hong Kong, I had plenty of contact with news workers. I
discovered a very interesting phenomenon: among Hong Kong news reporters,
more than are women. This type of situation is unlikely to occur in
mainland China, and not even in the western countries in which women's
rights have been going on for more than half a century. I used to
think that the reporter's job is hard in terms of both mental and physical
labor and that makes women a weaker competitor in this occupation. But
after observing the Hong Kong news workers this time, my prejudices were
-  (New
Century Net) Maybe Hong Kong legislator Emily Lau had some
fine points to make about the march to democracy, but she lost me
immediately after the first paragraph: (in translation) The Hong Kong
democratic movement has continued for more than 20 years ever since it began
in the 1980's. Although the central government has denied universal
suffrage for 2007/2008 last year in April, more than 500,000 people showed up
to strive for universal suffrage that year in the July 1 march.
Once I read that, I hit the close button on the page and ignore the
rest. Why? Previously, in The 2004 Hong Kong July 1 March Crowd Estimates,
I wrote: "Anyone who paid even
minimal attention and had an ounce of integrity would know that 530,000 could
not be the true number in 2004." Among many, the US State Department,
the Voice of America and the BBC do not believe it. As soon as I saw
that 500,000 number in Lau's latest essay, I bailed out. If she can't
even get that right, everything else is rubbish. This figure is
unnecessary for any reasoned argument, so why bring it up when it only has
Addendum: Emily Lau is not the only such person in town.
In issue number 806 (August 18, 2005) of Next Magazine, Hong Kong
Democratic Party vice-chairman Martin Lee wrote (in translation):
"At the July 1st march after the April 26 decision, the only theme was
to fight for universal suffrage in 2007/2008 and 530,000 citizens
participated, showing that the people of Hong Kong have not abandoned this
democratic goal." Why do they keep repeating this number when
they must know that there can only be negative effects?
-  Let me
get into the speculation game. This week's hot Chinese post is The
Letter of Li Datong to the editor-in-chief of China Youth Daily about
the new appraisal system for editors and reporters. What do you think
about his tenure at the newspaper? Out the door in 30 seconds, or
what? As a piece of history, I will remind you that in July 25, 2004,
more than one year ago, The Lu Yuegang Letter
was published from another China Youth Daily editor. Today, Lu still has
his job and is doing nicely. Having said that, I won't speculate on Li
Datong's fate ... after all, this is China, so who really knows?
In the Roman Polanski movie, the advice was: "Forget it Jake...it’s Chinatown."
-  Mergers
and acquisitions are usually about synergies between corporations.
Last week's Next Magazine has a story about a joint venture between the Hong
Kong Federation of Handicapped Youth and the Liksun Collection Agency.
Where is the synergy? Debt collectors are usually mean-looking muscled
martial arts experts who show up at the debtor's home or office to create a
racket, employing methods such as spilling red paint, dumping feces and
even arson. How are handicapped young people going to help on
that? It turns out that a supplementary technique for the debt
collectors is the persistent phone call, to the tune of hundreds of calls a
day, and that will be just fine for people who cannot move easily move
around. There is also the marketing cold call, by going through the
yellow pages from A to Z to see if anyone needs assistance in debt
collection. This arrangement stinks, but it is apparently quite
-  (Blog.ChineseNewNet)
On this day 60 years ago, the WWII ended. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese went to
pray today for their war dead, of whom the most famous were the kamikaze
pilots. One week ago, a man with terminal cancer exploded a bomb on a
bus in Fuzhou (see The
Fuzhou Bus Explosion). On August 10, the French newspaper
Liberation covered that story with the title: "Un cancéreux chinois kamikaze s’explose dans un bus."
Literally, this means "A cancer-suffering Chinese suicide attacker
exploded himself in a bus." To the French, kamikaze is an
imported term that they use to mean "suicide attacker." That
wouldn't make the Japanese very happy about this usage.
-  (DoNews)
Market competition is good, eh? On August 11 in the BuyNow computer
market in Hefei (China), a customer bought something at Store A. But
the Store B salesperson offered a lower price immediately and told the
customer to return the goods at Store A. This led to an argument
between Stores A and B employees. The lone salesgirl at Store A was
outnumbered. On the next day, four male friends of Store A came to
administer justice. After perfunctory compliments to each others'
mothers, a fight broke out. Weapons included a broom and a LG display
monitor. The floor was littered with broken glass and blood.
Where were the security guards? They were there to make sure that
nobody else interfered and also prevented people from taking photographs of
the fight. Basically, the security guards were spectators in a match
without neither referees nor prizes.
The question: What was it that they fought over? Was it so
valuable? Answer: A mousepad!
-  (Ming
Pao) First, here are data from the Hong Kong Statistical
Bureau: there are 214,000 persons age 15 or above who are economically
inactive but who would be willing to work if the right job opportunity
appears. 75% are women; 52% do not work because they have to take care
of household chores, children and/or elders. As to what they are
looking for in a job, 35% said "flexible/convenient working
hours"; 49% would work 5 to 6 days a week, at 8 hours per day; and only
22% are looking for fair wages (HK$6,000 for full-time and HK$3,500 for
Now for the reactions. On one hand the Statistical Bureau said that
these desired working conditions do not mesh with reality since most service
industry jobs require employees to work on weekends and for long
hours. On the other hand, community activists said that women have to
take care of their families, and their 'conditions' are a matter of
necessity as opposed to being 'unrealistic.' The Social Service
Department offers childcare services: Monday-Friday 8am-6pm. So there
you have it, noting the sharp differences in positioning above.
Somebody is brain-dead and I'll let you guess who ...
-  Here is
a quiz. You should think carefully before you choose the answer.
The question is: Which of the following photos is for the building in which
the International United Nations Academy of Sciences is located?
Given that I even asked, the answer should be obvious. Yes, you were
right. It is the one on the left. The International United
Nations Academy of Sciences is located inside an apartment on the 19th floor of the Lok Hing Public
Housing Estate in the Chai Wan district of Hong Kong. It is in the
business of awarding doctorates and academician titles. You don't even
have to study. All you have to do is pay HK$40,000 for the
But what about the building on the right? It is in today's headline
news in Sing
Tao (see also Beijing
It is the non-existent building for the Chinese Management
Academy of Sciences in Beijing. The rates are cheaper on the mainland since they only
want 30,000 RMB for an academician title (although senior academician and
lifetime academician titles are more expensive). The reporter went to
the listed address and found an ordinary office building quite different
from the one in the photograph. There were many companies in the
building, and the Chinese Management Academy of
Sciences was located in an unmarked office (room 901) on the ninth floor. The reporter
spoke to the 'deputy director' who displayed a business certificate for a
Hong Kong company permitted to collect market information. The reporter
estimates if that 200 people fell for this at 40,000 RMB a piece, then the
take is 8 million RMB already.
The Chinese may be overpaying here. Regard, for example, Hong Kong
Legislative Council member Philip
Wong, who has a J.D. (Law) from Southland University (USA) and Ph.D.
(Engineering) from California Coast University (USA). More details at Hemlock.
-  This Oriental
Daily story falls into the "dog bites man" category.
Two scholars at the Hong Kong Institute of Education analyzed the contents
of 26 martial arts comic books in terms of values. Among those not
sealed in plastic at the newsstand, 46% of the page involved violence but
only 5% involved sex and obscene language. Among those sealed in
plastic, 35% of the pages involved violence, 20% involved sex and 30%
contained obscene language.
In terms of characters, the men are gangsters and the women are prostitutes,
and they hang around night clubs and dance halls. Hong Kong-style
comics convey these six sets of values: (1) adulation of violence; (2) lack
of creativity as the story lines following a convention; (3) exultation of
lower-class culture, including large amounts of obscene language; (4)
monolithic cultural background; (5) absence of any moral sense of right vs.
wrong; (6) hedonism. The usual way of dealing the women of an enemy is
to rape them and then kill them -- that would fit with all six value sets
Wow! We are shocked that this is going on ... NOT! If this study
is to warn us about the ills of Hong Kong comic books, then it has come a
few decades too late.
-  I'm
sorry, but on some days I have zero sympathy left to give. (Yahoo!
News) In Portland Street (Mongkok district, Hong Kong), an
18-year-old high school graduate procured a 17-year-old prostitute,
completed a transaction, pulled out a knife and robbed her of
HK$4,000. But he left his wallet behind, and that has his HK ID card
inside. When he came back to
retrieve his wallet, he ran into the police investigators and was arrested
immediately. In the standard terminlogy, this is called "paying
He'll get better if and when he gets out of jail, because he'll probably get
excellent tutors inside.
- [Adminstrative Note] I am in the
process of writing two conference papers, so blogging will slow down a
bit. The first paper is about survey participation, in which the
hypothesis is seemingly trivially obvious: people who like to do surveys in
general and who are interested in the survey topic are more likely to
participate than others. The difficult part is how to prove this as
well as quantify the resultant survey biases, given that one doesn't know
anything about the non-participants by definition. I thought I've got
a trick through data mining and my proposal was accepted by the conference
organizers. Now that I'm actually looking at the data, things are less
melodramatic than I previously imagined. However, this will still be
of interest because it justifies the current survey practice
(Zhengzhou Evening News via Yahoo!
News) On August 4, two security guards patrolling a commercial
center in the city of Zhengzhou China saw a row of red letters written on a
(translation: "We have placed 75 kilograms of dynamite here. You
better prepare 18 million yuan by tomorrow (note: there was a
misspelling)." The guards gasped and called the police
immediately, and about 200 police officers, including the bomb disposal
squad, rushed over to search the place.
Who were the terrorists? As the militia fanned out, two of them found
four youngsters sleeping in the street. It would turn out that these
four kids -- ages between 11 and 14 years old -- had come to Zhengzhou from
their rural village with 9.5 yuan among them. While sitting on the
toilet a few days ago, one of them read about an extortion case. So
they thought that they would try to raise some money this way.
The kids were given a stern lecture and sent back to their very worried families.
Who is to be blamed here? The media, of course. First, for giving the
wrong ideas to suggestible children. Second, worse yet, the media had
not taught the children that 18 million yuan would come as 180,000
one-hundred-yuan notes (see Imagethief's Fistful
of Yuan), which is about one (or several) truckload(s).
-  In
addition to the famous press conference, here is more from yesterday's radio
interview with James To. (Ming
Pao) Should he have bowed in apology to the cameras?
(translation: I believe that I had apologised many times
already. But somebody told me that we are Chinese, and Chinese people
distinguish how sincere and serious you are.)" How did he take it
(translation: I have asked God, 'Why did you let me face this sort of
thing?')" His pastor comforted him that this was just God's way
of preparing him for greater things. "不必了，我但求安安穩穩做這個（立法會議員），監察政府紀律部隊不要濫權，我不是要做更大的事情。
(translation: That won't be necessary. I only wanted to do this
(legislator's job) smoothly to monitor that the government does not abuse
its power. I don't want to do anything grander than that.)"
-  Where
would the World Wide Web be without hypertext linking? So it is that I
marvel at some of the unintended results. Here is an example: Dustless
Workshop wrote about the problem of Chinese-English
translation. Through an ephemeral link as an item for reading here,
there is now a link from the Italian blog Taccuino di
Why is it that, when the Chinese translate stuff from English or whatever to Chinese, do they have to add extra meaning on top of the tranlation itself?
Risponde The Dustless Workshop (link segnalato dalla mia ultima scoperta, il curiosissimo
Curiosissimo, indeed. Molto.
-  There
is a new racket in China and it has to do with top ten lists. The most
detailed exposure is about the listings known as the worst ten cities in
China in 《华尔街邮报》：一个中国骗子炮制的“美国大报”
at Xici Hutong. A person set up an organization in Beijing and claimed
to have conducted a survey with funding of 28 milion yuan from various
government organizations to rank the cities along various attributes (e.g.
air quality, traffic congestion, etc). To publicize this organization
and the study results, a news report was published in the Wall Street
Post. Yes, the Wall Street Post. You have heard of The Wall
Street Journal and the Washington Post, but have you heard of the Wall
Street Post? Probably not, because this is an online newspaper whose
owner was traced back to ... you guessed it ... the person who owns the
organization that conducted the survey. By the way, all the named
government organizations denied having provided any funds for this survey,
and on general principles, they do not see such an exercise to be
So next time you see a ranking of the top ten or wost ten of something or
the other in China, you need to be skeptical for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that the rankings are usually available for sale, and
this is how the racketeer makes money (and lots of it too). The second
reason is that this is meaningless in terms of methodology. Even if
you want to do a survey properly, you should think about how you want people
to rank cities or brands of soap or automobiles -- the survey respondents
will know the brands that they use or used, but they will have no knowledge
of most other ones. For example, how would I compare Shanghai with
Chengdu, which I have never visited before?
-  On a
slow news day, there is always the Apple
Daily (Taiwan) front page story that can always be counted to give a
rise. On this day, the headline said "Father tortures 10-year-old
daughter; taken around with a dog leash."
The following illustrations and photographs make it unnecessary to offer too
many words. But how does a father come to behave like this? One
-  Hong
Kong Legislator and Democratic Party James To finally faced the press
yesterday about the mess known as the Target
Standard) James To: "I formally offer my apology to the public for my administrative errors.
There have been several investigations into this matter and no one has doubted my integrity.
We will carefully listen to the opinions of my voters, but the integrity issue does not exist and I will not resign.
I have always provided reasons to support my criticism, with analysis and factual data, which other parties can criticize if they believe the evidence to be wrong.
The public, therefore, can judge for themselves whether those criticisms of
me are valid."
And then he bowed deeply to the cameras once.
(SCMP) Polytechnic University social scientist Ho Kwok-leung: "Mr To's constituents are the public. How can he be so certain that the public still has faith in him? He should resign and stand for election again."
If it is up to the public to decide in a democracy, then here is the Oriental
Daily poll of 693 adults in Hong Kong:
Q1: James To chose only to apologise to the public because he says
his personal integrity is not being doubted. Do you accept his apology
or not? Yes: 167 (24%), No: 459 (66%), No opinion: 67 (10%)
Q2. Do you think that James To should resign from this Legislator
position? Yes: 420 (61%), No (168 (24%), No opinion: 105 (15%)
Q3. Do you believe what James To that the entire affair was due solely to
some major administrative lapses? Yes: 144 (21%), No: 460 (66%), No opinion
But of course Hong Kong is a faux democracy and the public does not
get to decide. That is what we are being told all the time. It
is evidently true.
-  (6Park)
In Chongqing, a woman in a green t-shirt yelled "You didn't take my
call!" to a man, grabbed his collar and then kicked him in the
balls. The man fell to the ground and said, "I didn't do anything
..." Whack! Whack! The woman slapped him, leaving
hand prints on his face. Then she slapped him another dozen
times. What is the deal? This is a married couple, and last
night, he didn't come home and he wouldn't answer her telephone calls.
A bystander said, "Your husband was working here, and he doesn't fight
back when you slap him. How could you keep hitting him?"
She said, "This is my special love for me. Besides, it's for the
good of the family."
-  The
so-called 'other woman' Huang Wei (黃 偉)
in the Ching Cheong rumor cycle has given an interview to Yazhou Zhoukan and
also appeared on Hong Kong Commercial Radio.
Here are her present circumstances (Yahoo!
News): In February 2005, after her publishing house published the
book about Zhao Ziyang, she was briefly detained and released (note: the
public security officers did not ask her about Ching Cheong during the
detention) and then she
was dismissed from her job. Since then, she has worked at seven or
eight jobs. She is presently a clerk at a Shenzhen arts & crafts
company with a monthly income of more than 1,000 yuan. She does some
proof-reading work in the evenings. She shares a one-room apartment with three
other women, each paying about 200 yuan in rent. She has a 13-year-old
son (and not a daughter as reported).
Huang was quoted in The
Standard: "If I were really Ching's mistress, owned an apartment and received millions of dollars, my life would not have been difficult. In fact, I would really prefer to be that
'mistress.' Public security officers did not approach me before June and, even after I got to know about his arrest, I was called by public security officers a couple of times, but they never mentioned anything about Ching's arrest."
Here is Oriental
Daily's summary of all her contacts with Ching Cheong.
- May 2004, Huang was working for the publishing house that published the
book on Zhao Ziyang written by Zhao's qigong master Zong Fengming. Her
boss asked her to forward a book (note: didn't say which book) to Ching
- October 2004, Ching was trying to find her boss but couldn't reach him. So he
called her up to ask about how Zong's book was doing in terms of sales.
Ching said that he could not find copies of the book in Hong Kong
bookstores. They had a one-hour meal after which she went back to
- April 20, 2005, Huang called Ching to see if he could help her find a
job. This was after she lost her publishing job. They met in a Shenzhen coffee shop for about 30 minutes.
Ching didn't think that she could get a job in Hong Kong without a resident
permit but said he would see if there are publishing jobs available in
China. Then Huang left the restaurant and took a bus home. She never even realized that he was
arrested until June.
This should eliminate two lines of inquiry: Huang Wei as the secret mistress
and a second Zhao Ziyang-related manuscript (because she was no longer
working for the publishing house and besides Zong Fengming said that there
was no second manuscript). Both
rumors were floated by individuals or newspapers, and not included in the
official Chinese announcements.
Was the rumor about Huang Wei floated by the Chinese government? Who
knows? But if you look at today's post Media Monitoring in Hong Kong,
then the Hong Kong media are easily capable of creating fiction without any
assistance. Actually, I lean towards the hyper-imaginative media as
the culprit of this fiction -- the telling clue is that Oriental Daily refers to her as Huang Hui (黃 卉)
instead of Huang Wei (黃 偉).
The Chinese government should not have been tripped up by not getting the name of
the person right in a propaganda campaign. And besides, why would the
government let her travel to Hong Kong and rebut those rumors?
-  (6Park)
In the city of Wuhan (China), there are children roving the streets with
roses in their hands. When they see couples walking by, they would run
up and say, "GG, buy some roses for JJ" and "JJ, you are so
pretty, buy some roses." They would resort to grabbing the man's
leg and not letting go. See photo 1. Where do the children come
from? They had been rented out by their parents to 'bosses' for 300
yuan a month to work in the streets. If they don't make enough, their
bosses would scold and beat them. See photo 2. If they do well
enough, the bosses may give them a piece of candy. The bosses keep all
the sales receipts, because they work very hard too. See photo
So, should you or should you not buy a rose if you encounter this
situation? This is likely to be a global business model not localized
-  (Beijing
Youth Daily) The Next Weekly (Taiwan) paparazzi team got on
singer Jay Chou's nerve, so he got out of his car and confronted them.
According to the video, Jay and the reporter had a heated exchange of
middle-finger waving in the middle of the road. Later, Jay posted the
following essay on his record company's website: "不好意思让大家担心了今天终于有可以替艺人朋友们争口气的机会我怎么可能放过只可惜我没有打狗棒可以好好发威不然你们肯定可以看到精彩的平常我可是很爱狗儿的但今天这只狗儿的嘴脸我看不下去没想到狗嘴言语充满了挑衅竟然比文山的词还精彩如果你有耳朵的话你会跟我一样很想教训它我真不敢相信我只有玩弄它的安全帽它就落荒而逃当我要离开的时候它竟然有勇气拉住我的手拖延时间好等着它的同伴到来我也搞不清楚狗儿的身上为什么总是有DV和相机是用骨头换的吗？我气我当时没有DV不然我就会拍给你们看看狗儿的嘴脸正当我上车的时候狗儿竟然一直叫着(偶像动粗啊！偶像动粗啊！)搞到连旁边的机车骑士都看不下去劝狗儿停止无聊的行为有时候想想我到底还要被跟多久也许很久吧不好意思让大家担心了"
Daily) Jay Zhou gave an analysis of paparazzi cultures:
"In Taiwan, they are intolerable. The paparazzis in Hong Kong
follow tightly, but they are the best mannered. There is beginning to
be paparazzis in mainland China as well. Only in Singapore can one be
-  FBI sees big threat from Chinese spies
(by Jay Solomon for The Wall Street Journal via Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette): ... the FBI and Justice Department have sent hundreds of new counterintelligence agents into the bureau's 56 field offices, many with a specific focus on China
... thousands of Chinese nationals regularly come to the U.S. as students and businessmen, some working for major U.S. defense contractors
... the vast majority of them are in the U.S. innocently working or studying. Counterespionage experts say the trouble often starts when they are contacted by Chinese government officials or one of the more than 3,000 Chinese "front companies" the FBI alleges have been set up in the U.S. specifically to acquire military or industrial technologies
illegally ... about 150,000 Chinese students are studying in the U.S., according to the FBI, and the number of new admissions has been rising. Nearly 64,000 Chinese students entered the U.S. last year, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, up from 55,000 in 1998. All told, about 700,000 Chinese tourists and business executives visit the U.S. each
year ... Mr. Szady acknowledges the inherent complexity of monitoring the Chinese community in the U.S., and says he is trying to find a balance: "How do you protect without being overbearing?" But he argues that it is the Chinese government, not the FBI, that is blurring the lines between legitimate transborder commerce and national
rivalry ... the Beijing government runs an extensive, informal, decentralized spy network, counterespionage experts allege. In most cases, Beijing's spy agencies don't send trained agents to the U.S. to penetrate companies and government agencies, but rather simply seek to glean information from the hundreds of thousands of Chinese who visit and study in the U.S. every year. They also try to get Chinese-Americans to provide information, appealing to their desire to help uplift China's
Duh ... where do I begin with this? How about the first sentence with
the 'hundreds of FBI counterintelligence agents sent to the 56 field
offices'? What is the problem with that? 99.9% OF THEM
DON'T SPEAK OR READ CHINESE. See my post Translation and its Discontents
for this problem. It does not matter if they assign 200,000 or 500,000
to monitor the Chinese in America -- they can't process the information!
(Anecdote: I once heard that there was a Wenzhou person who needed to
be interrogated in New York City; there was NO resource in the entire
Chinese translation community that knows that dialect. The putonghua
translator who was brought in resorted to using an improvised sign
-  (Oriental
Daily) Another day, another brothel bust in Hong Kong with 64
females arrested. So what? This Portland Street joint turned out
to be trickier for the police undercover operation because once the
undercover got inside, he could not use his mobile phone to signal his team
to come in for the arrest. How so? The rooms had all the walls,
doors and windows covered with aluminium foil! Strangely, though, the
article did not explain what the police did to get around this wall.
Trade secret, eh?
-  (Yahoo!
News) Huang Jingao, the bullet-proof vest Communist Party
Secretary of Lingjiang County, Fujian, has been formally charged with
corruption through receiving 3,685,300 yuan, US$228,000, 30 precious rocks
(worth 26,000 yuan), one laptop computer (valued at 17,000 yuan), one gold
brick and two platinum chains. He published a famous open letter at People's
Daily and the detailed charges (including his six mistresses) are here.
-  Great
expectations for the World Trade Organization conference in Hong Kong.
- McDonald's and Starbucks should be prepared in case protestors use cement
to block the bathroom pipes and cause flooding
- Police guessed that protestors will form human chains to blockade the
entrance to the Hunghom tunnel, and have arranged for tow trucks and mobile
units to respond
- The good news is that there will be no use of tear gas because the police
fears the possibility of massive lawsuits in case the drifting clouds
affects innocent civilians; the police also promised that they will not use
their MP5 machine guns.
- 800 police officers will be detailed to protect VIPs
- 2,346 'blue berets', riot squad, traffic police and tactical units will be
deployed around the convention center for crowd control
- 1,026 will be stationed in the six district command headquarters
- 2,337 will be stationed in the 19 local police district, each with 123
- 3,889 police officers will be formed into 42 criminal investigation teams
and they will be undercover to observe and arrest lawbreakers
- about one-third of all Hong Kong police officers will be involved in
WTO-related activities, with each being required to put in 3 to 4 hours of
overtime per day.
- The Department of Corrections have set aside Victoria Prison for holding
arrestees. The prison has a maximum capacity of 430.
- If the protestors should block the Tsing Ma Bridge that links Lantau
Island to Kowloon to disrupt vehicular traffic to and from the airport, the
police have made plans to move VIPs either by the airport express train or by
And you can add the other stories about the aquatic divers who will reach
the Convention Center under water.
-  (6Park)
The photos below show the emergence of a new occupation in Shenzhen.
The idea came to a working woman who personally had a hard time finding
public restrooms in the city. So she quit her job and developed the
notion of 'restroom guide.' She nets about 8,000 yuan and she has eight
workers who make 1,500 plus yuan per month. They stand on the street
with signs that offer to guide people to clean restrooms for a small fee.
-  (NYT,
James Glanz): At dawn the atmosphere glowed orange, like the embers of a fire. Objects 25 yards away disappeared, as if a curtain had been drawn in front of them. Baghdad residents began waking up with the sour taste of grit in their mouths and a film of dust on their furniture and clothing, and by 8 a.m. Nireen Abdul Khalek began to feel that she could not breathe.
Five hours later, Ms. Khalek, 24, stood amid the pandemonium in the emergency room at Yarmouk Hospital, one of Baghdad's largest, where at least 500 patients had been admitted with respiratory ailments brought on by a blinding dust storm that many residents said was the most vicious they had seen in years.
-  More details about Ching Cheong were given in the
Oriental Daily and Eastweek (see 030, 032
and 037 for previous
developments). First of all (Oriental
Daily), the Taiwan foundation has been identified
as the Foundation on International and Cross-Strait Studies (中華歐亞基金會) (with the mottos: "strategic
vision, policy impact, transcend partisanship"). Founded in 1994
with an office in Taipei, its purpose to to "analyze policies in order
to influence." It is said to be a fringe organization for the
Taiwan National Security Bureau funded by the government and business
community. The foundation is headed Zhang Jingyu, a former Mainland
Affairs Council member and a director of the Tanjiang University
International Affairs and Strategy Analysis Institute. The members of
the board of directors have political and intelligence backgrounds. The
Executive Vice-President Tung Li-min is the director of Mainland Affairs for
the Democratic Progressive Party and his charge is collecting mainland
Chinese intelligence, with the Foundation being one of its partners.
Then there are more details about that other woman. East Week refers to
her as Huang Wei (黃 偉)
but Oriental Daily refers to her as Huang Hui (黃 卉).
She is described as beautiful and graceful. She is a 42-years-old
single mother with a daughter. Between 2001 and 2003, she worked as an
editor at the Shenzhen publishing house which published the memoirs of Zhao
Ziyang. At the end of 2001, Huang met Ching Cheong and they began an
affair next year. In 2004, Huang left the publishing house and Ching
began to take care of the livelihood of the mother and daughter.
Whenever she called, Ching would go and meet her in Shenzhen.
Meanwhile, Mary Lau believed that her husband needed to go to Shenzhen for
work reasons (but East Week claimed that Lau knew about this extramarital
On the morning of April 20, even though Ching Cheong realized that he was a
target of investigation, he still took the risk to go to Shenzhen to see
Huang. Prior to that, National Security Bureau personnel had spoken to
Huang about the Zhao Ziyang memoir and they asked her to get Ching to come
Ching and Huang met in a restaurant in Shenzhen. He told Huang that he
was working to cover the China trip by KMT chairman Lian Chan. At that time,
Ching did not realized that CASS researcher Lu Jianhua who had been
supplying him with intelligence had been arrested, and he was unsuccessfully
trying to reach Lu. During this meeting, Ching's mobile phone kept
ringing and someone speaking in Cantonese kept asking him to go to a certain
place. Huang left after 30 minutes, and Ching was detained by members
of the Chinese National Security Bureau.
-  More
Ching Cheong related excerpts from the Hong Kong-based Chinese language
media. These are the other side's reactions to what those other ones
that you can find earlier here (scroll down in the archives).
(Economic Journal via InMediaHK)
Szeto Wah of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China:
"All these things should have been said in court. They should not
slander him before that. They would have been charged with interfering
the course of justice in Hong Kong. This is unfair to Ching Cheong and
his family. Even if these is a girlfriend, it has nothing to do with
the country. It would be up to his wife to speak up."
(Apple Daily via Boxun)
Lin Huoli: "Over the five years of espionage, Ching Cheong received
only HK$5 million. Let us even say that he made HK$7 million of which
he kept half for himself, then he only got HK$700,000 per year. His
salary at the Strait Times was more than HK$1 million with good promotion
prospects and pension. Why would be sell his country out and his own
soul for just HK$700,000. I have known him since 1971 at Hong Kong
University, and I cannot believe that he is so cheap. To emphasize
that Ching's case is unrelated to Zeng Fengming's manuscript on Zhao Ziyang,
the Chinese special agents emphasized that Ching had a sentimental problem
with a Shenzhen publishing editor Ms. X. When Ching went to China in
April, Ms. X called him several times that she has the second and most
important manuscript of interviews with Zhao Ziyang. According to
Ching's family and friends, this editor is a single mother who is
experiencing hard times since losing her job and had borrowed several tens
of thousand dollars which Ching has told his wife about. First of all,
Ching is not a lecher. Second, he has done the China beat for many
years, and he has always turned down free offers of "special
entertainment service" after meeting with company owners. It is
unlikely that an 'ascetic monk' like Ching would mess around with a
(Apple Daily via Boxun)
Li Yi: It is a woman, again! But if even if you believe the
'informed source,' this girlfriend of Ching Cheong had nothing to do with
his obtaining intelligence about China and offering that to Taiwan.
According to my information, the most worried ones are the pro-Beijing
elements in Hong Kong who are connected to mainland Chinese cadres while
having access to internal information and also communicate with
organizations in Taiwan. This case must be causing them worries.
(Apple Daily via Boxun)
Zhang Hua: These articles that have been appearing in the last few days are
of the variety "Let's decide that Ching Cheong is a spy, and then find
the evidence to prove the case." Before the Chinese court finds
him guilty, he is innocent. We cannot assume that just because he was
detained by the National Security Bureau, then he must be a spy. We
must give the reasonable doubt to Ching Cheong. Besides, as long as
Ching Cheong is under arrest, he cannot rebut any unfavorable media
accusations. These unfair reports should be avoided.
Relevant link: Pro-Beijing HK dailies denounce ST reporter.
Strait Times via Asia
-  At the
time when supermodel Chiling Lin returned from Dalian (China) to Taiwan
after her injury, her mother issued thanks in what must be considered an
offensive way (as in phrasing it as the people of one country thanking the
people of another country for taking care of their daughter). The
history of the pro-Independence politics of Chiling Lin's parents was then
posted on the Internet.
The Strait Times (via 6Park)
now reports that there is a spontaneously organized movement inside China to
pressure Proctor & Gamble to release Chiling as their spokesperson or
else face a consumer boycott (beginning with collecting hundreds of thousands of
signatures). Chiling's representatives responded by saying that she is
completely apolitical and multi-colored. It is likely that she will
eventually have to make an explicit but carefully crafted statement to
Chiling's woes are shared by other professionals, ranging from singer Chang
A-Mei (who sang the ROC national anthem at Chen Shui-bian's first
presidential inaugural ceremony in 2000 and got banned in China for a while) to
anyone who does business in China such as Hsu Wen-Lun of Chi Mei Corporation
renounced Taiwan independence in March 2005). This is the dilemma for
Taiwan independence. It would be nice to have your own little country, except
for many people, their economic livelihood is tied in with China (as in more
than US$100 billion invested in China, 1 million people who go to or live in
China for business and a trade surplus of almost US$20 billion
per year). Even Chiling Lin's father owns a factory in Dongguan, China
Hutong). A singer such as Jay Chou can have a base market of 20
million in Taiwan or 1.3 billion in China; Japan and the United States are
not open to him. Obviously, if Jay Chou is rational, he would avoid
politics at all cost.
Is it fair to use singers as political chips? Would this happen in a
democracy? Let's look at the recently deceased Ibrahim Ferrer of the
Cuban band Buena Vista Social Club. He won a Latin Grammy for best
traditional tropical album but he could not receive the award in person
because the United States of America wouldn't issue the 78-year-old singer a
visa to someone from a "terrorist state." There
was not a chance that this person could be a terrorist in any way, shape or
form. This whole happened to appease the Cuban exile community in
Miami which made the difference in the last American presidential election.
-  The
proverbial 'unnamed source' fills out more details in the Ching Cheong. As usual, I will
note that this is unverified, but this is what is going around. If you
don't like this, you can go back to read your Washington Post. (The
Sun) An informed source said that it all began in 1998 when
The Strait Times posted Ching Cheong in Taiwan. At the time, a certain
person representing a foundation contacted Ching and asked him to write
about mainland Chinese society, economy and military. He praised Ching
for his opinions, and paid him as much as HK$20,000 for every 3,000 words.
When Ching Cheong found out that the foundation did not publish what he
wrote, he wanted to stop. He posed a direct question to the
foundation, which admitted that it was related to the Taiwan national
security bureau but persuaded Ching Cheong to continue. On one hand,
Ching had written so much already without any negative consequences.
On the other hand, Ching needed a lot of money. So that was how he
became a spy.
Later, Ching was told that his reports were 'lacking in substance,' so he
had to start asking his mainland Chinese 'friends' for help. These
included Lu Jianhua of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. CASS
deputy assistant Chen Hui faxed documents on behalf of Lu. At the end
of last year, Chen faxed certain documents on national politics and economy
at a business center of a certain Beijing hotel, and this gained the
attention of the authorities. When Lu Jianhua was detained, he
disclosed all his activities and implicated Ching Cheong.
Over the five years, Ching Cheong has collected more than HK$5 million, but
he only gave Lu Jianhua HK$160,000 as writing royalties.
Ching Cheong needed a lot of money because he was having an affair with a woman. Mary Lau was very strict about Ching's finances, so he
purchased a flat in Shenzhen where he went to meet his girlfriend under the
guise of working in mainland China. He was arrested in Shenzhen in
Mary Lau wanted to see her husband in Beijing. The informed source
said that Beijing told Mary Lau that she could come, but she did not go.
The speculation is that she is afraid to go because she is in fact a
material witness in the case and she needs some kind of assurance that she
will not be swept up.
-  (Ta
Kung Pao) A survey commissioned by Websense of 50 middle
managers and 50 workers in information technology in Hong Kong found that
83% of the workers browse work-unrelated websites at work and spend an
average of 3.3 hours per week on the computer handling personal
matters. However, their managers believe the workers spend 7.1
hours. 82% of the IT managers believe that corporate network security
is more stressful than moving, marriage, divorce, traffic accidents, job
change and having children. Apart from network intruders, managers
also worry about workers downloading viruses inadvertently or violate
intellectual property rights by downloading songs or movies.
-  SCMP: Frequent secret visits to the mainland by senior Hong Kong officials could give the impression that the trips are being used to receive orders from state officials, a legislator warned yesterday.
"It's one thing for senior officials to travel to the mainland to meet state officials, but going there too often would give the impression that they go there to receive orders," Emily Lau Wai-hing, of The Frontier, said on the RTHK radio programme Letter to Hong Kong.
Waaaaaaa ... ! Help me here! We live in the year 2005 and people don't have to meet in person to deliver
orders. There are things such as landline telephones, mobile
telephones, satellite telephones, video conferences,
e-mails, instant messaging, text messages, VoIP, faxes, diplomatic pouches,
courier services, postal mail, personal envoys coming down from Beijing and
so on. So what is this really about? Evidently, whether or not they receive or follow
orders is unimportant. It is more important for Hong Kong officials
not to make physical trips to Beijing because that creates the 'impression'
that they follow orders. This is the essence of a highly autonomous
Hong Kong. You got that? Now back to our regular program ...
-  There
was an interesting opinion piece in Sing Tao about accuracy in Zhang Yihe's
much acclaimed <<The Past Is Not Like Smoke>> (see previous post).
If the book is about certain recollections of people in Chinese history,
then these are subjective evaluations and there cannot be any rights or
wrongs. I can like someone, or I can dislike them. However,
Zhang Yihe's book was criticized by scholars for being wrong on the 'hard'
facts. For example, there was a section in Zhang's book about how the
widow of a friend did not inform the Zhang family of his passing away.
Well, that was her recollection. Except the deceased man's nephew kept
the guestbook at the memorial service, and Zhang's mother signature appeared
in it. And so on and so forth. These errors were pointed out to
Zhang, but she has not corrected them.
The opinion piece writer then suggested there is a double standard when
dealing with Zhang Yihe. With respect to the factual errors, people
are willing to use a literary standard for fiction; with respect to the
historical currents, people will use a non-literary (but historically
truthful) standard to praise her courage. This leads to opinion piece
writer to wonder if the reason why Zhang's books are fashionable because
they serve to sculpt and reinforce a set of common understanding and which
is resistant against any need for correction.
-  (Tai
Kung Pao) This is a civil lawsuit about Internet defamation in
China through which law enforcement was asked to identify the owner of an
email account. A person named Zhang was the director of security for a
property management company in Panyu, Guangdong, China. In February
last year, the individual property owners demonstrated in the street while
Zhang tried to persuade them to stop. Later on, a post from 'gdda'
appeared on the 21st Century CN real estate forum with Zhang's photo take at
the demonstration plus the words "The mean and tough pighead
security". Other netizens added comments such as "Send him
to the slaughterhouse! Chop him up into eight pieces! I want to
kill the pig!" Zhang believed that the poster was a resident
named Zhou and sued him in court for defamation. During the trial,
Zhou denied being 'gdda.' The Panyu Court asked the Guangzhou PUblic
Information Internet Security Monitoring Office to check with the 21st
Century CN real estate forum found out that 'gdda' has the same telephone
number and ID number as Zhou. As a result, Zhou was found guilty and
must apologise on the forum to Zhang as well as pay 10,000 yuan for causing
-  More about Ching Cheong from the local Chinese-language newspapers in Hong
Kong. Please bear in mind that both of the cited newspapers are
staunchly pro-Beijing. The articles are much longer, and I have only
translated the sections that gave new and interesting information. The
first excerpt is about how the media were allegedly manipulated for
political purposes, and the second excerpt explains why an open and
transparent trial is not to be expected.
Pao) [translation] Ching Cheong was detained on April 22
in mainland China, but the first one to report the news was the Washington
Post. The source of information for WaPo was the Taiwan intelligence
service. After Ching's espionage activities were detected, the Taiwan
intelligence service wanted to misdirect attention and therefore used a
pre-emptive strike to leak the news to the American media. The goal
was to muddy the waters based upon the fact that Ching Cheong was a
"veteran news worker" and there was a "Zhao Ziyang manuscript
involved." This became a case of "freedom of news being
trampled upon" and "a journalist being oppressed" because
"China is lawless" and "people can be arbitrarily
arrested." American spokesmen then came out to "express
their concern" and international journalist organizations ran
"global" petitions to "rescue Ching Cheong."
Obviously, the Taiwan intelligence service's "pre-emptive" measure
was coordinated with the Americans to "re-cast" a spy case into a
political affair, both to avoid culpability and to "demonize"
Wei Po) [translation] National security is needed to
guarantee the survival and development of any sovereign country. All
countries in the world, including the United States and United Kingdom, have
laws related to the protection of national security. In Hong Kong,
some people criticise the Chinese legal system with respect to national
security, but they prefer not to discuss the American or British
systems. That is a hypocritical double standard. In Hong Kong,
there are even some people who are demanding an open court trial. This
is also against the national law as well as standard international
practice. According to China's Criminal Prosecution Law Article 152:
"When the First People's Court conducts a trial, it is normally done
openly. But when national secrets or personal privacy are involved,
the trial will not be done openly." Western countries such as the
United Kingdom also have similar regulations for closed trials that involve
Well, I can contribute something too. Ching Cheong's wife Mary Lau
published an open letter to Chinese president Hu Jintao (Grand
Unification of Theories about the Case of Ching Cheong, Theory
#3). She explained that Ching Cheong had access to internal papers
provided by CASS's Lu Jianhua for the purpose of writing policy
reports. She cited as examples the invitation to Tawian opposition
leaders to visit China and the replacement of Tung Chee-hwa by Donald Tsang
as Hong Kong Chief Exeucutive as their recommendations. She said that
one time, Ching was so busy that he gave her an outline and she wrote the
actual paper that Ching sent in. Hmmm. On the basis of the new
developments, it was likely that Lu Jianhua was sending internal documents
by using various Beijing hotel business centers to send faxes
to Ching Cheong who was producing reports ... to send to Taiwan! And Mary
Lau hadn't been told whom it was for. But if no such policy reports or
recommendations ever reached the top decision-makers in Beijing, then Lau's open letter
became state evidence and practically sealed Ching and Lu's fates. What do lawyers advise their clients? "Keep your mouth
shut!" But I remind you once again that I am a blogger and not a
professional reporter; I only read news reports and make inferences which
can be totally off the mark.
-  (Yazhou
Zhoukan) Here is a brand new tactic for harassing people in
China. Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao are the authors of The Chinese
Peasants Survey. Recently, someone was throwing rocks and bricks
at their home in Hefei (Anhui province). Their ceramic vases in the
yard were broken, and their five-year-old son was terrified. They
called the police who came and arrested a person. But the person came
back next day and repeated the same thing. "The public security
bureau said that the person was a mental case, and there wasn't anything
that they could do." Since July 16, the person has been throwing
rocks at this house for more than a dozen days. There are other
buildings in the area, but the person only targeted their house. The
"130" service workers and the garbage collectors tell Chen that
the 'mental case' was dropped off at Chen's door by persons in
uniformed. When people tried to take photos of this person, he knew
how to cover his face or run away. So Chen Guidi and family have moved
into the suburbs to avoid this person.
-  More
information on the Ching Cheong case from the Chinese-language newspapers in
Hong Kong, and this is quite different from what you will read at the New
York Times or Washington Post. Ming
Pao has an inside source who said that the investigation was
triggered when the National Security Bureau found that Taiwan had gotten
hold of some Chinese national secrets. The leak was traced to Chinese
Academy of Social Sciences researcher Lu Jianhua, who was followed and
observed to be frequently using the business centers at various Beijing
hotels to send faxes to Ching Cheong in Hong Kong.
When Ching Cheong was arrested, he told the investigators that between 1998
and 2000, he was posted by The Strait Times in Taiwan and got acquainted
with members of the intelligence services. At that time, the
intelligence services used cover organizations to ask him to write about
China. According to the records in Ching Cheong's laptop computer, the
fees were sometimes as much as HK$100,000 per report. Lu Jianhua was
one of Ching's sources, and he had been paid by Ching too. Mary Lau,
the wife of Ching Cheong, is unaware of these transactions.
When Ching Cheong was transferred back to Hong Kong, Ching was asked to
continue to write in-depth reports on increasingly sensitive topics.
To protect himself, Ching Cheong adopted the pen name of Chen Yuanchun for
those reports. Ching Cheong had asked his handler whether these
reports were going to the Taiwan intelligence services or not, and the other
party just laughed and this non-denial was taken to be a "yes."
The Ming Pao article said that Ching Cheong was arrested in Shenzhen, and
not Guangzhou as his wife originally said. Why Shenzhen? The
article has this obscure phrase "暗示程涉及感情問題."
(translation: "It was hinted that Ching Cheong was involved in a sentimental
matter.") What does that mean? Here, we have to look at Sing Tao
which has a scurrilous story in its print edition: It has been rumored
that Ching Cheong has an 'intimate female friend' in mainland China (and
that would explain where the money was going to and Mary Lau was kept in the
dark). For confirmation, Sing Tao asked DAB legislator Choi So-yuk and
she said that she too has heard those rumors. Read it carefully: Choi
did not say that she knew that for a fact, but only that she has heard the
same whispers like many others -- this is not a confirmation. As such,
Sing Tao should not have been publishing unverified rumors. Still,
there you have it. I report this not because I think it is true or
false (because I don't know that), but because this is what is going around.
(Addendum: This story has now appeared in Oriental
Daily and Sing
Tao, but still without any persuasive evidence).
Oh, here is some more gossip from another Ming
Pao article: various channels have called the pro-Beijing supporters
as well as democrats in Hong Kong to warn them not to be too extreme in
public discussions, because they (as well as Ching Cheong) are going to be
burned if the very strong evidence should ever be released (remember the
case of Alex Ho?). Legislator Choi
So-yuk said: "我現在好混亂，唔知點睇件事。我認識程的為人，如果他真的做這些事，我會很驚奇。"
(translation: "I am very confused. I don't know how to look at
this matter. I know Ching as a person. I would be very surprised
if he really did these things.")
-  In his New
York Times column, Paul Krugman wrote about Design for Confusion.
The subject is the marketing of the 'theory' of intelligent design in
American schools. The concluding paragraph: "The important thing to remember is that like supply-side economics or global-warming skepticism, intelligent design doesn't have to attract significant support from actual researchers to be effective. All it has to do is create confusion, to make it seem as if there really is a controversy about the validity of evolutionary theory. That, together with the political muscle of the religious right, may be enough to start a process that ends with banishing Darwin from the classroom."
Hmmm ... that just sounds very much like what I suggested in The
Roots of Anti-Japanese Feelings in China about how to market a
revisionist history of Japan, wherein I suggested the marketing of
intelligent design as illustrative of the approach.
- [Administrative note] On Thursday, the
number of page views at this site soared to almost 18,000, which is a record
high in v.2.0 of EastSouthWestNorth. The driving factor was the Nancy
Kissel trial, and once again confirms that the drawing power of big money,
violent sex and drug abuse is unbeatable. This is still lower than what v.1.0 was
getting before it had to be abandoned due to excessive bandwidth costs. The
bandwidth on Thursday was a tolerable 900 megabytes. I expect that the
numbers will drop after the Kissel trial is over.
-  (Wen
Wei Po) The Chinese government has announced the results of
the advertising audit for second quarter 2005. Out of 3,497 newspaper
ads, 1,095 (31%) were found to seriously violate the advertising
regulations. Out of 5,267 television ads, 447 (8.5%) were found to
seriously violate the regulations. The violations occur in three major
areas: (1) pharmaceutical drug advertisements that make unscientific
assertions or guarantees; (2) medical service advertisements that promise or
guarantee cures; (3) food advertisements that suggest medical benefits using
the names of medical organizations or doctors.
-  I saw
the movie Ah Sou today. What a f*cking waste, but what wasted
potential! All the trailers suggested a powerhouse of a movie with
that all-star cast, but it turned out to be sudsy. If I could gather
all the raw footage, I could have made a straight gangster movie around the
Karena Lam figure as a ruthless Godmother (yeah, that reads funny but you
would not be laughing if that Karena Lam character was staring at
you). Ah Sou's debut in China has been delayed (see Danwei);
my advice to the Chinese: stay home.
-  (Reuters)
The official Chinese news agency Xinhua announced that journalist Ching
Cheong has been formally arrested for spying for Taiwan in return for
money. The western reports are necessarily terse, so I would like to
remind people that the case contains a lot of conflicting information: see
the EastSouthWestNorth blog posts Grand
Unification of Theories about the Case of Ching Cheong and Eastweek
on Ching Cheong. In the classification of the theories, this is
theory #7 (with a bit of theory #3). Of course, this development does
not make the theory true. As to what happens next, there are two opposite
views -- one, Ching Cheong will be charged, tried and sentenced to at least
10 years in jail; the other, Ching Cheong will be expelled back to Hong
Kong without a trial. I'm just a blogger, so I don't have a clue.
-  (Nanfang
(translation: I don't remember which edition of Super Female Voice it was;
maybe it was the Hangzhou regional final. There was a pretty girl
named Ye Yixi and another girl and only one of them will move on, and the host told
them that it is PK. I immediately felt left out, because I had no idea
what the two English letters meant. I looked it up and it was easy to
understand.) Oh, boy, I too had to look it up. This sort of
thing makes me feel ancient.
P.S. In Cantonese, "PK" stands for 扑街.
That is a not-very-nice term that stands for something quite different.
Privileges. That is why this article Return
of "elite" airport lines doesn't fly with everyone by Sara
Kehaulani Goo for the Washington Post bothered me. I can be counted as
a frequent traveler as I live in Hong Kong but I work in New York City and
therefore I go back and forth frequently. I always travel in economy
class, because I see no justification to pay a few thousand more US dollars
for a more comfortable 15-hour flight. That additional money would
have made some of the lower echelon workers in my company a lot happier (and
therefore a lot less grief to the management). Of course, the savings
don't flow down by osmosis but that is another story -- my only concern is
my personal conscience. On my last trip, though, I was truly stunned
when the stewardess came up to me and said, "We are serving brunch
starting from the rear of the plane. You are seated at the very front here and you
may not get what you wish by the time the food cart gets up here. Could
you tell me what your personal choice is and I will bring it up to you right
now?" She had a list of valued customers based upon their
accumulated mileage and she was instructed to give them preferential
treatment. All it did was made me sick to my stomach. I did
mumble one thing or the other to her, but only not to distress her because I
realized that she was only doing her job. I only want to be treated
like everybody else who sat in the same section. In my college years, I was quite touched/devastated when I
read Michael Harrington's The Hidden Injuries of Class. And
such experiences have continued to hurt.
-  (Ming
Pao via Yahoo!
News) On a seemingly unrelated matter (even though we know
that nothing is ever unrelated), the Hong Kong police blotter reports that a
father-and-son team got into a physical battle with four men in a
Tsimshatsui bar and all were arrested by the police. So what?
The father was Ho Yung-hing (何容興),
who was a famous soccer goalie. He was unusually tall at 6'4" for
a Chinese person but still extremely agile. More significantly here, he
represented the Republic of China in World Cup qualifying matches in the
This would be relevant to my blog post Soccer in Hong Kong.
I wonder how he feels if informed post facto that he had actually represented the
Independent Republic of Taiwan. He has been banned for life from certain soccer
activities due to violent actions on the field, so his reaction may not be
very gentle. So, don't ask!
P.S. Ho Yung-hing was legendary for having saved a penalty shot by
superstar Cheung Chi-toi (張子岱)
but broke his wristbone in the process. In my youth, I enjoyed
watching Cheung Chi-toi play for the true bizarreness. He was a
superstar in Hong Kong for having played for Blackpool as a
professional. Today, Blackpool is a minor league team in England, but
it was a top brand back then for having players like Sir Stanley Matthews,
who was knighted because he played soccer so well. When Cheung Chi-toi
returned to Hong Kong, he was just an arrogant prick who stood immobile in
midfield with his hands on his hips and cursing his teammates for not
passing him the ball. On his team was his younger brother Cheung
who was probably a better player. But it was truly amazing to watch
and hear Cheung Chi-toi cursing his younger brother in the traditional
Cantonese way: "I f*ck your mother's stinking rotten c*nt! Why didn't you
the f*cking ball to me!?" and so on. One would think that their mother
did not attend those matches.
-  (Sing
Tao) Three years ago, the Chinese University of Hong Kong
freshmen reception stunned the world with slogans that reeked of sexual
harassment. Big character wallposters went up at the democracy wall to
deplore those slogans. The promotional poster for this year's freshmen
reception is about sex and the university student and features images of a
Japanese geisha, kissing lesbians and Japanese male gay manga.
Whoaaa!? Are we back to the basic instincts again? This was
enough to get a full page treatment in Sing Tao.
Well, maybe not. This is a progressive attempt to discuss sexual
knowledge, gayness and sex workers, including a field trip for the
latter. The student association emphasized that there won't be any
sexual activities and this is not sensationalized. The school says
that the students assume full responsbility for themselves.
-  In tracking the history behind the
article Memo to Time and Reuters: Chávez Did Not Call Bush an "Asshole",
I googled "Chavez"+"pendejo" and was surprised to see
the EastSouthWestNorth blog getting the top ranking. È strano! What other
high Google rankings
does this blog own?
- #1: "Lu Xuesong"; "Jiao Guobiao"; "Huankantou"+"Huaxi"; "Meng Weizai";
"Chen Xiwen"; "Hinano Mizuki"; "Chinese or dogs";
"Virgin prostitutes"; "Zhang Ziyi"+"Toilet"; "Remy Martin"+"Beijing";
- #2: "Yan Lianke"; "Shengyou"; "Shalan flood";
"Ching Cheong"; "Shi Tao"
- #3: "Chen Guidi"; "Nancy Kissel"; "Chico Buarque"+"Pasquim"
- #4: "July 1"+"Hong Kong"
- #6: "Qian Zhongshu"
- #7: "Eileen Chang"
This explains how this blog differs from most others. For most blogs,
people come to the homepage, read the current post and then leave and
forget. Most blog visitors here come as a result of Internet
searches on specific subjects on which the blog posts are good enough to
stand alone. The ratio of pageviews to homepage visits is running
higher than 15-to-1 right now.
-  (Shanghai
Evening Post) The Great Cyber Nanny of China is in fact a real
nanny in human flesh and blood. This is the story of a retired school
teacher with diabetes and a heart problem who patrols nine Internet
'bars'. This volunteer verifies that the bars adhere to their business
hours, monitors the content of their games and checks customer IDs to
prevent minors from entering, and then reports the results to the district
youth and cultural officials, including contact information for offending
minors. There are numerous other retired teachers and party cadres who
play the same role. This teacher got involved in the volunteer program
when a 15-year-old
student robbed an old woman to obtain money to in order to get on the
Internet and got caught. Well, what are you going to do? Hate
her for being a tool of the horrible party apparatus? If so, trying
telling that to her face.
(Chongqing Morning News via Yahoo!
News) Groan! This is yet another story about a deputy
mayor accepting 225,000 yuan in bribes on 9 occasions. This was not
disputed. But this man was fined only 60,000 yuan and sentence to 3
years (with a 5 year deferral). At Sina.com, an Internet survey with
59,531 votes as of August 3 (8:00 am) show 66.53% don't believed that he was
guilty of accepting bribes, and 72.14% believed that the verdict was unfair
to him. Is this the end of morals and ethics in society?
What makes Yu Bin so special? Because he took the money out of
desperation -- not for himself, but for the poor people who came to see
him. He had no choice. In the interview, he used this example:
"It was before the Spring Festival in 2003 and three dismissed workers
came to the municipal building, sat in the mayor's office and refused to
leave. They were not asking for much: 'Here is the New Year and we
dismissed workers don't have any meat or fish to put on the table.' So
Yu took out his wallet and gave them 200 yuan apiece." Money
doesn't grow out of trees, and Yu Bin said he had to keep finding money to
help people even though it was against the law. During his trial, he
offered evidence about how the money went towards solving practical local
problems (such as schools and water works), but the court refused to consider it because the only legal issue
was whether he took the money or not.
-  Quotes
for eternity from Rafael Palmeiro of the Baltimore Orioles from the Los
March 2005, House Government Reform Committee: "I have never used steroids. Period. I do not know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never."
August 2005, press conference call: "I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period."
Many more quotes at Slate.
-  Fear
sells newspapers. We all know that. The fear factor has been
raised another level with this Sing
Tao story: Hong Kong people crossing the border at the Nantou entry
point have been terrorized by a group of about 10 AIDS patients. These
are all drug users who infected each other through shared needles. A
Hong Kong resident named Wen recalled passing through Nantou and then had a
collision with a pedestrian. The two people pulled Wen aside and
showed him ten needles, three of which were broken. They then demanded
HK$300 from Wen whom they said broke the needles. When Wen demurred,
they pulled out another needle filled with red liquid and claimed that it
was AIDS-infected blood; they also showed him their AIDS treatment
records. Wen ended up paying.
Last Thursday, a Shenzhen resident named He was extorted of 70 yuan by the
same means. He called the police and when the police stopped the two
individuals, they took out their needles and AIDS treatment records and
cursed the victim: "How dare you report to the police when we haven't
even stabbed you yet?" The two were taken back to the police
station and released shortly afterwards because the police station has no
facility to accommodate people with AIDS.
A migrant worker named Li said, "If the robbers ever stabbed me with an
AIDS needle, I'll kill them for sure since I am going to die
anyway." Fear factor.
-  (First
Economic Daily via Media
China) According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences 2005
survey of 1,169 Internet citizens in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu
and Changsa, the most frequent Internet activities are news (65.9%),
followed by browsing, games, downloading music and entertainment
information. E-mail comes in at only 44.8%.
From the 2005 MARS survey in the USA, the list of most common activities are
e-mail (88.1%), followed by shopping (45.5%), banking (42.5%), news (38.1%)
and games (30.1%). It is noteworthy to compare the positions of news
and e-mail in China and USA. Shopping and banking are well-established
and trustworthy in the United States than in China.
From the 2005 TGI Brasil study in Brazil, the list of most common activities
are e-mail (78.2%) followed by news (57.8%), instant messaging (38.8%),
music (37.8%), chat room (36.1%) and games (31.6%). This is again a
different Internet world (and they didn't even ask about fotologs in the
survey). And the Brazilians won't do shopping and banking on the
In the 2005 CASS study of the full 2,376 sample (both netizens and
non-netizens), the media contact rates are television (97%), newspapers
(86%), books (56%), magazines (53%), Internet (49%) and radio (38%).
After getting the Internet, 43.2% of the netizens listened to less radio,
39.3% read fewer magazines, 32.5% watch less television and 29.8% read fewer
No, we don't live in a homogenized globalized world.
-  Funny
shot from Liberal
Oasis at how Bob Woodard might have explained Watergate today:
"It’s not a break-in. It’s opposition research. There’s a tendency here to treat every hardball tactic as some sort of crime. There are stories going around that the DNC front door was unlocked. If that is true, then how can you blame a guy for walking in and checking what’s in the file cabinets?"
This spoof statement is indeed what passes for discourse these days, if not
Woodard then others. What a cultural seachange!
-  (Nanfang
Daily) Yet another piece of bêtise: A plastic
goods factory took advantage of the summer vacation to hire youth workers,
including many of whom are under 16 years old. The children said,
"We worked from 8am-noon, 1pm-5pm and 630pm-1130pm every day and we
make 1.8 yuan per hour." One 15-year-old said that he was grabbed by
the hair and slapped four times by the group leader for being slow.
When asked, the manager said that they were aware that some of the workers
were under-aged but that they did not know the child labor laws actually
cover the summer workers. Duhhhhh!
-  (The
Sun) Here is a piece of bêtise: There are many
underground lottery games in mainland China. But the players would not
trust the operators to come up with an honest game (i.e. the operators will
probably come with a number so they win the grand prize themselves each
time). Therefore, many of those games use the Hong Kong lottery
numbers. Some people in Hong Kong have been receiving unsolicited
emails from mainland China that offer to pay them HK$3,000 in cash if they
can offer tips on playing the Hong Kong lottery. Apparently, this came
from a company that offers its clients final tips just before the drawing.
Let me get this straight -- suppose that I know what the winning numbers
will be (and don't even ask me how). On one hand, I could tell this company and get
HK$3,000. On the other hand, I could play those numbers here in Hong
Kong and win the grand prize (which was HK$60 million last time).
Decision, decision, decision ... The fact is that I could do both
without jeopardizing anything, but why should I care about HK$3,000 even as
I colleect HK$60 million? I am not that desperate, am I?
-  (Xinhua)
The Second China International Adult Toys and Reproductive Health Exhibition
is being held in Shanghai. Here are some photos are the scene (via Wenxue
-  At InMediaHK,
Lingnan is traveling in Mexico and reporting about the newspaper industry
over there. The important thing is to realize that newspapers in one
country may be completey different from another for political, cultural and
economic reasons. Hong Kong has theoretically 48 newspapers (about a
dozen big ones) in a city of 7 million; New York City has 7 newspapers in a
city of 7 million; Mexico City has more than 30 newspapers in a city of 20
million. Next, you look at circulation: Oriental Daily has 400,000,
Apple Daily has 340,000, etc in Hong Kong; The Wall Street Journal and the
New York Times has circulations of about 2 million; in Mexico City, nobody
gets more than 200,000 and most of them are fewer than 10,000. How is
a newspaper supposed to survive on a daily circulation of 5,000?
There are two things that you won't see as much elsewhere:
Gacetilla which is a form of paid advertisement whereby a newspaper
features a politician as a front page news story;
(2) Self-censorship (see Fiona Morgan's A
wrench in the "ruling party machine" and Jeffrey Stoub's Self-Censorship
and the Mexican Press) to make sure that the largest advertisers do
not get offended;
It is no wonder that common people don't read the newspapers, but the
newspapers can nevertheless survive economically.
P.S. There is no English-language newspaper for the reason that anyone
who reads English is probably Internet-savvy and can get anything that they
want in English or Spanish. Websites such as The Wall Street Journal,
Miami Herald, BBC, CNN, ESPN and others have Spanish editions. If you
must, you can subscribe to the Mexico edition of the Miami Herald published
in partnership with Mexico City's El Universal (see link).
-  (Oriental
Daily) Yesterday was the inauguration of the special train
from Tung Chung to Disneyland in Hong Kong. 18,000 people took the
train. Please remember this: Disneyland is not open yet -- this is a
train to nowhere right now, and 18,000 people took it. By comparison,
700 people showed up on Sunday on behalf of freedom of speech (see link).
P.S. More than 4 million people saw the dinosaur exhibit.
-  On
August 1, Edward Cody reported extensively on the Chizhou riot in the Washington
Post. The article is very similar to the one in Southern
Metropolis News that appeared one month ago (translated on this blog at The Chizhou Incident).
So why should you wait one month to read it in WaPo? Just come here
instead. P.S. Boxun should not have received credit for the photo in
which was harvested off the Internet.
-  With a
little time on hand this afternoon, I went to see Tsu Hark's Seven Swords.
As a child, I read the original martial arts novel Seven Swords Descend
Mount Tian by Liang Yusheng many times, even though I don't enjoy his
style. The problem with Liang's novels is that it is a rigid meritocracy --
people are graded on their martial art skills, and when a superior fighter
encounters an inferior fighter, the outcome is always the same. For
example, if you are 20% better, you will win in 50 blows; if you are 10%
better, you will win in 100 blows, and nothing ever changes. It would
take the later generation of writers such as Gu Lung and Wen Rui'an to rectify this rigid
structure and in
a big and exciting way. In real life, inferior fighters can win by
deception or luck. In any case, this adaptation is quite divorced from the
original story, which was alright for me except this screen story is superficial in
that there was no way to develop all the characters within the time allowed
for a commercial movie.
Liang Yusheng was considered to be a pro-China
writer. For example, his martial arts series on the Empress Wu was
taken to be an apology for the misunderstood chairman of the People's
Republic of China, while
the Tibet series was about ... well, you know, Tibet. So it goes
without say that this movie is bound to be scrutinised through a political lens.
There is an interesting discussion at InMediaHK
about how to interpret the ending of the movie. The seven swordsmen have defeated the
bounty hunters but there will undoubtedly be more coming. They will
never find peace because they have broken the Emperor's law against owning
weapons and practicing martial arts. So their idea was: "Let's go
to the capital and petition the Emperor to rescind the law" and the
seven set off as the children (=future generation) waved goodbye with their
hands. At this point, one is bound to groan at the sell-out.
Just like the Chinese peasants of today, these heroic swordsmen's
imaginations (or lack thereof) boxed them in to think that only the Emperor can
Hmm ... not so fast here ... here are seven mean and nasty sword-carrying
fighters heading toward the capital to ask the Emperor to rescind the law
against people bearing arms and practicing martial arts. This is like robbers
petitioning against robbery laws, rapists against rape laws, etc. And
didn't they come from a village belonging to the Heaven and Earth Society, a
well-known pro-Ming/anti-Qing subversive group dedicated to overthrowing the
Empire? Did they think that they were just going to knock on the gates
of the Forbidden Palace and ask for an audience? Why would the Emperor
see them or listen to them? He shouldn't -- unless he loses his head,
literally and not just figuratively. There
was no other way to
interpret that ending in spite of Tsu Hark's apparent statement. 官逼民反!
And the Emperor was the root of the problem! And the seven swordsmen
had no choice but to cut his head off!
By the way, if Seven Swords makes breakeven or better at the box
office, you can expect a sequel. The most dramatic part about the Seven
Swords was that one original member became a turncoat whereas that
character is the most positive person so far in this movie. He
was also the most skilled swordsman in the story (ooops, I just gave away that he is Brother Number One); under Liang's meritocracy, no one else can
beat him, so the reader may wonder how he was eventually defeated (and he
must be defeated because martial arts novels at the time was not yet ready to
accept that evil triumphs over good sometimes). Be
prepared! It would be a shame if the sequel wasn't made.
-  There
is an update report posted at the Yannan
BBS about the Dingzhou (Shengyou) incident (for details, see The
Shengyou Reporter's Field Notes). The report says
that the government will pay for all medical expenses of the injured
villagers, plus 2,000 yuan for 'nutrition fees.' For the six dead
villagers, the government has reached an agreement with their families to
the amount of 230,000 yuan per family in compensation and this will allow
burials to take place (which the families previously refused to do so
until the case is settled). The criminal case against the attackers is
But this post is remarkable for the last paragraph. The author
identifies himself as Chu Wangtai (楚望台),
he lists his ID number 370702198501072231 and he declares: "I
relinquish the copyright to this essay and I will assume legal
responsibility for the veracity of this report." In other words,
"Bring it on!" If this man gets arrested for stating this, I swear
will spend the rest of my life fighting on his behalf. That is a
-  (Apple
Daily) Remember that in the post Freedom of Press in Taiwan
about the license renewal process for cable/satellite television news
channels in Taiwan? The verdict is in. In an evening meeting of
the 12 members of the evaluation committee that was recorded on video tape
and monitored remotely Minister of the Government Information Office (GIO)
Pasuya Yao (姚文智),
ETTV-S was the only one denied a license. A press release indicated
that the reasons are: violation of the "Children and Youth Welfare
Law", "Prevention Against Sexual Abuse Law", "Food and
Hygiene Administration Law" and "Satellite Broadcasting Territory
Previously, during the first round, the committee rated ETTV-S as "lacking in media self-regulation", "accumlating 25
administrative penalties", "corporate debt in excess of 66% in
violation of legal requitements" and "failure to delineate
relationships with political figures." The last item referred to
Taipei Councilor Wang Yu-cheng (see A
Cockroach in Taiwan) as well as to a certain unnamed heavy-weight
legislator and his wife in southern Taiwan.
As a result, ETTV-S must stop broadcasting effective August 3 or else face
fines. The jobs of about 50 employees will be affected
immediately. Six other non-news channels were also denied licenses.
-  In Ming
Pao (via Yahoo!
News), Jackie Hung said that in the future the Civil Human Rights
Front of Hong Kong should not be bothered by the number of attendees at the
demonstrations. "The Civil Human Rights Front was concerned about
its reputation and popularity, and this constituted a kind of pressure to
maintain a large number in the demonstrations. This caused the Front
to look only at mainstream topics while ignoring minority
issues." She said that the counting of the number of marchers
should be "outsourced" to other organizations to relieve the
pressure on the front.
Of course, Jackie Hung was the same person who accused everyone who doubted
her 530,000 figure in 2004 as traitors to the cause of democracy (see The Hong Kong 7/1 March: Crowd Size
Estimates). I wish the Ming Pao reporter could ask her,
"Do you still stand by the 530,000 figure for 2004 then?"
But what is the point, because I am sure that she will still continue to
waffle: "Justice lives in the hearts of the people!" and not face
up to that everlasting legacy!
RAID! Police officers raid illegal adult entertainment establishments
in China. Is it fair to show faces of the 'alleged' offenders?
In the United States, the names and photos of 'patrons' are published by the
police after they are convicted, but these photos were taken during the raid
and before any court trial. Still,
are there any doubts? Well, this is about protecting that one
exceptional wrongful case (see More
Virgin Prostitutes, for example).
-  First
meet the hype (Ming
Pao): The Democratic Force To Save Hong Kong will hold a
demonstration march to support Raymond Wong and the freedom of speech.
Legislator Leung "Long Hair" Kwok-hung announced at a press
conference that 4,000 to 5,000 are expected to attend.
Then meet reality (Sing
Tao): About 500 citizens demonstrated in Central to ask the
government to open up radio frequencies, set up civil radio stations and
offer platforms for free speech. (Update: Ming
Pao) About 700 citizens attended with a peak of 1,000
according to the organizers. Meanwhile, (Ming
Pao) reported that four million people attended the dinosaur
exhbition in Hong Kong. There has to be sense of proportion here about
how things are what they are.
-  Well,
you know this routine: when you need a boost in audience ratings, you put
out news stories that are the stuff of nightmares for all parents. (Wenxue
City) In Harbin, a mother found her son acting strangely
recently. The child used to be outgoing, but these days he just shuts
himself in his room and surf the Internet. So the mother decided to
check what the son was up to and found him chatting live with a topless
And when a news item like this shows up, it also makes you wonder if it is
time for another round of Internet censorship. After all, they are
going to point to this 12-year-old boy as the indefensible and inexcusable reason. Xinhua
just said: "In this virtual world, the pervasion of indecent information is inevitable. Social administrators should help people distinguish the bad from the good and punish netizens who violate related laws and regulations."
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Ming
Pao focuses on another parents' nightmare: a 13-year-old has been
arrested for being a Sun Yee On triad member who has already forced three
other schoolmates to join the gang for 'protection.' By custom, new
members have to pay initiation fees in an amount of three followed by a
string of sixes. For example, a grown-up might have to pay HK$3,666,
but these young kids only had to pay HK$3.60 (less than US$0.50) based upon
the ability to pay. In market-oriented Hong Kong, everything depends
on the ability to pay.