-  Friday
Evening Horrors. This is Friday after 5pm in Hong Kong and
Saturday is October 1, the national holiday.
Of all the things that Hong Kong could have learned from the United States,
I am glad that so far the government here has not resorted to the practice
of saving the bad news for the weekend so that they will have longer time to
die down when the work week begins on Monday. I am reminded of this on account of the biography on Sir Richard
Mottram who just became UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's top security and
intelligence adviser. The
Guardian has this:
He was permanent secretary at the Department of Transport when, on September 11 2001, Jo Moore, an aide to Stephen Byers, then secretary of state, told officials in an email that it would be "a very good day" to "get out anything we want to bury". A few months later, in February 2002, Ms Moore and Martin Sixsmith, the department's director of communications, allegedly discussed whether the day of Princess Margaret's funeral would be a good time to release potentially damaging figures about the state of the railways.
It was subsequently announced that both Ms Moore and Mr Sixsmith had resigned. Mr Sixsmith denied this, and Mr Byers, who did later resign, gave a confusing account in the Commons about what had gone on. Sir Richard put it more succinctly. He is said to have told a colleague: "We're all fucked. I'm fucked. You're fucked. The whole department's fucked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely fucked."
All the same, Sir Richard Mottram is now the
top security and intelligence adviser. This is democracy for you,
because you need the best people working for you to influence public
opinion. Nothing else matters, really.
-  Counting
the Number of Marchers. (Common
Dreams) MediaChannel reader Douglas Marshall reports:
"Instead of marching I decided to try to get an accurate count of the parade participants last Saturday. I stationed myself at the corner of H and 15th Streets, facing north. Standing with the police line blocking off the right turn off H Street so that marchers would continue on to the east on H Street, the designated parade route. My vigil started at 1:00 PM, before any marchers had arrived. The first marchers passed my line of vision at 1:15 PM and continued passing my line of vision until 4:45 PM, when the last ones passed by.
"It was my first try at crowd estimation but with extensive early experience in construction estimating, I had adequate, common-sense approximating skills to bring to bare. Using several different approximation techniques Saturday evening, I came up early on with several different figures as follows: 255,000, 216,000, 205,000, 193,000. Back home after a day to let it settle, I went back over the numbers and the whole procedure, and established for myself the most likely set of approximations to make allowances for the fact that some times there were only 5-6 marchers per second crossing my view. At other times, including marchers on the sidewalks there were 24-26 marchers per second.
"Allowing for only 5-6 marchers per second passing my line of vision for 1/10th of the time, 22 marchers per second passing my line of vision for 4/10ths of the times, and 14 marchers per second passing my line of vision for the remaining 5/10ths of the time, I arrived at what for me feels most comfortable: 210,000 marchers. [Interestingly enough, as I read this over now, I've just averaged the four first preliminary approximations; the average of the four is 217,000+."
-  Taiwan
Poll Results. (China
Times) This is a telephone survey of 1,104 presons in Taiwan
conducted during September 27-29, and the subject is foreign policy.
The political self-identifications are 18.9% "pan-blue", 7.6%
"pan-green" and 69.4% "independent." These numbers
may be at variance with voting patterns, but please remember this is
self-identification and eventually an independent will have to vote one way
or the other.
On President Chen Shui-bian's performance during the foreign trip: 2.4%
'satisfied'; 23.5% 'somewhat satisfied', 11.8% 'so-so'; 14.9% 'somewhat
dissatisfied'; 19.0% 'dissatisfied.'
On the expense of NT$8.3 billion in foreign aid offered to Central American
allies: 63.5% 'disagreed'; 9.1% 'agreed.'
On which political party is better on foreign policy: 24.5% Nationalists;
5.8% Democratic Progressive Party; 42.1% no opinion.
About the nine foreign trips made by President Chen Shui-bian during his
five years in office: 18.9% 'necessary'; 51.1% 'too much, a waste of public
funds'; 30% 'no opinion.'
-  Bloody
During September 10-15, a Hunan television station showed China's first
reality television show titled Angels Love Beauty. The subject?
Fourteen people selected from more than 1,000 applicants received cosmetic
surgery such as breast enhancement, liposuction, nose jobs, etc. The
procedures were shown on television. Blood was flowing
liberally. One viewer said: "After watching the broadcast, I had
nightmares." Yes, but what were the television audience ratings?
-  What
do you care? Unlike most blogs, ESWN does not allow
comments. This was a deliberate decision after considering the
allocation of my time. Shall I spend my time doing spam patrol and
troll managerment? Or work on blog posts? It was a
no-brainer. Still, if you want, you can send emails in. 99% of
the emails will not be answered for the same reasons (and there are more than
1,000 messages in my Inbox right now waiting for disposal). I do
answer emails that have a rational basis. Sometimes, I would tag on my
own survey questions in my response.
At first, I had imagined the target universe of ESWN to be the
English-reading world outside of China. After all, this site is
presented in English. Increasingly, I have found from Google and
Technorati that I am linked from Chinese-language MSN SPACES sites and
others. So I have usually asked my correspondents from inside China:
"Why should you care about ESWN? This is by and large a
translation blog, and you would have seen all the original materials
I am pleased to say that the answers fall into the following lines:
(1) "In principle, I should have read the materials but it seems that
you read a great deal more in a timely manner";
(2) "I am interested in how someone else is looking at these things and
what the outside world is thinking";
(3) "While I can keep track of what is going on inside China, the
reports on Hong Kong and Taiwan are fascinating because many of the sources
are censored here";
(4) "The selection in the Brief Comments section are unpredictable and
surprising; they show what a strange world we live in";
(5) "The recommended photos/reading shows me a completely different
world out there"
How do people in China find me? Googling a specific subject or topic
might be a reason. But the most often stated specific answer is Danwei,
especially when they go out of their way with a post like Don't mess with ESWN
that has this endorsement: "The best English language blog about China, by far, is called ESWN, or East South West North."
Upon information and belief, Danwei is the most popular English-language
blog from China. With endorsements like that, I can't miss ...
-  Pathological
Liars. Most people are not good at lying, because they lack
practice (I can think of Nancy
Kissel on the witness stand as an example). But some politicians are very good at it because it is an
important job skill. In A
Xinhua Reporter's Personal Notes, the reporter was stunned by an
official staring him in the eye and telling a straight lie. Perhaps
the most often cited examplen of pathological lying is what Tucker Carlson had to say about Karen
Hughes at Salon.com:
"I heard that [on the campaign bus, Bush communications director] Karen Hughes accused me of lying. And so I called Karen and asked her why she was saying this, and she had this almost Orwellian rap that she laid on me about how things she'd heard -- that I watched her hear -- she in fact had never heard, and she'd never heard Bush use profanity ever. It was insane.
I've obviously been lied to a lot by campaign operatives, but the striking thing about the way she lied was she knew I knew she was lying, and she did it anyway. There is no word in English that captures that. It almost crosses over from bravado into mental illness.
They get carried away, consultants do, in the heat of the campaign, they're really invested in this. A lot of times they really like the candidate. That's all conventional. But on some level, you think, there's a hint of recognition that there is reality -- even if they don't recognize reality exists -- there is an objective truth. With Karen you didn't get that sense at all."
Readers's contribution: Perhaps George
Orwell had the clearest explanation for both the need and the art of
pathological lying: "To tell lies and simultaneously sincerely believe
in them; to forget all that when conveniently you don’t want to remember
and, soon, when it returns to be necessary, to remove it from the
forgetfulness only by the time that is advisable; to deny the existence of
the objective reality without even for a moment letting to know that refused
reality exists… all this is indispensable."
-  A
Lot More On The Masturbation VCD. Just in today's Apple Daily alone,
there were nine stories. (Apple
Daily) The most dramatic one is Peng Chia-chia getting down on
his knees in front of the media and said: "I don't have another 50
years. I have a mother and I have three children to take care
of. Will everybody just let me go?" (「我沒有再一個五十年了，我有媽媽，還有三個小孩要養，大家放過我好不好？」). Of
course, all this does is to pour oil on fire.
Here is the Apple
Daily instant poll (automated telephone sample of 388 persons around
Taiwan): Peng Chia-chia is afraid of revenge from the gansters and is
therefore not telling the truth. If he cooperates with the police, do
you think the police have the ability to protect him? Yes: 43%; No:
35%; Don't know/no opinion: 22%.
-  Another
Chinese Democracy Advocate In The News. Okay, so I get abused
for daring to translate The
Tragicomedy of the Overseas Chinese Democratic Movement. But
the idea was that if you are squeaky clean, no one can touch you. So
is it my fault that Ni Yuxian (倪育賢),
the Chairman of the Party for Democracy and Freedom in China, is in the
It is reported that Ni Yuxian was arrested by Suffolk County police on Long
Island (NY, USA) for sexually abusing two underaged Chinese females.
Ni Yuxian is being charged with the crimes of "sexual misconduct"
and "endangering welfare of child." The family of the
victims have told the prosecutor that they vehemently object to the
reduction of the charges down from "rape." Next question:
Was Ni framed by the Suffolk County police who are in the pay of the Chinese
Communists? I report, you decide.
-  Non-Simultaneous
Translation. From Next Week, there is this sign at La Maison
de l'Orient at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Hong Kong. If you read only
English, you will find that the restaurant offers Lunch, Dinner and Private
Rooms. If you read only Chinese, you will find that the restaurant
offers only Breakfast, Afternoon Tea and Late Night Snacks. Perfect
segregation by language? No, the English readers seemed to be getting
the better deal. Such is the laziness in language ...
-  The
Masturbation VCD. This is the biggest story in Taiwan right
now. No, it is not about the scuffling at the Legislature (see China
Post), which everyone has no doubt seen numerous times in
slow-motion analysis. Here is the Apple Daily front page.
This is about a blackmail case over a video clip.
It is difficult to pin down the details since there are multiple
versions in circulation. Here is the gist of my understanding (see,
for example, China
Times). The entertainer/celebrity Peng Chia-chia (澎恰恰)
was at a party. While under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, he
over a woman. The act was recorded by a mobile phone-camera.
The woman is alleged to be the niece of a gang boss. Afterwards, there
was an issue with compensation for the 'shame' inflicted on the woman, who
had been intoxicated and unconscious at the time. Peng tried to ask
other gang bosses to intercede and eventually paid some money. The
reported amount varied from NT$3 to NT$90 million. That is the gist of
the matter. But why did the reported money amount varied so much?
The most common version (see China
Times) was that Peng had negotiated for NT$20 million and he gave
the money to an intermediary, the singer Bingo Guo. However, Guo
stuffed NT$17 million into his own pockets and passed along only NT$3
million. The gang boss was insulted and sent men to beat up Bingo
Guo. He also told Peng to pay up. When Peng told him that his
intermediary had pocketed the money, the gang boss said "That's too bad,
but I still want my money." So eventually Peng had to come up
with more money. He also sought help from various gang bosses, a
legislator (believed to be Ko Chun-hsiung (柯俊雄))
and reporters, and
each one of them received 'tea money' to the amounts of millions for their
efforts. That was how the payment amounts ballooned.
The photo was taken at a press conference, during which Peng Chia-chia
proclaimed that there is no sex VCD. So what about the photographs
shown in the magazine? Oh, there is a masturbation VCD but it is not a
VCD with sexual intercourse.
P.S. The masturbation video only lasts 5 minutes. However, on
the VCD, there were other Peng Chia-chia film clips, such as the vibrating
car episode when he entered a car with a female salsa dancer and then the
car bounced up and down for about 30 minutes. When asked, the woman
Liu Zhen (note: she is the person featured in the Apple Daily front page
above) explained that they were just looking at a film script.
-  Oranges
Are Cheap. Wee Whale
directed me to the second TV ad for WTO MC6, and this one is about the
price of oranges. You can follow this link
to watch the Real video. The 30-second clip is in Cantonese, but there
is an English-language transcript right next to it. Great
service! Except the transcript is missing a crucial exchange at the
end. Here is the published transcript:
Man: What are we having for dinner tonight?
Lady: What do you expect with such a small shopping budget?
Man: Come on, we've got such a wide variety of inexpensive foods in Hong Kong. You can buy these oranges, for example, at a lower price here than in most parts of the world.
Man: Yes, because the goods enter Hong Kong without tariffs. If they didn't, our shopping bill would be higher.
Lady: I didn't realize ... ...
Man: So now you know.
After listening/watching the video, I
translated the last three sentences as follows.
Man: Yes, because the goods enter Hong Kong without tariffs. If they didn't, our shopping bill would be higher.
(pause) Or else how are you able to save so much private funds?
Lady: I haven't!
Man: More like you are not saving just a wee bit!
So this is about gender relationships in Hong
Kong. Traditionally, the husband is the principal wage earner and he
gives the wife some money each month for housekeeping expenses. Very
often, the wife would secretly save some of the money for herself. Why? The economic power is unbalanced. If and when
the husband leaves the wife, she will be financially distressed. So a
smart woman will build up her own nestegg. This cuts right to the
inequality in marriages.
MC6 website is intended for residents and visitors. It would not
do to give the English-only users any ideas about imperfect gender
relationships in Hong Kong. Solution: Hit the delete key and make up
something innocuous. Question: At what point did they realize that they
had such a problem? Why was this not rejected at the concept stage?
-  Dirty
White Slut. (Apple
Daily) In Taipei, there are free city maps distributed at the
airport and hotels. These maps are published once every three months,
typically with singers on the front cover. On this occasion, the
featured singer was Vivian Hsu and she wore a t-shirt that read "Dirty White
Slut." The editorial staff did not pay attention to that.
After this was exposed in Hong Kong newspapers, the maps have been withdrawn
-  Yahoo!
Boycott?. I promised you that the previous posts
and the case of Shi Tao and Yahoo!
Sends Another Man To Jail would be unpopular and indeed the hate mail is
pouring in. Here, I will try to answer them collectively.
I begin by explaining who I am. I am employed by a £10 billion+
corporation for advertising/public relations/marketing research. In
terms of corporate culture, I am a total misfit. However, they have decide
to keep me around for two reasons. I am the start-up guy who can build
a new business with next-to-zero investment of resources. I am also
the guy to salvage any endangered business. Why? Because I am
dispassionate and remorseless. I draw a straightline between our current
situation and the ultimate business objective, and I will roll over
everything and everyone in the way. Corporate culture and etiquette
mean nothing to me. I don't care whom I offend in the corporate
hierarchy, but I will get the job done. In the end, the corporation
acknowledges and appreciates that quality.
That is why I am still there.
So now we come to the case of Yahoo! and Shi Tao. We are where we
are. What is the end goal? I regard the end goal as changing the
behavior of the Chinese government, with respect to a case like Shi
Tao. The question is how to get there.
But here is what I see will unfold if the current boytcott-Yahoo! campaign unfolds:
- The western world pressures Yahoo! with a consumer boycott. Yahoo!
folds and says that it will refuse to comply with any request from the
Chinese government. The Chinese government will claim that Yahoo! is
aiding and abetting criminal activities and ban all email from Yahoo.com.cn
(as well as Yahoo.com and other local Yahoo! service) into China.
... you can insert any number of other transnational email services here.
The net effect is that any boycotted-and-surrendering service will be banned
in China. How hard is that to implement? They wouldn't need any
special Cisco hardware to do that. Even I can write a piece of
software that will automatically reject Yahoo.com.cn
and other email services on any mail server.
Meanwhile, what will the Chinese users do? They have just been shut
out of Yahoo.com.cn, and so on. So they will
just have to go to Sohu.com, 263.com or whatever. Those are Chinese
email servers that will not be affected by any western boycott. It is
not as if the Chinese Internet users have no email services to choose from.
What is the net effect? It means JACK to people inside China.
All you have done is inconvenience them with respect to relocating and
informing their contacts. They will just hate whoever made this
happen. It may make the people
outside who organized the boycotts very happy because they made a few
corporations bend to their wills and therefore show that they have power and
influence. But so what? As I said, I am the person who draws the
straight line between the current position and the end goal. In this
case, there hasn't been an inch of movement towards the end goal. If
you only want to draw a straightline from here to Yahoo!, then this is just
bone-headed, wrong-headed and air-headed. The bad guys will be
cheering you on!
Frankly, I don't give a damn if Yahoo! lives or dies. It is just
another faceless globalized company that I cannot ever love.
But if I can put the challenge in more direct terms: How will a Yahoo! boycott
change things inside China!? Draw a roadmap for the uninitiated such
as myself because the activists obviously know something that I don't.
I suggest that there is no such roadmap. Meanwhile, I have not detected even a hint of interest about this inside
China. Remember that there are 100+ million Internet users inside
China. How many of them give a damn about the Yahoo! boycott?
Footnotes: There are two technical arguments offered in which Yahoo!
did not have to do what they did. [Note: I will state that I don't
have the detailed information and everyone else also acknowlege that they
don't either. And I am never comfortable when the grounds are so
uncertain. I will nevertheless tell you what I think in the absence of
(1) Assertion: The warrant was fulfilled by the Yahoo! (Hong Kong)
Corporation which is located outside Hong Kong and therefore did not have to comply in
theory. With due respect, the domain name is yahoo.com.cn, so they
must have a physical address inside China. When the police showed up at
that address, shall the representative say: "But we are registered in
Hong Kong and we don't have to give you anything." If so, then
you must agree that I can register kiddiepron.com in the US through a
corporation located in Vanunu (or some such) and never ever worry about US
law enforcement getting on my case. Look, if you are yahoo.com.cn,
then you must yield the information. If the police showed up at HSBC in
Hong Kong for records on suspicion of fraud, can the bank claim to be registered in the Bahamas
(which it is) and ignore the warrant? If you don't like it, you can be
just Yahoo.com and China cannot reach you except through Interpol.
(2) Assertion: Yahoo! could have saved itself if it located its mail servers physically
outside of China. Here, I will invoke the recent case of Banco Delta
Asia, which was the target of a run due to allegations of money laundering
on behalf of North Korea. If the Macau police had shown up and demanded
all electronic mail data, shall the IT manager say, "But our mail
servers are located in Vanunu and therefore we don't have to
comply"? If this works, then all corporations will rapidly re-locate
their mail servers to Vanunu ASAP. The physical location of the mail
servers should not be a shield. Look, if you are yahoo.com.cn, then
you must yield the information. If you don't like it, you can be just
Yahoo.com and China cannot reach you except through Interpol.
-  The Case of
Guo Feixiong. Here, I will cut away from my facetious mask and
state the facts as they are known:
- In The
Taishi Village Elections - Part 1 (Chronology), it was noted that
the activist Guo Feixiong was 'disappeared' on September 13, 2005.
- In a later note, some villagers released said that they saw Guo Feixiong
in the custody of the Panyu public security bureau, and he was in really bad
You say "no biggie", but I say "BIGGIE."
For evidence, you will have to consider what a person like Guo Feixiong has
decided what his strategy might be. We don't know what his current
situation is, because he has not been allowed to see a lawyer.
But his strategy is likely to be the same as described in this previous
astonishing post about him: The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Enemy.
There was no point in arguing with the Panyu public security bureau which
had no basis for arresting him. Everything that Guo did was guaranteed
by the Constitution and laws of the People's Republic of China. So the
only thing left is to refuse to
cooperate and go on a hunger strike. After all, he was dealing with
low-level public security operatives who know that they could get into HEAP
BIG TROUBLE if something untoward occurred under their watch.
I ask, Why should Guo Feixiong sustain permanent physical damages before
they let him go?
-  Male
Body Sushi. Last year, a restaurant in Kunming (Yunnan, China)
offered the first 'girl body sushi' meal (女体盛,
nyotaimori (eating sushi from a naked human plate)) (see China
Daily). How might one get even more publicity than that?
How about 'male body sushi (男体盛)?
Recently, CCTV carried a segment on 'male body sushi'. But whereas the
original restaurant service was a for-profit enterprise that got roundly
criticized, the 'male body sushi' party is a somewhat different matter.
The 'male body sushi' event took place in Chongqing, in June last
year. There were six female diners, four of whom worked for New
Woman magazine, one was a wedding photographer and the other was the
restaurant owner. This was in fact a special event arranged for a
magazine article. (Beijing Youth Daily via Yahoo!
News) This is like action art: If men can demean the female
body, then so too can women demean the male body. The sexes may not be
equal on account of this, but at least men can be reminded that the
so-called male-chauvinist 'culture' that treats the female body like a
'container' contains much gender inequity.
But the best of intentions can be misunderstood. (Chongqing Evening
News via Yahoo!
News) When CCTV broadcast the show on September 22, 2005, it
was roundly condemned. It was just too easy to regard this as a bad
imitation of the commercial 'girl body sushi' enterprise. And the
'male body sushi' drew even more resentment from the public, once again
confirming the gender inequality. So the 'male body sushi' drew the
barbs against itself, rather than causing people to reflect and condemn
'girl body sushi.'
[Blogger's comment: In the above, I have only tried to be the objective news
translator. Here, I am compelled to interject my personal
opinion. These pictures are repulsive to me. I must be out of my
mind to pay $US200 for this 'male body sushi' meal! With due respect,
this is just disgusting! If you want to do piss your money away, you
have my hearty approval (and my personal evaluation that you are a moron)l!]
-  Li
Ao vs. Yu Jie. Diversity of opinions is good, so we've been
told. So I'm going to give your some diverse opinions in translation.
From Yannan BBS (via Boxun),
"Yu Jie is an independently spirited intellectual with a conscience; Li
Ao is a lapdog scholar who has sold out his conscience to praise the
authority. On mainland China, Yu Jie criticized Mao Zedong and revealed
the dark secrets of the Party; in Taiwan, Li Ao claims that the Party made
China rich and powerful to reach a flourishing age just like the Han and
Tang dynasties ..."
Century Net) "Mr. Li Ao has been jailed and his books
have been banned. Can such a person still get scolded and
criticized? I just wonder that if we don't support Li Ao, who can we
support? ... Speaking of Li Ao, I want to mention Yu Jie in mainland
China. Based upon my reading experiences, their writings are at the
third-rate level of the May Fourth era. But based upon their
influence, they are worthy of a place in the future "history of
literature," just like Mr. Jin Yong and Ms. Qiong Yao are regarded as
Hong Kong and Taiwan 'literary authors.' If you are used to reading
the usual kind of effete sentimentality of Jin Yong/Qiong Yao while you sit
on the toilet seat, it is not a bad thing to read Yu Jie or Li Ao to clean out
your poisoned intestines a bit."
-  The
10,000 Signature Petition. In The
Case of Wang Binyu (王斌余),
two exculpating factors were offered: (1) the murdered people deserved to
die and (2) popular opinion supports the murderer. The first factor
calls for a close examination of the evidence, while the second factor is
more troubling because it obviously creates a situation where the outcome
depends on one's publicity campaign.
Here is a nationally prominent case in China (Express News via Yahoo!
News): the killing of the leader of the Longxing Society (龙兴社)
gang in Sihui, Guangdong province. The leader of the gang was also a
The three defendants were being persecuted by the gangsters-cum-police. They saw that their only way out was to
eliminate the head honcho. On February 24, two of them got on a
motorcycle with a shotgut, followed the gangster-policeman in his car and
killed him with three shots to the head. This much is not being
disputed. Instead, it is the extenuating factors that are being
The defense lawyer first claimed that the defendants had no other recourse
since they could not go to the police, who were also the gangsters.
Even the prosector agreed that there was a reasonable motive. Besides,
the defense lawyer argues, aren't the defendants doing society a huge favor
by getting rid of the gang? This gang had been operating for five
years and would still be doing so if not for the shooting. Therefore,
the defendants must be credited as people's heroes. The prosecutor
objected to this line of argument, because the defendants only shot the gang
leader, whereas it took the authorities to arrest another 28 members and
smash it totally.
And then the defense lawyer produced a document that was more than 50 pages
long. Each page had the names of many local citizens and their
fingerprints in red ink to plead the court for leniency. There were
about 10,000 names altogether. The verdict for the case is already
known as 'guilty as charged' and the only issue is the sentence. What
weight should be given to 10,000 signatures? Would it make a
difference if there were 200,000? or 50?
-  Headline
News in Hong Kong. On this day, what might the front page
headline story be? Typhoon Damrey? Hurricane Rita? Legco
members going to China? No. Instead, the editors at five
newspapers decided that it would be the story about the sudden death of a
49-year-old woman trying yoga exercises for the first time. What was
it that they collectively but independently saw here? I discern three
elements: first, the unexpected twist of fate for someone trying to do
something healthy; second, the woman is reportedly wealthy; third, this took
place at the large Planet Yoga centre in Wellington Street, Central, where
many celebrities attend.
-  Great
Expectations. So Li Ao gave some speeches. You would
think that one ought to read the speeches and then reflect, but your press
is agenda-driven and will only look for what meets their needs. Here
is Foxy Yi Hu at South Morning China Post:
Taiwanese writer-turned-legislator Li Ao again failed to raise sensitive political topics yesterday as he chatted online on the sixth day of his mainland tour.
Asked about his toned-down address to Tsinghua University on Friday, Mr Li evaded the question with an off-colour joke.
"Someone said you went from hard to soft in your speeches at Peking University and Tsinghua University," a reporter noted.
"He must be describing one of my organs," Mr Li said.
You come away with no idea what Li Ao
actually said. That is a pity, because he said some interesting
things. So I'll translate his characterization of
Internet culture during the online chat (via Phoenix
When I was a reserve army officer, the army
bathrooms were filthy because the partition doors and walls had plenty of
complaints written on them. You can't bring them up normally, so you
can only write them in the bathroom. These days, people don't write them on
bathroom doors; they write on the Internet instead.
-  The
Hatchet Man Confession. In MSM
in Hong Kong, I volunteered my services to take apart a presentation
allegedly based upon 'scientific data.'
Here, I will offer you my professional credentials. As told to Justin
Mitchell in The
Standard, I am the chief technical officer of KMR, the second
largest media research organization in the world with revenues well in
excess of US$1 billion. In truth, I am semi-retired because I refuse
to do any real work any more. I've reached the stage in life when I
will not endure slave wages and working hours (like the 20 hours per day I
used to do for years). So why does KMR keep me around? Because I
am their hatchet man. Anytime when someone in one of the countries
around the world has an issue with a competitor, I might be asked to do the
hatchet job. I would ask for the description of methodology of the competitor
to be sent to me, and I would prepare the response that would devastate them
within the user community. That is my present job. I am the
hatchet man and I am very good. I am cold, clinical and merciless.
In my spare time, I keep the ESWN blog. If you run across some
'scientific' study that offends your sensibility, please feel free to refer
it to me. It will be my PLEASURE to apply my hatchet to them.
Mind you, I do a very professional job and no one can complain
afterwards. In the case of MSM
in Hong Kong, you cannot tell what my position on anal sex among men is,
becaue it is not relevant.
-  The
Girl Jumped Off The Cliff. Previously, I mentioned this case
in passing at The
Greatest Banquet Ever In Guangdong. I would be remiss if I did
not tell you the whole truth, because it touches on wealth inequality as
well as gender discrmination in China. This was what I wrote
In Kansu province
out in the western hinterlands, a farmer faced a dilemma. This
year, he has earned only 1,000 RMB. He has two children, and their
school fees will be 860 RMB each. So he took two pieces of paper out,
told his children that one had 'yes' and the other was blank, crumbled them and put them on the table for the
children. The daughter picked a blank paper, so her brother got to go
to school. Afterwards, the daughter made a meal for her brother, went out
into the fields to work a bit and then she got up a cliff from which she
jumped off. Her words: "I won't
be able to study anymore. My only path out is closed. I don't
regret doing this."
The whole story was infinitely darker than
that. Everything above was accurate, but I have omitted something of critical
importance. Let me translate the details for you (Nanfang Metropolitan
News via QQ):
At around noon on August 24, the family
came back from work. The father held two crumpled pieces of paper in
his hands and told the children, "I don't have enough money. One
of you will go to school. Whoever gets the one with the word will
go. The other one will have to wait until we harvest the potato
crop." But they all knew that "paying tuition later"
The brother said that he refused to
play. If her sister has to drop out, so will he. The sister told
the father to pay the brother's tuition first and then hers will be owed to
the school She has seen several students in that situation.
But the parents had made up their minds to
let the son go to school. If both children refused to play, their plan
would not succeed. So the father told the children: "You go ahead
and pick one anyway, just for fun." He leaned over to the
daughter, but he knew that both pieces of paper were blank. At her
father's insistence, the daughter picked one and found a blank. She
was stunned and her mind went blank. The father picked up the paper,
looked at it, said "There's nothing on it" and left the room with
The mother spoke to the reporter after the
suicide attempt (note: the girl survived the fall). "For rural
villagers, boys are more important. With better education, they can
get out of the village. But girls will always be married off to some
I am at a loss for words.
-  Reading
Li Ao's Text. I have told my readers time and again that I
would only like to present them with the text without injecting my
thoughts. I assume that my readers are grown-ups who can make up their
own minds. They don't need me to tell them how to think. They
should not want me to reduce the text to two paragraphs that will fit their
So it was with Li
Ao's Speech At Tsinghua University. I said nothing. But this
speech was clearly very disruptive everywhere. In the first speech, Li
Ao's Speech At Beijing University, people spun heartily to their
scripts. Along came the second speech and they were at a loss.
Nothing that they said before made any sense anymore. What now?
Of course, the first instinct is to refuse to look at the text itself, which
is actually very interesting. Instead, one attacks the speaker.
Thesis 1 (via ChineseNewsNet):
His Tsinghua speech was pre-censored and he was pressured to conform.
That is obviously very wrong considering that the man had spent eight years
of his life rotting in jail in order to speak freely and he does not need
money at this age. Nothing and nobody would stop him from speaking his
mind. Thesis 2 (via ChineseNewsNet,
again): Li Ao gave a doctrinarian speech during which students fell
asleep or were using mobile phones. If so, why was he mobbed by fans
in a near-riot afterwards? It is time to forget the media hype and go
back to read the text carefully.
P.S. Not that there was much media hype about the second
speech. Nothing so far from Associated Press, Reuters and New York
Times, which covered the first speech with such glee.
P.P.S. But is this comment going to influence people? Most
readers will go directly to the translated pages. I am entitled to
express myself occasionally, but I make sure that it is an aside.
-  The
Stone Silence. In Yahoo! Sends Another Man To Jail,
I threw down the challenge: " I expect stone silence to
this post, because the world is enjoying Yahoo!-bashing too much." Of
course, I am over-emoting here. I am glad to report that Chris Myrick
Pundit placed the post on top of this daily roundup. And SimonWorld
proclaimed: "ESWN again rightly defends their actions."
Actually, I have no elation for the response. On the whole, I would
rather see someone come up with a way out of the
3-equally-unlikeable-options that I delineated.
-  Media
Ethics Again. (Nanfang
Daily) On September 16, our reporter mets with three citizens
who showed up digital film taken over the course of four days of a gang of
robbers in Dongguan. Between September 16 to 20, our reporter
positioned himself to observe the gang surreptitiously. Beginning 6am
on September 20, the gang robbed three solo female pedestrians within one
hour. During one case, two robbers pushed a female to the ground, held
her there and then took her handbag and mobile phone. A man waiting
for a bus was astonished, grabbed his luggage and left quickly. None
of the victims called the police.
In the afternoon of September 20, our reporter went the Dongguan public
security bureau to report, supplying the citizens' DV and our records on a
VCD. At 7am on September 22, more than one hundred plainclothes police
officers arrested 28 suspected robbers, collecting three mobile phones, one
switchblade and several hundred RMB of loot.
This is replay of the issue brought up in the previous post A
Case Study for Media Ethics. Did the Nanfang Daily deliberately
delay contacting the police because they wanted to get the material for this
story first? Another question: Why didn't the civilians go to the
-  The
Greatest Banquet Ever In Guangdong. The attractiveness of The Most Popular Forum Post Ever In China
was to see how the nouveau riche got their just deserts. (Express News
On September 2, Guinness invited a group of 500 social elite to attend what
was described as the biggest and most upscale banquet ever in the history of
the city of Guangzhou. The name of the event was 珍嘗珍品高峰匯,
the gourmet food tasting summit meeting. The food was prepared by nine
different top restaurants, one course per restaurant, and the banquet was
held in a five-star hotel. The value of the raw food material was
estimated at 3,880 RMB per person.
What was on offer? Suckling pig with goose liver paté; bird's nest
and pidgeon eggs; yellow-oil crabs; snow frogs; turtle soup with medicinal
herbs; sea cucumber and venison; king abalone. You can see the color
photos at 6Park.
How good was the food? Several hundred of the guests ended up with
active gastroenteritis and could not tell. One couple had to use the
bathroom more than twenty times each between 5am and 7am and ended up in the
hospital getting saline solutions. What happened? It could be
sabotage (e.g. someone putting laxatives in the food) or food poisoning
(e.g. salmonella). Another theory says that it is ancient Chinese
wisdom to never ever serve abalone with venison in the same meal.
Meanwhile, on the opposite of the socio-economic scale and in Kansu province
out in the western hinterlands, a farmer faced a dilemma. This
year, he has earned only 1,000 RMB. He has two children, and their
school fees will be 860 RMB each. So he took two pieces of paper out,
told his children that one had 'yes' and the other was blank, crumbled them and put them on the table for the
children. The daughter picked a blank paper, so her brother got to go
to school. Afterwards, the daughter made a meal for her brother, went out
into the fields to work a bit and then she got up a cliff from which she
jumped off. Her words: "I won't
be able to study anymore. My only path out is closed. I don't
regret doing this." 860 RMB.
Daily) In Yunnan, a housewife was at wits' end over family
finances. Her husband is incapacitated by a stroke and she has two
children and a mother-in-law to take care off. She only makes several
hundred RMB per year. On June 28, her daughter found out that her exam
marks would qualify her for university. She despaired at the thought
of finding the several thousand dollars per year to pay for fees. At
about 9am, August 1, she got up early, got the water and medicine for her
mother-in-law, prepared the firewood and then committed suicide by
hanging. Her daughter said, "I would rather not qualify. I
would rather stay home forever and be a farmer. I would rather none of
this ever happened. I let my mother down."
-  Does
the Super Rich Exist in China? With respect to The Most Popular Forum Post Ever In China,
I have been asked if the super rich really exists in China as
described. Personally, I doubt it. Who owns a race horse in
China? Who owns a private jet to go around?
In Chongqing Morning News (via Yahoo!
News), there is a description of the exclusive Changan Club in
initiation fee is around 150,000 RMB and the annual fee is about 20,000
RMB. The qualifications for a Chinese businessmen are: 45-55 males,
top executive in a company with corporate assets in excess of 50 million
RMB, cosmopolitan, preferrably English-speaking. With due respect,
these are the nouveau riche and not the super rich.
The article also describes an exclusive apartment (贡院6号)
valued at 40,000 RMB per square meter. A mister Liu lives here.
It is said that Mister Liu likes to go to Yunnan and Guangdong, mostly to
taste the local food. Here is a quote: "Since Mr. Liu flies so
often, a friend suggested to him to buy a private helicopter."
Eh, with due respect, commercial jets fly a lot faster and higher than
private helicopters. Mr. Liu isn't going to be able to fly in a
private helicopter from
Beijing to Yunnan on any regular basis ...
-  The
Qingtang Tide. Tide waves are seen each year at the Qiantang River in Haining during the eighth month of the Lunar calendar, with the most violent tide reaching a height of nine metres.
-  Nanny
Is Not Pleased. At Yannan forum, all mentions of The
Case of Wang Binyu and The
Taishi Village Elections have been removed.
Addendum: Actually, the above appeared several days ago
here. Since then, this became a news item on Interfax.
Now, I find this annoying. There are three things happening here: (1)
the case of Wang Binyu; (2) the Taishi Village elections; (3) the deletion
of the two topics from Yannan forum. The third one made the western
news but what about the first two?
In the case of Wang Binyu, Google yields only one substantive western
mainstream media report from Hamish MacDonald at Chinese riveted by tragic tale of worker exploitation
(Sydney Morning Herald, September 24, 2005). Now, this account is
problematic. Here is the description of the killings:
"Calling him a "dog", they slapped Binyu in the face and kicked him. Binyu brought out a folding fruit-knife and began a stabbing rampage that killed Wu Hua and three of his family members, shouting: "I no longer want to live."
Then he went to a bridge over the Yellow River, threw his knife into the water, washed the blood off his hands, and took a taxi to the nearest police station, where he turned himself in. In June a court sentenced him to death.
Here is Nanfang Metropolitan News' account
(which was translated in my post listed at the beginning of this comment):
After four people were stabbed and fallen
down, Wu Xinguo's wife came out to help the wounded Su Zhigang lay down by the
wall but she too was chased by Wang and sustained stab wounds. Wu Xinguo
called the police on 110 from the shop next door. When Wang Binyu saw
Wu, he gave chase. Several minutes later, Wang Binyu returned to
the scene of the stabbing after losing Wu in the chase. Then he began a
second round of stabbing. Afterwards he went to the Yellow River Bridge,
threw the knife into the water, washed the blood on his hands and took a taxi
cab to turn himself in at the nearest police station.
One account fits manslaughter in
self-defense but the other account is more like depraved indifference.
This is a really interesting story, and even China
Daily/Xinhua had been describing it. So how come this story
rated below Yannan forum?
In the case of the Taishi Village
elections, the only substantive mainstream media report had come from Tim
Johnson (Knight Ridder News). More significantly, this is an ongoing
case which I update in my post listed at the beginning of this
comment. Here is the latest development. During the election of
seven recall committee members, the seven nominated by the villagers
themselves routed the seven nominated by the government. Victory at
hand? Think again. Five of the seven elected members have
already resigned, possibly due to anonymous threatening phone calls, job
retaliations, etc. So how come this story rated below Yannan forum?
And what about Yannan forum? This is
my favorite Chinese-language forum. It is a class by itself, and I
cannot really think of anything comparable in English because it covers
scholarly discussions about history, sociology, education, law, media,
current affairs, etc. So two topics have just been removed from the
forum. This has happened before (as in the Shalan flood coverage), and
it will happen again. I look at the page today and here is a small
selection of what is on the front page: the full text of Li Ao's Beijing
University speech; a review of Li Ao's career; the full text of Zhang
Yihuo's speech in Hong Kong on transborder literature; Chinese toilet
culture; the diary of a Chinese woman in a cancer village; sidewalk
regulations in New York City; daily budgeting issues for university
students; special sections on the Xingzhu mine disaster; medical care
reform; the Shaanbei oil field rights struggle; petition system reform;
requiring real names on the Internet. Yannan forum will be fine.
By the way, there was a great piece at
Yannan forum about Taishi village by a civilian reporter. I will
translate it when I find some time. Wait, you ask, "Hasn't it
been deleted from Yannan forum?" Indeed, it has been. I
read it several days ago but I did not have time to translate it
immediately. So I saved a copy on my hard drive because I knew that I
could not count on it being still there when I go back later. Yes,
this is silly and inconvenient, but we'll get by.
-  The
Value of University Education. (Wenxue
City) In the city of Chongqing, China, according to the ads
below, a regular female escort (born in 1982) charges 125 RMB per hour, but
a female escort attending university (born in 1982) charges 250 RMB per
hour. There you have it.
-  ESWN's
Focus. Occasionally, I am asked about what ESWN's focus
is. The general expectation is a simple geographical classification,
such as Hong Kong, mainland China or Chinese Diaspora. Physically, I
am living in Hong Kong. Increasingly, my focus is drifting towards
mainland China. The explanation is obvious on account of the
demographic pressures. Here is the reality in terms of population
- 1,300 million in mainland China
- 7 million in Hong Kong
Where do you think a Chinese person should focus on? Do you think Hong
Kong can merrily live on its own without caring about what happens in
China? Whether I like it or not, anything and everything that happens
in China will affect me, perhaps even more so than what happens here in Hong
Kong. So maybe ESWN is a Hong Kong blog for classificatory purposes,
but it is a Chinese blog (without any qualifier of mainland, Hong Kong or
-  The
Hong Kong That You Don't Know. The following was reported by
the Next Week gossip columnist. He was going through the
website of the Foreign Service Institute of the US State Department, and he
came across the Cultural Guide to Hong Kong. There were some
jaw-dropping information about the place.
Here are the three excerpts:
- "14-member Legislative Council"
- "... many of the Hong Kong policemen speak English. Those that
do speak English wear red bands on their arms to distinguish
themselves." (A police department spokesperson was contacted but he
could give the date when that happened: "I'd have to go to the police
museum and find out.")
- "Jeans are appropriate for both genders, but it is generally only
acceptable for men to wear shorts in public. In any situation, it is
wise for women to avoid wearing anything too low-cut."
The web page was created in 2004, but some of the references were dated,
including one book that was published in 1942. The columnist sent an
e-mail to the US Consulate in Hong Kong, and got a reply from Susan:
"Thank you for your suggestion for the web site of the US Consulate in
Hong Kong." Let's see how fast that gets fixed.
-  [Permalink]
Village Committee Work. Lately, I have translated quite
a bit on Chinese village reforms. Here is a news story about how a
village commitee was able to improve its finances and citizen morale, but
not public morality. (Huashangchenbao
via Yahoo! News)
At 5:30pm, our newspaper hotline received a complaint about going-ons at
Zhongjiahe village. At 7:00pm, our reporter arrived at the courtyard
of the village committee office and found a huge tent. Our reporter
paid 5 RMB to gain admission. Once inside, he saw about ten rows of
benches with more than 200 spectators already. On the stage, five
twenty-or-so-year-old women in bikinis were dancing and flirting with the men in
the front row. The reporter sat down.
Immediately, someone poked him in the back. He turned around and saw a
smiling old man who said, "You are blocking the line of sight of my
grandson." There was a seven-year-old boy there. The
reporter asked, "Should a little boy be watching this?"
Grandpa replied: "He can't do anything bad with it, eh? Besides, what else is
there for us to do at night?"
P.S. Ms. Wang who called the newspaper hotline received 30 RMB for the
-  Latin
Americans Learning English. At InMediaHK,
Lingnan ponders why so few Latin Americans know English, which is the
globalized lingua franca. What are the hard facts about
English-language capability in Latin America? Hmmm. I'm afraid
that I am the main source.
In 1998, I wrote in English-Language Learning
In Latin America: "In the Los Medios y Mercados de Latinoamérica study, we found that 15.6% of Latin Americans between the ages of 12 and 64 describe themselves as being able to understand spoken English 'somewhat' or 'very well', and 14.4% of them describe themselves as being able to understand written English 'somewhat' or 'very well'."
Of these people, 64% said that they learned it from school, 24% by having
lived abroad, 17% at work, 6% by speaking with friends, 5% by reading books,
5% by watching television and 3% by listening to audio tapes. These
are the straight numbers from a comprehensive pan-Latin American survey
(minus Cuba, of course).
In 2004, I addressed the issue again in Latin Americans Learn to Speak English.
In the TGI Latina survey of 54,692 persons in eight Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and
Venezuela), we found that 5.7% of the survey respondents said that they can
speak English 'very well" and 21.5% said that they can speak 'some'
English (note: this is a smaller and more affluent survey universe than the
18-country LMML study cited previously). But the more disturbing story
is when I broke down the incidences by socio-economic class. My
concluding sentence was this: "If there are economic benefits that accrue from mastery of the English language, they will fall to the elite again."
As usual, I am telling you the obvious and in sadness.
-  A
Paparazzi Story in Hong Kong. In East Week, a reporter was
trailing Golden Harvest boss Raymond Chow. Mr. Chow is a long-time family
friend, and that is why I took interest in the details. Here is the
story: "At 430pm, Raymond Chow was observed driven by his chauffeur
from Kowlong Tong to Pacific Club at Ocean Terminal in Tsimshatsui.
Later, the chauffeur came out alone in the car and waited outside the
Peninsula Hotel. At this instant, the reporter had unknowingly fallen
into a counter-surveillance move by Raymond Chow. More than half an
hour later, Raymond Chow finally stepped out of the Peninsula Hotel and
entered the car, which continued through the West Harbor Crossing to turn on
the expressway towards Central. Then it slowed to a stop on the
expressway and turned on its emergency light. The reporter realized
something was wrong but just went ahead and then got off at the IFC exit and
stopped. Minutes later, Raymond Chow's car came and then a police van
raced to the scene. The reporter was then interrogated. Although
the reporter was trapped, he still admired the wiliness of Raymond
What is going on here? Look, you are a billionaire and some strange
car is following you around. Can you spell 'kidnapping'? Does
the car have the word "Paparazzi" displayed?
also reminded of traffic rules in Baghdad -- any car that comes within 100-150
yards behind an American convoy will be shot at. If only we have
Baghdad rules (according to the American occupation forces), that should put some
fear into paparazzis.
-  Yet
Another Example of Survey Abuse. (Nangfang
Daily) Based upon a survey conducted in 31 cities on the ease
of using public toilets, the best eight cities are: Mianyang, Mudanjiang,
Yichang, Baoding, Tianjin, Baoji, Shenyang and Changsa. The worst
eight cities are: Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Zhengzhou, Dalian, Shanghai,
Beijing, Lanzhou. So there you have it.
Yes, but let us look underneath the hood to see how the survey was
conducted. This was a multi-stage stratified probability sample using
face-to-face personal interviews with 3,434 regular residents in 31
cities. Fantastic, because the jargon is all there. What is the problem here? 3,434 interviews across 31
cities means 3,414/31 = 111 interviews per city on the average. What
is the margin of error around those city-level survey estimates?
Suppose 50% of the respondents in one city think the waiting times are too
long, but only 40% in another city think so. With due respect, that
10% difference is not statistically significant at sample sizes of 111
each. So maybe Shenzhen isn't really different from Lanzhou, eh?
This study might have given us some sense of the national priorities of the
important issues (e.g. waiting time, cleanliness, etc) but it is not
appropriate for inter-city comparisons.
-  Media
Reporters As Eyewitnesses To Crime. In this previous post The
Ruzhou Coal Mine Disasters, it was reported that hundreds of real and
fake reporters showed up in Ruzhou to get paid NOT to report on the coal
mine disasters there. Since then, a government investigation has
concluded that there is no basis for the report. As a result, Henan
Commercial Press has been suspended for thirty days while the reporter and
the editor-on-duty are suspended from their jobs. The problem was that
reporter did not have the original ledger and he did not make audio or video
recordings. So it boils down to his word against the vehement denials
by the government officials. Here is the troublesome fact -- there
were supposed to be more than 400 bribe takers, some of whom are real reporters,
including one from Xinhua. Why doesn't even one of them have the
courage and integrity to show up and validate the news report?
-  A
Question Of Survey Abuse. Justin Mitchell writes about public
opinion polling in Hong Kong for The
Standard. I was interviewed, but nothing with respect to this
ESWN gig. Instead, I was interviewed in my real-life
job as the chief technical officer for KMR, the world's second-largest media research firm.
"If anyone were to call this number, my home number, it's a landline and it's listed in the book, there would be a
problem. Four people live there, three within the target universe of an adult. One is my mom who can't talk anymore. Another is a 79-year-old domestic helper who only speaks peasant dialect Shanghainese. So how's she going to do a interview about the chief executive? She has neither the verbal skills, knowledge nor interest.
A Filipina maid is the third person. What are you going to ask her?
I'm the fourth one. If you say you'll take 'anyone' who is willing to talk and I'm willing to talk, I'm that person. But it's misleading for polls to say they project the total adult population of Hong Kong. They don't."
And my readers should know that I have very peculiar ideas ...
I am not the big player in this story. The main men are Robert Chung
and Michael DeGolyer, and they are the ones who uphold professional
standards. Thanks to Justin Mitchell for telling the story. For
a long time, what has been happening here is an obscenity to the
P.S. This was my third press interview of the month. If only I
could make a living out of giving interviews ...
-  È
Strano. As Giuseppe Verdi wrote, it is strange. I just
Real Story of Tianxian MM and then I checked Technorati to find Sun
Bin: "I am sure ESWN will cover this soon." Is this
what my reputation is? So be it. I have no complaint.
After all, I'm just a media traviata. Or would you rather that
I tell you where the Chinese guided missiles pointed to Taiwan are located,
or how much Taiwan should spend on procuring outdated American armaments?
-  The
Moral Lesson In A Beijing School Textbook. (Legal Evening News
On January 20, 1980, an old man in the city of Changchun was hit by a
bicycle and he let go of the money in his hands. Pedestrians began
'grabbing' the money. When everything was gathered and returned to
him, the old man counted 5 extra RMB. So someone had given him their own
In 2005, fourth-grade elementary school students in Beijing read this
particular story in their school textbooks. A reporter interviewed a
dozen school children and asked them what they thought. They all
thought about how "people should not take what does not belong to
them" and the importance of being honest. By the way, eight
students thought the story was impossible.
What is wrong? That news story was a renowned fabrication, and those
eight students were right. A professor at the School of Journalism of
the Chinese People's University said: "When the kids grow up, they may
find out that the story used to educate them when they were young was
fake. That will have a direct impact on their values."
-  Top
Secret Military Information On The Internet. (ChineseNewsNet)
(translated in summarized form) "Of the various theories about what
caused Ching Cheong to be arrested, some people say that Ching Cheong liked
to visit certain military-themed websites and look at what may seemed to be
sensitive materials. In truth, these websites are open to the
public. My friend said that Ching Cheong especially liked the military
section at BackChina.com, and this friend downloaded two pages that claimed
to be 'information on the main guided missiles of China.' I saw and I
was shocked, because it described the the guided missile testing ground and
the various guided missles such as East Wind 1, East Wind 2, East Wind 3,
East Wind 4, East Wind 15, East Wind 21 and so on. The articles also
listed the locations and inventory at several dozen guided missile bases
around China, such as 'Guangdong's Meizhou guided missile base has 96 East
Wind 15/East Wind 21 missles, Yunnan's Kunming guide missile base has 13
East Wind 5A strategic guided missiles and so on ...' I have no idea
if the above information is true or false. I can only think that if
this was one reason why Ching Cheong was arrested, then I hope the
investigators understand that this is publicly available information on the
-  Japanese
and Dogs. (Xinwenhuabao via Yahoo!
News) On September 18, the national day of infamy, a certain
flooring sales store in Changchun, China, raised a banner that said:
"Japanese and dogs not allowed inside." Reviews were
mixed. A man walking with his 6-year-old daughter said: "While we
should remember the day of infamy, this is not the right way. It is
exaggerated and misdirected. Not only does it fail to exhibit
patriotism, it actually makes people uncomfortable with this extremely
The manager said that this was the ninth year
in which he had done this on 9/18. "I am not exaggerating even if
I am somewhat extreme. But this is how the warning message gets
through better. This generation must not forget and the next
generation must not either, or else their suffering may be even worse.
My hometown is Dunhua. Last summer, two Dunhua children were burned by
chemical gas bombs left behind by the Japanese army."
-  Hong
Kong-Japan Collaboration. In Ming Pao Weekly, there was
a 1-page article about Hong Kong-Japanese collaborations in movie making.
The special feature was the actress Yu Min (尤敏)
who starred with the Japanese actor Akira Takarada (寶田明)
in three big-budget movies, Night of HongKong, Star of Hong Kong
and Hong Kong, Tokyo and Hawaii in 1963. The late Yu Min was a
family friend, known to us as Lulu. Thinking back to those movies, it
was an era in which no one would think a bit about a Japanese man and a
Chinese woman falling in love. Today, in the Internet era, there will
be probably artillery barrages against the actress for being a Chinese
and a slut (淫婦).
How did we end up this way? Was it the fault of the free-speech
enabler, the Internet? Was it just a gradual sea change of
attitudes? Or were there observable landmarks? One landmark
might be the short story Sayonara Goodbye (莎哟娜拉,再见)
by the Taiwan writer Huang Chun-ming (黃春明).
Gone were the romantic stories between equals; instead, in the globalized
economy, the Japanese men are the bosses while the Chinese women work as
prostitutes and their men are the pimps. It was not all dark, because
the central character in Huang's story took revenge by intentionally
mistranslating a conversation between the Japanese businessmen and a Chinese
student. So how much of the current Sino-Japanese relationship is the
result of mistranslation?
I'll admit here that I miss Lulu, because she had class. Class?
That word does not apply to the likes of Sammy Cheng, Miriam Yeung, Cecilia
Cheung and Gigi Leung of today.
-  The
Dartboard Princess. (Ming
Pao) On the televised evening gala show of Hong Kong
Disneyland, Joyce Zheng performed as Snow White in a song-and-dance
routine. Afterwards, the Television and Entertainment Licensing
Authority received more than 300 complaints. Some said that the
performance was "unsettling and disgusting" (令人不安、惡心)
and that it "scared the kids" (嚇壞細路).
At the time, TVB countered by saying that it was those complaints that were
Fast forward to yesterday's 3Weekly magazine. In the central page,
there is a full-sized poster of Joyce Zheng in her Snow White costume
advertised to be used as a 'dartboard' target.
The Equal Opportunties Commission said that this case does not appear to
fall into their jurisdiction with respect to gender discrimination.
The Society for Truth and Light thinks this was deplorable. Assistant
professor Chung Kim-wah of the Department of Applied Social Studies at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University
believes that this showed the media to be profit-driven in an unhealthy way,
and that this incident showed that the media lacks self-restraint and
You want freedom of press and speech and you've got those freedoms.
Why are you whining?
Follow-up: (SCMP; September 29, 2005) The more than 350 complaints made against celebrity offspring Joyce Cheng Yan-yee's appearance on television as Snow White at Disneyland's opening gala have been found unsubstantiated.
The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (Tela) ruled late last week that the show was not "unsuitable for children" and did not "cause distress".
Since her appearance as Snow White in Hong Kong Disneyland's opening gala on September 11, which was broadcast on TVB Jade, Tela has received 363 complaints.
Tela's principal entertainment standards control officer (broadcasting) Rose May Li said all the complaints were very similar: Cheng pretending to be a princess was disturbing, unsuitable for children to watch and could mislead them. They said the show should have indicated that parental guidance was necessary.
"It seemed like complainants were focusing on the target [Cheng], instead of any violation of broadcasting laws," Ms Li said.
-  Mid-Autumn
Festival Thoughts. (About.com)
There is non-standard legend about the Mid-Autumn Festival: "On this day the
'Man in the Moon' was spotted at an inn, carrying a writing tablet. When questioned, he said he was recording the names of all the happy couples who were fated to marry and live happily forever after."
(Ming Pao via Yahoo!
News) Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival, but Strait Times
reporter Ching Cheong is currently detained as a spy in mainland China and
cannot be with his family. Through a fax to Ming Pao, his wife Mary
Lau thanks the Ming Pao readers for your concern. There is no news so
far. According to friends of Ching Cheong, he was arrested on April 22
and the maximum period of detention is 7 months, so that the court hearing
must being in November or else he must be released.
-  Music
Piracy Adapts. (The Sun via Yahoo!
News) In Hong Kong, the IFPI announced that it intends to file
lawsuits against individual consumers who engage in illegal downloading via
P2P (peer-to-peer) systems. The reaction among netizens has been that
they will forego P2P and go to mainland websites such as Baidu and others
with MP3 search functions. If you type in the name of an artist or a
song, you will get hundreds of listings and it won't take more than 30
seconds to download a song via broadband. According to Internet
engineers, there is no hope in tracking down the users, especially since the
search engine services do not supply or even have user information.
points out that Baidu is being sued and it is vulnerable because it has just
gone through an IPO. So maybe the Baidu MP3 search service is
dead. There are dozens of other MP3 search services waiting in the
wings. Maybe they'll all be sued but remember that they don't do any
downloading themselves. Instead, there are thousands of downloading
sites. It is a lot harder to shut all of them down.
-  A
Shenyang Incident . (Chongqing
Evening News via Yahoo!
News) In Shenyang, around noontime, a group of people are
gathered underneath an unfinished building. Another man came up in a
motorcycle and asked, "What are you looking at?" "Don't
you see the person up there?" "Where? I don't see
anyone! Where?" "At around 10am, someone saw a woman
climbing up and called the police." The person was really far up
and some people were using binoculars to look at her. There was even a
binoculars saleswoman in the crowd, drumming up business: "Brother,
don't you want to see? Buy a pair of binoculars!"
This would go on for some time. Some people even brought easy seats
and sat in the street. Soon, it was past lunch hour. A man said:
"I'll have to go hungry. I'm afraid that I won't see her jump if
I leave even for a moment." Another man went home and brought
back a bottle of mineral water and some biscuits.
At 4:45pm, two firemen went up and got the woman down. At 5:00pm,
traffic began to flow normally again.
-  More Smuggled
Goods From China To Taiwan. (6Park)
Taiwan police reported intercepting a large batch of aphrodasiacs and diet
medicine smuggled from China. That is no surprise, but for the first
time, they found fake virginal hymens. According to Xinming Daily,
these fake hymens were manufactured by a company in Jinan and there is even
a proper certificate. The police believe that these would be used by
prostitutes to satisfy customers looking for virgins. The contraption
is basically a tissue pack which will release a
blood-like liquid during intercourse.
The product cost is NT$1.50 per piece, and the retail cost is NT$15 per
piece. At that kind of pricing, they need to sell tens of millions a
year in order to
make any meaningful amount of money. There can't be that many virgins
out there, eh?
-  Wen Jiabao
and Super Girl. I have been looking for a particular photograph, but I
can't find it. When I Baidu the terms "Wen
Jiabao"+"Super Girl", I get many stories about Chinese
Premier Wen Jiabao's
visit to Zhongshan University and his 'random' encounter with Super Girl
runner-up Zhou Bichang. See, for example, Dayang Net via Yahoo!
News. These stories all tell about how Wen walked into one
rehearsal room and asked a student to play a piece by Schubert. Then
in the second room, Zhou Bichang happened to be here and they shook
hands. Then Wen went to the concert hall to hear the student chorus
sing from The Yellow River Cantata. I am looking for the photo of the
Wen-Zhou encounter and it is nowhere to be found. Instead, there is
this one with some other students.
The fact that there is no photo is probably by design. It will be up
to you to think about why this should be so. A deliberate attempt to
distance Wen away from this decadent and vulgar television program? Or
the dog ate the photo of
a historical moment? As usual, I am clueless.
-  Chen
Shui-bian Faces The Music. (Wenxue
City) In the the aftermath of a typhoon, President Chen
Shui-bian visited the families of those who died in Hsin Chu. As the
master of ceremony intoned: "The president will offer flowers,"
one of the relatives said: 滚蛋，出去啦，你这些人，王八蛋(translation:
Beat it! Get out of here! You people are turtle eggs!)
Another family member: "The twelve aboriginal tribes of Taiwan will
stand up. We the mountain people are stronger than typhoon Aere if we
shout together. Will Ms. Annette Lu please turn up the volume and tell
us to migrate to Central/South America."
President Chen Shui-bian should be given credit for willing to risk being
publicly chided. That was old news, but it is current because it
reminds us that not all presidents are made of such stern material.
Elizabeth Bumiller wrote in the New
York Times: One prominent African-American supporter of Mr. Bush who is close to Karl Rove, the White House political chief, said the president did not go into the heart of New Orleans and meet with black victims on his first trip there, last Friday, because he knew that White House officials were "scared to death" of the reaction.
"If I'm Karl, do I want the visual of black people hollering at the president as if we're living in Rwanda?" said the supporter, who spoke only anonymously because he did not want to antagonize Mr. Rove.
(Beijing News via Yahoo!
News) A survey of Beijing citizens listed the following six
worse types of public misbehavior.
- 81.6%: spitting and littering in public areas
- 63.7%: affecting public health and safety through maintaining pets
- 59.4%: booing, clapping, talking dirty, cursing during public performances
- 57.4%: walking or driving without following traffic regulations
- 57.4%: crowding onto public bus; not yielding seats
- 54.4%: posting flyers and other promotional materials at bus stations and
-  Spelling
Mistakes. (Beijing Times via Yahoo!
News) In Zhaoyang district, Beijing, the public security
ordered 400 signs installed in the community to warn people about
pickpockets. Yet, there were two mistakes in that one ad. When
told, the public security bureau said that the fault lies with the
advertising company, which will have to correct all the signs.
There were two mistakes: 热
instead of 装
and 装 instead
-  Horse Fart
Culture in America. I think that I have been hyping the role
of the Fourth Estate (Media) in countervailing "horse fart
culture." What if it does not make a wee bit of difference in the
most democratical country in the world?
Brian William: "I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS
[President of the United States] drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions."
-  Yet
Another Mass Incident in China. Speaking as a professional
statistician, there is much that I don't like about the 74,000 figure often
cited as the number of 'mass incidents' in China last year. There is
no explanation of the methodology or criteria of classification. Who
is collecting the information? How is the reporting done? What
qualifies as a 'mass incident'? I have found no explanation. And I
am very cynical about crime statistics, because I have seen what happens in
the United States -- a mayor who wants to look good will change the
reporting system in a flash. Mysteriously, a murder can become
'unknown cause of death' because someone who died by gunshot could have
committed suicide and then have someone else steal the gun. So
unless it is on videotape or witnessed by a dozen people, it may not be a
I offer a test case. Here are two photos from Xinzheng City, Henan
Province (Henan Business News via 6Park).
Several tens of thousands of people showed up spontaneously together.
I ask, "Does this qualify as a mass incident in the books?"
The reason why these people were on the streets was due to an incident on the
night of June 25. An elderly couple named Li ran a family small enterprise
in which they sold agricultural equipment accessories. On this night,
they were robbed and died after being stabbed more than 110 times. The
robber stole a few cartons of cigarettes and some bicycle tyre inner tubes
from their shop. The entire city was outraged. On September 15,
news came that the police had apprehended the suspect in Suzhou and was bringing him back. Twenty thousand citizens went out into the
streets. They were banging on gongs and drums and thanking the police
for solving the case. The relatives of the victims were crying their
eyes out too.
This assembly was unauthorized, it was massive and it went on the
news. So was this a 'mass incident'? I report, you decide.
And if you think it counts, then will China collapse as a result of such
-  The
Four Chinas. From Simon
World, Mark Steyn is quoted as saying: "I would say the Russian-Chinese border, which is going to become a huge flashpoint in the years ahead. Basically, China is slowly going to annex the Eastern part of
Russia ... Their distorted birth rate, artifically distorted birth rate, which means they have this huge surplus of men. Unless they're figuring on becoming the first gay superpower since Sparta, that is going to be a huge issue for
them ... There's a widening gap between the rural inland China and these coastal cities that are booming. And that in the end is going to bust that country apart. There'll be two, three, four Chinas on the world's stage eventually."
Wow! Book me on the next Mars shuttle! I'm going back to my own
home on MARS before the Earth blows itself up!
P.S. A very popular ESWN blog post is about the Monty Python skit on
the New Zealand All-Black rugby team tour of England. You can't
imagine why anyone would be interested in that subject. Well, I titled
it Why I Don't Talk Chinese
Politics and you can read it for the association. The Hugh
Hewitt-Mark Steyn conversation would actually do just as well as the Monty
Python skit to illustrate my point.
Next question: Should Taiwan spend the billions to procure armaments?
Hmmm ... why do you want a blogger to tell you that? What the f*ck
does he know!? But if that blogger goes ahead to give opinion anyway,
you might as well as take the opportunity to ask him about these other
current issues ...
- Should the Turkish army invade northern Iraq to protect the Turkeman
ethnic people from the Kurds?
- Should a person of Chinese descent serve on the commission to prosecute
the Khmer Rouge leadership for genocidal crimes in Cambodia?
- Should Lai Changxing's divorce from his wife in Vancouver be considered a
ploy to preserve his ill-gotten gains for his family?
- Should Brazilian national football team trainer Alberto Perreira play his
big five (Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Robinho, Kaka, Adriano) at the risk of
sacrificing his defense?
Why not ask, since that blogger thinks that he knows everything ...?
(For the record, I think that the answers are NO, NO, YES, NO and YES
-  The
Beauty of Death. With respect to the article in The
Guardian about a Chinese cosmetics company using skin harvested from the corpses of executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in Europe,
I have to say something. I am only a blogger, and I can't tell you if
this is true or not. However, I have my doubts. First of all,
being an operations manager by profession, I don't see how I can manage such
a distribution system. The article cites Amnesty International for
3,400 executions around China. How
shall I build this supply network? How can I make the officials in
more than 2,000 counties around the country to report to me, who is just the supply
manager of a smallish cosmetics company. I have no official authority,
so I need to pay them off. How do I negogiate with 2,000 plus local
officials? How do I know that I am negotiating with the persons with
the right level of authority? How much do I have to offer them?
They won't take 50 RMB because that would be an insult. And they have
other people whose palms must be greased as well. How much would I
have to pay per body? 10,000 RMB? And what are my sales
returns? The financials just does not work.
Moreover, I cannot just fax some
instructions to the local militia and tell them what to do because this job
requires expertise. How do I get qualified people
out there to get what I need? Or shall just I instruct the firing squad to cut
off the heads, ice them and ship them to me overnight via UPS? I am
trumped by the magnitude of the task involved, and I cannot imagine any
sales from cosmetic products can justify the cost of building such a system.
More importantly, I have read about what happens at executions in China. You can
read the confessions of an executioner at The Death Penalty in China
- Part 2. And then you can look at photographs about what
happens (WARNING: EXTREMELY GORY!!!) in Part
3. I'd love to see how the Guardian reporter proposes to harvest
off the collagen ... scrape it off the ground with a spoon?
-  The
Super Girl Book. There is a Chinese saying: 打鐵趁熱
(forge the iron while it is still hot). In the United States, there
are people who can hack out a book and get it printed and distributed within
a week of an event. The market rewards the fast movers who can satisfy
the demand. (Shanghai
Evening Post) On August 5, a 19-year-old first-year university
student watched the final of Super Girl and then proceeded to write a
100,000+ word manuscript in about 10 days. The book was picked up by
Chongqing Publishing House. The book went on sale in Chongqing and
Chengdu on September 11. The first 10,000 copies were sold out in
three days. The book is titled 炮轰超女
(Bombarding Super Girl). At the price of 16 RMB, this is neither pro
nor con against Super Girl, and will therefore satisfy both fans and
-  The
First Lady versus F4. (TVBS News via Yahoo!
At a press conference, Taiwan's First Lady Wu Shu-chen said: "Here, I
would once again call on our friends in the media to make more positive
reports handicapped people and fewer negative ones. The media should
not stay on F4 all day. I feel that is really the source of chaos in
society." Who is F4? Why are they even more powerful and
insiduous than corrupt officials, gangsters or communist spies in fementing
F4 is a quartet of entertainers. The 'F' in the title refers to their
bra size. Will four girls in their early twenties cause the republic
to topple? That might be an exaggeration.
Why do the media stay on F4 all the time? The invisible hand of the
market is at work. If the people like to stay informed about F4, the
media oblige; conversely, if the people don't like F4, the media won't go
near them. If you don't like this, you can change the market model to
a public service model in which the government pays for and controls all
As if to prove the point, the story has passed the First Lady by and moved
onto a feeding frenzy after this week's Next Magazine exposé about
F4's Tiffany (see ET
News via Yahoo! News): Did she work before as a bar girl at a
uniform shop? Was she really a university student? And an even
bigger question was: Could it be that Tiffany is only a D-cup?
-  The
Crying Game. (Star Daily via Yahoo!
News) Why is this woman crying so hard?
At a funeral home in Chengdu, a farewell ceremony is being held. In
front of the friends and family of the dearly departed, she spoke:
"Today, we have come here with a heavy heart to say goodbye to our dear
mama with tears in our eyes ..." Then she began to choke and sob,
and so did the attendees.
She is actually the funeral home's master of ceremony, and she does this for
a living. She is professional in the sense that she controls the
emotions of the audience to the right degree. Normally, she works more
than ten funerals per day. Her record for the busiest day is more than
30 different ceremonies on the same day. She charges 60-80 RMB per
session, so her income is better than an ordinary white-collar worker.
-  Citizen
Satisfaction Poll In Hong Kong. From the print edition of Sing
Tao, here are the results from a poll commissioned by the Chinese University
of Hong Kong Department of Journalism and Communications.
-  Adapting
Eileen Chang's Works: Who Can Decide? At InMediaHK, that was
the title of the essay (改編張愛玲──誰又做得了主？).
Indeed, I too was incensed about how yet another stage adaption might have
butchered her work. Who allowed that to happen? So I ran into
bathroom, looked in the mirror and yelled, "Why did you allow that to
happen!!!" Yes, I am that ultimate decision-maker at this
time. Look, this is not about grubbing money off Eileen
Chang, because there is no money in this (and you will have to trust me on
that as I get to deposit the paltry amounts on the royalty checks). Rather, if I had issued a global moratorium on all adapations
of Eileen Chang's works for theater, television and film, the same people
will be ready to lynch me for stifling artistisic creativity. And if I
play God and demand a detailed proposal before approval subject to my
conditions, you would hate me even more.
Now you know how Tung Chee-hwa felt? Damned if he did and damned if he
didn't. What would you do in my place?
Here, I am mindful of my responsibilites. According to what I read in
her letters, she would have preferred to be left alone. If I published
what she wrote about what she saw, heard or thought, you would all be hanging your
heads in shame and dread. At the personal level, I ought to shut
everything down from here to eternity. Yet, I am mindful that she is
bigger than life. She is more than just Eileen Chang, for she is also
the aspiration and inspiration of entire generations. For that reason,
I step aside and you the public will have to be the judge.
-  'Non-mainstream'
Media Strikes Back. Never insult the media, for hell hath no
worse fury. In Next Magazine, there was a brief gossip item: At
the banquet for Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Qinghong with 400 illustrious
guests, the Government Information Services Department refused to let the
magazines send reporters. When asked to explain, the answer was:
"Given that there is insufficient space, only newspapers, television
and radio media are invited. Magazines are not mainstream
media." The columnist was left to wonder: So Time, Asiaweek,
The Economist and their kindred are not mainstream media ...
Did you think Next Magazine could forget or forgive a snub? In the same
issue, they would trot out the photograph of Secretary of Finance Henry
Tang's noon reception at Disneyland. Apparently, the organizers forgot
to notify the press about this momentous occasion, so there were only about
a dozen reporters in a room with 700 seats. This
photograph will be seen by the one million plus readers of 'non-mainstream' Next
-  More
About The Chinese Hordes. You read The
Chinese Hordes Take Over Disneyland
as reported in Apple Daily and Sing Tao, and you are appalled. Today's
Next Magazine got both of them beat. In the words of a Disneyland
restroom attendant named Emily: "The child is already six or seven
years old. This is not an infant. But the mother still picked
him up and put him into the handwashing basin to relieve himself ..." The reporter
interrupted her: "Yes, the newspapers have photos of a little boy
urinating right outside this restroom." Emily continued:
"NO! He was not urinating. He was defecating into the
handwashing basin. When I saw him, he was in the middle of the process
of defecating. Someone else was washing her hands in the adjacent
basin. It was disgusting." Thus, on opening day at
Disneyland, Emily's Magic Journey experience was to pick up feces from the
handwashing basin. "This place is huge with more than twenty
partitions. At the time, some of them were still unused. I told
the mother that there were more partitions. She replied in putonghua:
'It'll be quick. It'll be quick' and continued."
-  And
Miss Hong Kong Does It Too. There is actually a reason why I
want to document the apparently appalling behavior by mainlanders at
Disneyland. Back behind is the subtext of social prejudice and
superiority complex of Hong Kong residents. I don't have the time and
space to deal with all that at the moment, so I am just documenting as
quickly as I can. Meanwhile, there is a Hong Kong tabloid report about
the 1999 Miss Hong Kong (Sonjia Kwok) who is currently shooting a television
show in Henan province, China.
On Sunday, Sonjia Kwok was in her stage costume and roving around the
corridor of the set. With her assistant as the lookout, she went into
an isolated spot and re-emerged several minutes later looking
relieved. It was discovered that she left a pool of urine and a pile
of feces there, with a pungent odor. She did not wash her hands and
her male co-lead held her hands without realizing what had just happened.
The next day, Sonjia Kwok did the same thing to get to her
"personal" restroom with her assistant as the lookout. This
time, she was only doing "number two" and not "number
one." The cleaning staff member was irate: "Uncivilized!" The security staff member said: "The restroom was
nearby. One should get fined for doing it!" When contacted
by telephone, her manager
said, "There are no restrooms in the middle of nowhere, so many people
will do the same." When told that the restroom was nearby, the
manager was tongue-tied and hung up the phone.
-  The
Unhappy Middle-class in Hong Kong. In SCMP, there is a report
on a SynergyNet survey. Sample quote: "One survey question asked respondents to rate ministers' willingness to shoulder responsibility for policy blunders on a scale of 100. The 505 respondents in a general survey gave an average rating of 51, but the corresponding figure of the survey covering 225 middle-class professionals was only 31."
Here is the data table in the print edition of Sing Tao:
sample respondent score
|No matter one's position
or background, everyone can participate in policy development
|The government is willing
to listen to critical comments
|The government policy
development process is transparent
|The ministers are willing
to shoulder responsibilities for policy blunders
|The government grasps the
needs of society as a whole
But before you run away with the spinning,
Sing Tao also published the technical details. The 505 respondents in a
general survey was obtained from a telephone sample. This is not an
unreasonable approach (assuming that it was executed properly). The 225
middle-class professionals came from an Internet survey. In other words,
those results are virtually useless because this is a self-selected
sample. My conjecture: Only malcontents will show up in that web survey,
and that is why the scores are so low. This can be checked by comparing
their scores within the middle-class professionals within the telephone
-  HK
SAR CE Poll. (HKU
POP) Rating of HK SAR Chief Executive Donald Tsang: 66.7 (up
from 64.8). Vote of confidence: 75% (up from 68%). Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "The popularity of Donald Tsang has rebounded in early September. His support rating has gone up for about 2 marks, while his support rate has increased by 7 percentage points. Tsang's reaction towards the assault case of the little boy, and his prospective visit to the Pearl River Delta with all Legco members, have probably boosted his popularity."
There is nothing whatsoever in the poll itself to suggest that the assault
case and the Pearl River Delta trip had anything to do with it. Those
are unfounded speculations and should best be left off from a formal report
on poll reports. Apple
Daily cites Robert Chung in its article, and used the headline 一 句 「 人 神 共 憤 」 特 首 民 望 升
(translation: One sentence "The people and the Gods are all
infuriated" raised the ratings of the HK SAR CE). I hope that ratings and confidence have a stronger
basis than the Chief Executive's ability to find a good phrase.
-  ESWN and China Daily. Why am I doing ESWN 2.0? As
a long-time reader of news on China, in both English and Chinese, I noted
that the English-only readers are missing a great deal of what appears in
the Chinese-language media. Therefore, I translate many articles from
Chinese into English to share with my English-only readers in order to give them the
'real' news faster and in greater depth and breadth. That is why I do
Danwei noted in China Daily pirates a blog, and also says "Strong progress in IPR protection campaign"
that China Daily has used one of my translations while attributing the work
to Sophia Beach at China Digital Times. There are also many comments
Peking Duck. So I ought to tell you how I feel. In
translating that article, I only want as many English-only readers to know
about a story which aroused interest in China but has not yet been reported
in the English-language media. Therefore, I don't care who gets
credit. If China Daily publishes it and they get more new readers than
I can, I am satisfied. That's all I care about.
If I wanted fame, you would have seen my name plastered all over the
place. As it stands, you have no idea what my name is without very
hard work. If I wanted fortune, you would have seen PayPal buttons
everywhere. As it stands, this site is barren of all such annoyances.
A related issue is intellectual property rights. As I just said, I
yield the rights to my translation efforts, which are far from perfect
anyway. But there is also the IPR of the original authors and
publishers. I had not asked for their permission. If I did that
for every piece of translation, I would be bogged down on paperwork
here. My observation was that the authors and publishers would not
have their works translated anyway. The choice was between a lost
opportunity to showcase their work and my violation of their IPR. I
chose the latter. Indeed, they may sue me and I am guilty as
charged. I am only counting on the goodwill of my 'victims' to
recognize that I am showcasing their work to the world at large and they
might appreciate that my efforts are advantageous to them in some ways.
They wrote in order to be heard and I am only giving them a global
audience that they are not getting otherwise. If they ever want to do
it themselves, I'll gladly step aside. Meanwhile, they deserve to be
P.S. As noted above, this site was pointedly designed with no revenue, and
therefore I am not profiteering through IPR violations.
-  Chinese
Government Violates IPR. (Nanfang Metropolitan News via Yahoo!
News) On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the victory
over Japan, the Guangzhou government gave presents to retired
veterans. Li Hua was the granddaughter of a veteran and went to
collect the gift for her grandparents. When she got the gift, she was
shocked to find a Tudor watch. She went to a department store, looked
for the watch and saw a list price of 16,000 RMB. However, the store's
watch was put in a fancy multi-layered box and it had a certificate of
origin, whereas the gift watch was in a plain red box without a certificate.
Lee showed the watch to the reporter who arranged to have it examined.
The conclusion was that it was a fake watch. Concerned that the
government was being cheated, the reporter contacted the department which
distributed the watch. A person named Hu said that he was the
responsible person. Originally, Hu was prepared to give some blankets
or blood pressure gauge as souvenirs, but that was vetoed by the leaders who
wanted watches instead. However, Hu was told that the budget was
around 100 RMB, and so he bought the Tudor watches. "In our
hearts, we know that they are fakes. We could never afford to buy the
real watches!" He said that one veteran had to return his watch
because it was not working.
-  A
Virgin With STD. You have read about The
Virgin Prostitute and More Virgin Prostitutes.
Now comes the story of the virgin with a sexually transmitted disease.
(Express News via Yahoo!
News) A female university student was listening to a radio
talk show and heard a medical 'expert' describe some symptoms about yeast
discharge. So she went to the private hospital of that 'expert', got
examined and tested for 180 RMB. The doctor told her that the test
results showed that she had candidiasis, which is usually sexually
transmitted (although it could have been the toilet seat!). The doctor
told her that treatment would cost more then 3,000 RMB. When the
student told the doctor that she is still a virgin and would like to have a
second opinion, the doctor shrugged and said: "It's up to
you." So the student went to another hospital where she was told:
"You believe that? It's all nonsense! How can you be so
stupid!" The other doctor examined her, gave her the same tests
and found no sign of candidiasis. The student was charged a total of
53 RMB for everything.
-  Clueless
in Iraq. (Atlanta
Journal-Constitution) U.S. troops arrested an Iraqi because he had a poster, with Arabic lettering, showing a beheaded man. The soldiers thought it was the propaganda of terrorists and hauled him away to Abu Ghraib.
Months later, the Iraqis reviewing the case quickly recognized that the poster was a benign tribute to Imam Hussein, beheaded in the 7th century and deeply revered by all Shiites.
The committee ordered the man's release.
The proper thing is obviously to use Iraqis with local knowledge.
Look at this. (Washington
Post) A masked teenager in an Iraqi army uniform walked slowly through a crowd of 400 detainees captured Monday, studying each face and rendering his verdict with a simple hand gesture, like a Roman emperor deciding the fate of gladiators.
A thumb pointed down meant the suspect was not thought to be an insurgent and would be released by U.S. soldiers. A thumb up meant a man would be removed from the concertina wire-encased pen, handcuffed with tape or plastic ties and taken by truck to a military base to be interrogated.
"Another bad guy right here," shouted an American interpreter, when the masked Iraqi singled out a man in a yellow dishdasha , or traditional gown, who shook his head and protested in Turkish. Another captive who was spared exhaled with relief and placed his hand on his heart...
Many of the informants are residents of this city of more than 200,000 who now serve in the Iraqi army. Others have had family members killed by insurgents and said they wanted to help purge them from their neighborhoods. The U.S. soldiers who work with them acknowledge knowing little about their backgrounds and motives -- or even their names -- and admit that their reliability varies widely.
Now you understand why Iraq is being described as a 'clusterf*ck'.
-  Civilian
Reporters At The Disney Demonstration. Previously, we have
tried to describe the demonstration at Disney (see link).
Language failed us, but you can see the video via InMediaHK.
Still photos can be found here
as well. The English-reader may not be able to read the
Chinese-language comments but I note that the demonstrators had to spend at
least HK$60 to take the trip and that was a significant sum to them.
Here is a significant implication of the video: the moment when some action was taken, the
counterattack did not come in the form of raging protestors with Molotov
cocktails and baseball bats; instead, it was a bunch of common people armed
with digital cameras and video recorders, and they couldn't wait to post
their works on the Internet.
-  Blowing
Sources. What should the media do when a source deliberately
lied to them? In a now famous article titled Many Evacuated, but Thousands Still Waiting
by Manuel Roig-Franzia and Spencer Hsu (infinitely irritating to me because
this was a person of Chinese descent):
Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday [31 August], three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.
In fact, Governor Blanco had already declared a state of emergency for the state of Louisiana eight days earlier (26 August).
It should take about about ten seconds to check that on Google. The Washington Post later issued a correction to their article, noting that "A Sept. 4 article on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina incorrectly said that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) had not declared a state of emergency. She declared an emergency on Aug. 26."
Why didn't the Washington Post blow a source
who lied to them? Here is Spencer Hsu's explanation through Howard
Post National Editor Michael Abramowitz calls the incident "a bad mistake" that happened right on deadline. "We all feel bad about that," he says. "We should not have printed the information as background information, and it should have been checked. We fell down on the desk."
Spencer Hsu, the article's co-author, says he "tried to make clear that the source came from the administration, and that he was blaming the locals, which I believe our story made clear and broke ground in explaining by uncovering the National Guard dispute."
Should the paper identify the source who provided bad information? "We don't blow sources, period, especially if we don't have reason to believe the source in this case actually lied deliberately," Hsu says.
-  Globalization
In Action. Recently, I translated the The Most Popular Forum Post Ever In China.
From the server logs, this post is drawing attention from everywhere.
Indeed, some sentiments are universal. The whole wide world wants to
see the so-called rich, powerful and arrogant get their comeuppance.
-  Public
Groping. (Chongqing Times via Wenxue
City) Is it okay to grope someone in public? Especially
when you know that policemen are right there. In fact, one policeman
is even taking photographs. So why is everyone smiling? Would
you believe that the big hand is feeling the result of a trans-gender
-  Chinese
Coverage of International News. The ESWN v.2.0 blog exists to plug
in certain gaps in western coverage of Chinese news, obviously under the
premise that there is a demand for such. There is the inverse problem:
how good is Chinese coverage of international news? The answer is: Not
very. Whether in China, Hong Kong or Taiwan, the amount of space given
to international news is relatively small. On top of that are problems
of incorrect information.
A case in the point is the coverage of The
Trial About Chinese Tourist Zhao Yan. Here are some mistakes that
was noted in this Boxun
- It was reported that this was a case of Zhao Yan suing Homeland Security
officer Robert Rhodes and the US government for US$10 million in
damages. The truth was that this case was a federal case filed by the
US government against Homeland Security officer Robert Rhodes for violating
the civil rights of Zhao Yan (who is a foreigner but is still entitled to
the right not to be assaulted without cause). As such Zhao Yan is one
of 21 witnesses called by the prosecutor and not a plaintiff.
- It was reported that Zhao Yan intends to file an appeal. Again, she
is not the plaintiff and therefore has no standing. The US government
filed the case and was unsuccessful. Under the principle of double
jeopardy, there is no appeal. This is the end of the federal
- It was reported Zhao Yan lost because she got too greedy by asking for
US$10 million. Zhao Yan has a separate civil lawsuit against Robert
Rhodes and the US government, in which she filed a claim of US$10
million. That number does not mean anything, because it will be up to
the jury to decide whether to give her $0, or $100, or $10 million, or $100
These are simple things that ought to be obvious to anyone who knows
something about the American judicial system.
-  The
Disney Protest. (SCMP) Police allowed an unlawful three-hour protest outside the theme park yesterday, raising concerns among Disney officials...
Equipped with amplifiers and speakers, protesters sang, danced and conducted street drama at the entrance of the park... The protest had been in full swing for more than an hour before more than 20 police arrived. The crowd began booing and shouting as police and Disneyland security guards put up barriers.
A tug of war started as the protesters resisted... After a 15-minute stand-off, police removed the barriers and the protest was allowed to continue. It ended at 7pm when protesters marched towards the park exit.
Below are the key facts that are missing from the SCMP report, according to
two Chinese-language newspapers.
Daily) About 30 to 40 demonstrators ... Disney sent out 20 to
30 foreign security staff members to watch them. Undercover police
officers posing as tourists were recording the activities. The Disney
security people then brought out plastic barriers to surround the
demonstrators and also trampled on their banners. This caused some
physical jostling. There were about 30 uniformed police officers.
About 50 demonstrators ... Disney sent out many foreign security people to
monitor and photograph the demonstrators ... periodically, they confer with
the police ... at around 5pm, the Disney moved brought out plastic barriers
and placed them on top of the banners, leading to some jostling. The
30 uniformed and plainclothes police officers stood aside with a
"non-interference" attitude. After 20 minutes, the Disney
staff removed the barriers. The demonstrators sat down, sang and
shouted slogans. But Disney turned up its music.
The above was about the action. What were the substantive issues for
(SCMP) Labour exploitation, environmental vandalism, and cultural colonisation.
(Apple Daily) Labor exploitation, cultural values, colllusion between
government and business, environmental protection, extraterritorial
authority (such as the no-fly zone above Disneyland)
(Ming Pao) Collusion between government and business, labor exploitation.
-  Schools
Closed in Hong Kong Due to Riots. Riots? What
riots? I don't see any riots. But the schools will be closing
Daily) The Hong Kong Commerce and Industry Bureau director
indicated that the government has asked the schools of Hong Kong to to
consider closing on
December 13, the opening day of WTO MC6. Already, more than 80 schools
in the Wanchai district (where the Hong Kong Convention Centre is located)
have indicated that they will close.
In a breakthrough, there is actually one paragraph in this article about why someone might
want to demonstrate: "Last night, there was a candlelight memorial at the
Tsimshatsui Star Ferry terminal for the innumerable victims who have been
impoverished by the unfair trade policies of WTO to the point where they are
not even able to earn basic subsistence wages." You would think that
there might be a debate why Hong Kong is even hosting this conference then
Here, for once, I would have liked to see a public opinion poll.
Question 1: Who are the WTO MC6 demonstrators? List: Anarchists;
jihadists; terrorists; professional troublemakers;
Marxists/Communists/Trotskyites/Trotskyists; foreign elements; ...
Question 2: Why are they demonstrating? Create chaos; prevent us from
making money; 食飽飯冇野做
(they have nothing better to
-  Disneyland
Media Gossip. (Apple
Daily) Yesterday was media day at Hong Kong Disneyland, as more than 900
reporters take the magical journey in the company of more than 100 public
relations specialists. These 'media hosts' were good at using
one-on-one (or even three-on-one)
tactics to follow the reporters around, but the problem was that they were
quite ill-informed about the going-ons and schedules. The reporters
were told to show up at 850am, but then there was nothing scheduled between
9am to noon. Furthermore, many of the scheduled events with VIPs
resulted in no-shows.
Daily) The Apple Daily reporter noted with glee the following:
Whereas the South China Morning Post has a long illustrious history and has
an international reputation, the two Disney 'media hosts' had to ask for the
spelling of the newspaper's name. These two 'media hosts' had been
sent from the United States! Perhaps the SCMP reporter(s) should be showing
them around instead. Meanwhile, Apple Daily noted that their Disney 'media
hosts' followed them tightly during the morning, including hanging around
while the reporter took care of some personal business, but vanished
altogether for the afternoon.
Daily) If you leave the media bored, they will dig up
dirt. This other article is about the nightmares endured by
entertainers who were doing commercials for Disney, sometimes for
free. Kelly Chan said that she was treated rudely and cruelly by
American Disney officials, and she will never ever do any more promotions
for Disney. The band Alive made a free commercial for Disney last
month and published on their website: "When the pale-skinned employees
talk to you, they treat you like morons." The group will boycott
Disney for eternity. Evonne Hsu was also making a free commercial and
said that when it rained, the employees did not allow her to take shelter
in the kiosk, and she was allowed to eat only at the employees' cafeteria.
While queueing up and awaiting entry to the red carpet reception, a Disney
employee named Nathan said loudly to the media and said that it won't be
done on a first-come, first-serve basis. Instead, he would be making
the selection: those selected can go in, but the others will have to
leave. Because he was rude and arrogant, this led to a confrontation
between the media and him. Eventually, Nathane had to apologise.
In Hong Kong, none of the media reports seemed to be 'on message.' The media
have their knives out for Disney.
-  Katrina's
Horse Fart. Inside Saturday's Sing Tao, there is an
op-ed piece on Taiwan. Usually, people like to lecture China on
adopting the Taiwan democratic model in order to save the country from chaos
and collapse. This one is an inversion of the argument -- it argues
how unification can save Taiwan from chaos. After a review of the slew
of recent "horse fart" incidents (see here,
for example), the author then goes ahead:
The emotionally charged battle between
green-vs-blue, unification-vs-independent and Taiwanese-vs-Chinese-origin
have ended in the people misplacing or intentionally misdirecting their
focus on democratic oversight. When an election comes around, the
voters only care about the political position (green-vs-blue) of the
political party or the politician. They don't care anything about
monitoring the governing ability of the parties and they don't care about
the ability and conduct of the politicians. Even when there is no
election, the people still judge things on the basis of their political
affiliation, and they don't care about the right-vs-wrong of anything.
How can anyone living in such a society not feel despondent?
If and when unification with China is
completed, it will not only revive the economy in Taiwan, but it will
greatly reduce the political chaos in Taiwan. Anyone who wants to
enter politics must now show that they are clean and that they have concrete
and detailed ideas about improving people's lives. The voters will not
cast their votes solely on the basis of green-vs-blue,
unification-vs-independent and Taiwanese-vs-Chinese-origin anymore.
Instead, the voters can examine the performances of the politicians and
their conduct. When that time comes, there will be less
government-business collusion, secretly channeled special favors and
"black gold" politics.
Now unification may or may not the answer,
and there are bound to be other ways of getting out of the rut. What the
'horse fart' incidents show is that on a question such as "Is the
President doing the right thing?", one can predict that 90% (or some such
high number) of the blues will say NO and 90% of the greens will say
YES. And that is without even having described the specific event.
Obviously, it is automatic reflex in operation and objective reality is not
If Taiwan democracy was derived from American
democracy, then it has certainly inherited this attribute faithfully.
Instead of green-vs-blue in Taiwan, they have red-vs-blue in the United
States. On a question such as "Is the President doing the right
thing?", one can predict that 90% (or some such high number) of Democrats
will say NO and 90% of Republicans will say YES. And you can check all
the public opinion polls with party identification on subjects ranging from
the war in Iraq to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. In concrete
asked: If the Democratic candidate John Kerry had won the 2004 presidential
election instead of George W. Bush, would people like Bill O'Reilly, Rush
Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Michael Savage and
others have praised Kerry efforts if he had behaved identically in the same
Katrina situation? Every word that they use right now will be put in the
Question: In handling relief effort, President Bush
- Did all he could: Republicans: 53%, Democrats: 12%, Independents: 25%
- Could have done more: Republicans: 40%, Democrats: 85%, Independents: 71%
Question: Response of federal government
- Excellent/good: Republicans: 63%, Democrats: 22%, Independents: 34%
- Only fair/poor: Republicans: 32%, Democrats: 76%, Independents: 64%
-  The
Area of Hong Kong Disneyland. Many reviewers have remarked
that HK Disneyland is small. But how small? This is a newspaper
headline exclusive story by Florence at Over
The Rainbow. If you ask Disney or the Hong Kong government,
the official response is Phase I of HK Disneyland occupies 126 hectares.
However, that number includes the parking lot, the bus terminal, two hotels,
the empty lot for the third hotel, the future expansion area for the theme
park, the road outside the MTR station and unused land reserved for unknown
After complaining to a government official why the area of the theme park is
a secret when it was built with Hong Kong taxpayers' money and threatening
to make that an issue, it was finally disclosed that the theme park covered
70 hectares, including the car park and the hotels. This is an
improvement over 126 hectares but it still does not pin down the theme park
itself (the portion where people pay to enter).
Finally, Florence went to a HK University Department of Geography lecturer
who ran a computer analysis of an aerial photo taken from 4,000 meters
high. The result was that the Phase I theme park measured only 15 hectares (or about fifteen times the size of the Hong Kong Stadium). By
comparison, Victoria Park is 17 hectares. Hence, the newspaper headline
was "Disneyland 15 hectares; smaller than Victoria Park."
What are the implications? If 30,000 people are packed into 15 hectares,
each person gets 2.5 square meters of space (or smaller than a double
bed). So there you have it. The story is not the claustrophobia,
but why this should be a national secret.
-  WTO MC6
Propaganda Ad. Hat tip to Fred at Shangrila,
of the HK SAR government ad for WTO MC6. Here is my
translation of the clip:
Headline: What is so good about free trade?
Female: Wow, such high quality! It must make me look pretty!
Male: Really very pretty!
Female: I can keep an eye on him.
Male: But I can turn the mobile phone off!
Female: This one is so good, but that one is so cheap. How can I
Male: You have many models to choose from, and anything from anywhere can
in and out of Hong Kong.
Female: You help me to decide!
Male: Too many choices. Don't know how to choose! I want
to choose that one, but I can't decide.
Female: What do you want to choose?
Headline: What is so good about free trade? You can choose whatever
Male: The World Trade Organization conference will be held in Hong Kong at
the end of the year. Let us support it together!
I dare you to tell me on the basis of this clip what WTO MC6 is about!
This is the power as well as the fatal flaw of the 30-second television
commercial. Great for brand image, but totally shallow. So why
are 10,000 Korean rice farmers coming here to protest ... ?
P.S. Here is official Real Media version
Robert Kissel's father William
"Bill" Kissel said that the eldest daughter and the second eldest
daughter now know how to get on the Internet to look for information
pertaining to this case: "They can type in the words Nancy or Robert
Kissel on Google and they can easily find the reports on this case.
It is precisely for that reason that I have
only either just carried the news or else limited my comments to technical
aspects (e.g. jury decision-making). There are contradictory stories out
there, I just don't know and I won't speculate. If you are looking for
discussions, you can find them at SimonWorld.
-  The
Sovereign State of Hong Kong Disneyland. (Ming Pao via Yahoo!
News) Last month, two officials from the Food &
Environment Safety Department went to Disneyland to investigate two alleged
cases of food poisoning at a restaurant there. Upon arriving, the
Disney employee asked the two health inspectors to remove their hats and
badges on the grounds that it may alarm the customers. The two
inspectors obliged without checking with their supervisors. When the
inspectors told their supervisor later, there were major
repercussions. Disneyland management was contacted and told in no
uncertain terms. Disneyland has agreed that they acted improperly,
apologized and guaranteed that it won't recur. Hong Kong Secretary of
Security Ambrose Lee said that Disneyland is not above the law, that there
is no special agreement with Disneyland, that there everyone in Hong Kong
must obey the law and law enforcement officers cannot remove their uniforms.
-  Zhao Yan Case Verdict!
Trial About Chinese Tourist Zhao Yan, the defendant Robert Rhodes was
found NOT GUILTY. Rhodes said he never stopped flying an American flag outside his home and would like to return to the job he has held for 17 years.
His lawyer said, "Rob is a patriot and he loves this
for Zhao Yan, she still has a separate civil lawsuit against Homeland
Security, and the standards of proof ("over a balance of probabilities"
or "preponderance of evidence") are different than those in a criminal
case ("beyond a reasonable doubt"). According to
ChineseNewsNet, her reactions to the verdict was: "I'm
disappointed. I'm very disappointed in the American legal
The Chinese BBS's and forums will have a good time with this one. Here
are some samples from Sohu.com.
Skipping over the ones who are ignorant of the laws (e.g. mixing up the
civil and criminal cases, misunderstanding the nature of the US$10 million
reward asked in the civil case, etc), there are two main strands. One
is that Zhao Yan deserves the beating because she is rich enough to travel
and she has a murky background; with due respect, the jury (nor the readers)
should not be factoring that in. The other strand is about American
democracy. Some examples:
- Kill the Americans and feed them to the dogs! (杀了美国人，喂狗)
- American law is dog turd! (美国的法律是狗屎!)
- Don't f*cking believe in American justice!
- Why complain? At least, you were not executed right there and then.
- America is paradise but it is Americans' paradise (white Americans'
- If you want to go to America, you should be ready to be beaten up because
everybody knows that it is a false democracy in America.
- What will Americans say if an American is beaten like this in China?
- Since it is okay to beat people, we will beat every American that comes to
- Let's beat up all the Americans in China and tell them it is the war
- Let one of our municipal administrator seize an American and beat
them. Let's see what happens?
- Will those who love America come out and fart?
- America has shown us what American democracy is. Let those people
who adore American democracy learn this well.
- If America wants to sell us that false democracy and freedom again,
everyone knows it is fake. Nobody wants to buy it anymore!
- Those who believe in the so-called American 'legal system' and 'human
rights' learned a live lesson, with a big slap for those elites that promote
American cultural advancement.
- It is the American police in a country where they protect human
rights! We should learn from them to let the police beat people!
It is like that in all countries that protect human rights; for example, in
England, the police can execute an innocent citizen from suspicion
alone! And then you only have to say "I am sorry" and that's
-  Rating
Taiwan Cable News Stations. (Apple
Daily) Survey results from the Broadcasting Development
- Most trusted: PTS (公視)
23%; Unique (非凡)
17%; FTV (民視)
- Least trusted: TVBS-N 21%; CtiTV (中天)
16%; ETTV News (東森)
- Best liked: PTS (公視)
20%; Unique (非凡)
16%; FTV (民視)
- Least liked: TVBS-N 20%; ETTV News (東森)
15%; CtiTV (中天)
- If one channel should be eliminated, which one? TVBS-N 23%; ETTV News (東森)
17%; CtiTV (中天)
12%; PTS (公視)
This was an Internet survey conducted at yam.com. As such, it is not
representative of any real population universe (except itself).
-  Geographical
Knowledge in Hong Kong. (Sing
Pao) Recently, the Hong Kong Weather Observatory tried to hire
Science Director. More than 40 candidates were interviewed in
person. A map of Asia was shown to them and they were asked to find
Hong Kong. Half of them got it wrong. Next, they were asked to
indicate the position of the origin of the Asian tsunami (near Sumatra,
Indonesia). Some people pointed to Philippines. When asked which
countries are to the northwest of China, some said Canada and the United
States of America. Where are typhoons formed? Some said in the
Atlantic Ocean. The reporter does not say if the position was
-  No
Kos) Screen capture from Sky News Ireland.
-  A
Libel Suit Against East Week. From SCMP: Huang Wei was named
by East Week magazine as the mistress of Ching Cheong. Several days
ago, she came to Hong Kong and clarified the mistakes in that report.
Huang Wei just came down to Hong Kong again and, flanked by Democratic Party legislator and lawyer Albert Ho Chun-yan,
declared that she will take legal action against local magazines and newspapers over allegations concerning the nature of her relationship with Ching.
"The reports are groundless and I need to clear my name. I am not his mistress and I did not betray him. I am just
an ordinary friend. I have been hurt by these reports and both I and my family had been under attack by friends who saw the reports."
I hope that she wins a ton of money and she should. Unfortunately,
East Week and their ilk won't learn a thing because any penalties are
already factored in as the cost of doing business. Meanwhile, I will
note that the Chinese government lets Huang Wei come and go between Shenzhen
and Hong Kong freely -- that does reduce the likelihood that they are behind
the smear campaign, but then who knows?
The official East Week statement was here.
It says: "We apologise to Ms. Huang Wei, related persons and our
readers." Related persons? I would have preferred to see an
apology directly to Mary Lau, the wife of Ching Cheong.
-  Yet
Another Official Attack Against Anonymity on the Internet.
(BCC via Yahoo!
News) [translation]: "If we own 100% freedom of speech
and press, then we must also be 100% responsible for our speech and press
content. According to some people, the recent scandals that have been
reported by the media are examples of abuse of freedom of speech and
press. These events highlight a more serious subject -- the popularity
of 'anonymous denunciations' which have become worse thanks to the
media. Presently, our various government departments have public
mailboxes for their leaders. In handling the incoming letters, the most
important principle is that we will not respond to any anonymous accusations
or attacks and we will delete them directly if we see them. Yet,
today, for the media, an anonymous denunciation can become a newspaper
frontpage headline. Society needs to reflect and re-evaluate the
representativeness and appropriateness of anonymous denunciation have gone
out of control, to the point of unlimited Internet postings."
This statement comes not from China. It comes from the Taiwan
president Chen Shui-bian on his official presidential news website.
Chinese tourist Zhao Yan suffered only minor injuries when she was subdued by a Homeland Security officer at the Rainbow Bridge last year, a medical expert for the defense testified on Tuesday.
Dr. Eric A. Davis also suggested that the injuries suffered by Zhao were not consistent with her claim that she was slammed face first into the pavement by Robert Rhodes, the officer who is accused of attacking her.
"We're talking about minor trauma," said Davis, who reviewed Zhao's medical records after a confrontation at the bridge that led to Rhodes' indictment. "She did not have any broken bones."
Zhao did not suffer a concussion, bleeding to the brain, severe cuts or spinal injuries, Davis said. He said none of Zhao's injuries should have required her to use a wheelchair, as she did when she announced plans for a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the U.S. government a few days after the incident.
You got all that? Here is the quick
cross-examination by a prosecutor:
But under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison P. Gioia, Davis admitted that he was only interpreting medical records and had never met, treated nor examined Zhao.
You are most likely not a medical expert, but
you might be called to serve on a jury some day. What will you
trust? The medical expert or your own lyin' eyes?
-  HK
Disneyland Customer Satisfaction Survey. (Ming
Pao) On August 31 and September 2, the DAB conducted an exit
intercept survey of people who have just attended the Hong Kong
Disneyland. There were 431 completed interviews. 95% were
satisfied overall with the theme park. But the critical number is 30%
said that it was not worth going back there again. The reasons are well-known by
this point: the trains are crowded, the theme park is small, the waiting times
are long and the food is not very good. Among DAB's recommendations
are a smaller maximum crowd size (20,000 instead of 30,000) and allowing
people to bring their own food. Those kinds of decisions will
obviously bring down revenues, but dissatisfied customers never return and
they may end up with a small crowd anyway.
-  Blackhawk
Down In Hong Kong. (Ming
Pao) Yesterday, at 545pm, the police received an emergency
call from a citizen: "A helicopter has just crashed, the location is
Kowloon Bay next to the Mechanical & Electrical Engineering Department
building and smoke is coming up." The police and the fire departments
rushed to the scene but they could not find any helicopter
wreckage. After 20 minutes, they found a man and a four-feet-long
remotely controlled model helicopter. The man admitted that he had
been playing with the helicopter and was making a crash dive move. He
also said that it was normal for the helicopter to emit white smoke in
flight. Apparently, someone saw the helicopter from afar and thought
that there was an air disaster.
-  Article
96 in Chinese Law. Much about the case of Strait Times
reporter Ching Cheong can be found at Chingcheong.com.
Personally, I am a private citizen and therefore cannot pretend to know the
absolute 'truth' about the case. But there are some cases that deal
less with that truth than the process which reveals much about the Chinese
legal system. In this link from Hong
Kong Daily News:
In response to the request from Ching
Cheong's wife Mary Lau about procuring a lawyer, the mainland security
apparatus has supposedly responded as such: "According to Article 96 in
the Law for Criminal Prosecution, your request has been
rejected." The media has been quite confused about what that
means, so we offer this explanation: "According to Article 96, from the
time of the first interrogation of the suspect by the investigating agency
or by any other forced procedure, a lawyer may be procured for legal advice
with respect to any complaint or charge. Upon arrest, the hired lawyer
may attempt to seek bail. For any matter relating to national
security, the lawyer procured by the suspect must be approved by the
investigating agency. The procured lawyer has the right to understand
the charges against the suspect, to interview the suspect and to understand
the circumstances. When the lawyer interviews the suspect, there may
be investigative agents present. On matters pertaining to national
security, the interview may be subjected to the approval of the
That is nice and clean, except none of that
has happened in the Ching Cheong case. He has the right to procure the
service of a lawyer, but he has not been allowed so. His wife has
requested to procure a lawyer, but that request has been turned down.
The article then goes on to a bunch of other legal arguments. With due
respect, I am getting a headache from reading more of that. As far as I
am concerned, this should be very simple. A man was arrested in
China. It is commonsense that anyone in such a situation should get
legal counsel. Why wasn't he permitted to do so? Call me simple
and naïve, but I just don't get it.
-  On the
Mountain of Tai Hang. I guess that it must have been for
self-flagellation that I went to see the Chinese movie On The Mountain Of
Tai Hang (太行山上).
This was a pseudo-biography about Marshall Zhu De during his time in Shaanxi
province in the war of resistance against the Japanese. Technically,
it was appalling as a movie and I did not expect otherwise for this
genre. But I did go away with one received idea: now that I saw what
those old guys had to suffer through to get where they were, I could see why
they saw no reason to hand everything over to a bunch of young punks who
only know how to mumble some jargon about democracy. Imagine someone
telling Marshall Zhu De: "You need to step aside and let Wang*Dan or
Wuer*Kai Xi try running the country." Easily, Zhu De would say,
"NO! I did not go through all that just so someone can f*ck it up
on a whim!"
-  Why Write?
From the introduction to Nation, Language, and the Ethics of Translation,
edited by Sandra Berman and Michael Wood.
In the very last note of Minima Moralia,
Adorno suggests that the only responsible philosophical answer to despair is
"to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the
standpoint of redemption." ...
"For whom then does one write,"
Edward Said asks, "if it is difficult to specify the audience with any
sort of precision?" The answer is that one writes for the
audience one needs, the audience who must be there if we are not to
despair. "The idea of an imagined community," Said
continues, "has suddenly acquired a very literal, if virtual,
dimension," and it is through our participation in this community, our
willingness to imagine it into reality, that we can best serve those
"less powerful interests threatened with frustrations, silence,
incorporation, or extinction by the powerful." If music for
Adorno is a "silent witness to the inhumanity all around," then
for Said the intellectual is the unsilenced translator, the person who lends
voice to the unvoiced and half-voiced needs of the oppressed. He
points out too that "film and photography, along with all the arts of
writing, can be aspects of this activity."
-  Sister
Water Lily. Karl Marx wrote in The
18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon: "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."
But Marx should have told us what happens if history occurs the first time
as farce, in which case the second time is ... what? If Furong Jiejie (Sister Lotus
or Sister Hibiscus; see previous post The Real Story Behind Sister Lotus)
is farce, then what is this Sister Water Lily here (Entertainment Channel
Excerpts from the collected sayings of Sister Lily:
"People around me praised me for looking like a movie star. They
say that I look like Bridget Lin, but I think that I prefer Mona Lisa."
"All the guys around me like me. But they think that I am too
good for them, so they don't express themselves."
"I don't like to go to hair salons, because too many people say: 'Who is
this girl? She is so pretty!' To avoid people's gazes, I usually
only go out at night."
The reporter wondered: What is the limit to people's self-confidence and
narcissism? Is the responsible media supposed to pump her up
regardless, or help a girl who may be seriously lacking in self-knowledge in
some other way?
Related link: Dustless
-  Fighting
Over Dead Bodies in Hong Kong. The funeral business is
lucrative because everyone feels that it is indecent to be cheap.
Where to find the customers? The sales people are always at the
government death registry offices, the hospitals and the morgues.
However, the market is anti-competitive because it is controlled by
triads. Yesterday was the grand opening day at the Kwai Chung
morgue. The police arrested about 50 triad members for the crime of
illegal assembly. This is a strange law that would have been knocked
down anywhere else in the civilized world. Any assembly of three or
more persons can be arrested with a possible fine of HK$5,000 or jail term
of up to three years. Mind you, you don't have to be doing anything
criminal (like wielding knives, throwing rocks or shouting curses) just as
long as the arresting police officer believes that you are disturbing,
intimidating, insulting, provoking and/or scaring others (see related post).
However, it is a mystery as to who these fifty people are because each
newspaper seemed to have a different story.
Daily) Access at the old Hunghom morgue had been shared by
five triads: Fook Yee Hing, Sing Yee, Wo Shing Wo, Sun Yee On and 14K, but
Wo Shing Wo (led by 'Stupid' Fook and 'Four Eyes' Chu) wants to monopolise
the new Kwai Chung Morgue. The arrestees were mostly Wo Shing Wo
members with a few 14K members.
Kong Daily Press) The arrestees belong to two different
factions of the Wo Shing Wo triad, but there is no elaboration whether they
are fighting or collaborating.
- (Ming Pao)
This was a Wo Shing Wo internal factional struggle between the local Tsuen
Wan faction which wants the new morgue business on its own turf and the
Hunghom faction that had the old morgue business there.
Daily) Originally, Tsuen Wan Wo Shing Wo's 'One-Eyed Boy'
wanted to have a joint venture with two other triads Wo Shing Yee and Fook
Yee Hing. But Wo Shing Wo's 'Stupid' Fook persuaded 'One-Eyed Boy' to
boot the other two triads out and partner with him instead. Yesterday,
the Wo Shing Boy boys were out there in a show of force (晒 馬)
to warn the other two triads.
- (Sing Pao)
This was a confrontation between a coalition of Wo Shing Wo in Tsuen Wan
(led by 'Stupid' Food) and Shatin (led by 'Four Eyes' Chu) versus the Wo
Shing Wo triad branch in Hunghom (led by "Little Fish").
- (Sing Tao; print edition) This was a public show of force by Wo
Shing Wo factions led by Shatin's 'Four-Eyed Chu', Tsuen Wan's 'Stupid' Fook
and some others from the Jordan area against all other triads. Earlier
at around 6am, about a dozen of these same men were at a night club and
searched by the police, who had to let them go because they were not doing
anything illegal. These men then proceeded to the Kwai Chung morgue
and were arrested at 930am.
I hope you are confused. I certainly am. I'm getting a headache
-  Sportsmanship
in China. (Chongqing Commercial News via Wenxue
City) There were some appalling exhibitions of unsportsmanlike
conduct in the Greco-Roman style wrestling matches at the Tenth National
Games in China. The team members and coaches from Hubei assaulted the
judges; the Shandong team sat in the ring to protest; a Shandong wrestler
bit his opponent; the coach from Inner Mongolia charged the judges' table;
and an Anhui wrestler waved his middle fingers at the judges.
How did we get to this stage? Blame capitalism, of course. Once
upon a time, sports was a political tool and friendship with the capitalists
came first. Then sports became a matter of national prestige and China
had to produce world champions to show that it is better. Today, it is
every province for itself. Return on investment becomes the standard,
and sporting successes mean money for the coaches and team members as well
as political advancement for their directors. Whatever it was, this
was never about pure sports.
-  Katrina
in China. There will no doubt be tens of thousands of opinions
from China, and you should not be expect me to give you the consensus or
even majority opinion. There is no such thing. Here is a translated excerpt
from an 'annointed' Xici
At this time, what struck us most is the
comparison between the American and Chinese military. To my mind,
there is no doubt that the Chinese military was more effective. The
People's Liberation Army and the Militia Police were more timely and
courageous in the various Chinese floods. The American military did
not show up on time here and they were not effective.
Some Chinese people are not happy with this
outcome ... This debate reveals the shortcomings of those people.
They raise the flag of Americanized democracy and will not permit any
criticism of the American government. As some netizens said, even the
American government has acknowleged its mistakes, so why are you defending
them? But those people go into a tirade instead, and that is quite
This is not the first time that these
double standards have appeared. One can only say that the more this
happens, the less trustworthy these people become and the more resentful
others become. In practice, this has a negative impact for demanding an
Here is the strange thing. In China,
the people can see what is going on in New Orleans. In this instance,
there is not even any need for propaganda work, because the actual
conditions are horrible enough. As this commentator suggested, anyone who
thinks American democracy is the best thing since apple pie must be drinking
too much Kool-aid. Strangely enough, there are people inside America who
thinks everything is going very well according to plan. Which flavor of Kool-aid
do they drink?
-  The
Mainland Mistress. It is commonly accepted that Hong Kong men
have Hong Kong wives and mainland mistresses through exercising their
economic advantages. What is the exact percentage? It is less
than 100% because I sure don't have a mainland mistress. According to Tai
Kung Pao, Tam Shiu-mei, chairman of the Anthropology Department of
the Chinese University of Hong Kong, gave a talk at the Tsing Hua University
Department of Sociology. The talk covered a study based principally upon
Hong Kong truck drivers who go back and forth from China. 40% of the
survey respondents had mainland mistresses (包二奶).
So there you have the number that you always wanted to know.
P.S. Professionally, I will state that this survey is rubbish. I
certain do not have any clue as to how to draw such a sample, or decide what
the appropriate survey universe is. This is just a convenience sample
that means nothing.
-  Prejudicial
Media Comments. During the course of the Nancy Kissel trial,
there were a couple of developments known to the media, but they never
appeared in print. Why is that? Because these were prejudicial
items, in the sense that it would affect the fairness of the trial even if
they were true. Now that the trial is over, we can discuss whether
they should have been kept out of print. Remember this: this jury was not
sequestered and they may accidentally come across media reports that
publicize these 'facts.' As a result of that contact, the jury members may draw
The first item was that Nancy Kissel's bail was revoked several days into
her testimony. That was known to a number of people, but they
were not necessarily privvy to the exact reasons. What would happen if
a jury member catch wind of the bail revocation? One possible
interpretation would be that Nancy Kissel's testimony was so shaky that she
became a flight risk, and a jury member would weigh that heavily against
her. But there are other possible explanations. For example, it
could be that she violated the terms of the bail by attempting to contact
her children. As another example, the financial basis for her bail
might have altered (that is, whoever put up the money can no longer do
so). None of these issues really pertain to what happened back in
November 2003, for which the jury was charged to render a verdict.
Influencing their opinions by publishing this fact would be prejudicial.
The second item was the report in the South Morning China Post that Nancy
Kissel had contacted Links Relocations to organise a quote for shipping the contents of her
apartment and the storeroom where she had the body of her husband stashed.
A salesman from Links confirmed to SCMP that Kissel had called on November 5.
This was not mentioned during the trial, but SCMP waited until after the verdict
was rendered before publishing it. What if SCMP published it before or
during the trial? A jury member who read it might infer that Nancy
Kissel was plotting to dispose of the body. But there are other
explanations. For example, this fact may not meet the evidentiary
requirements. Whereas the purchase of the carpet to wrap the body was
backed up with a signed receipt for a Visa credit card of Nancy Kissel and
closed-circuit television film, the Links Relocations contact may just be a
call from an unidentified female claiming to be Nancy Kissel. In that
case, upon cross-examination, the Links Relocations contact person would be
asked, "Can you say with certainly that the person you spoke to on the
telephone is this woman here?" and that is obviously impossible.
Publishing it as fact during the trial would be prejudicial.
Although Hong Kong media can get out of hand with outright fabrications (and
you can find any number of examples on this blog), there are some basic
rules that they will responsibly observe, as in the two instances above.
-  Sohu.com's
Media Commentator. Formerly of Southern Metropolitan News,
Cheng Yichong will be writing a column for Sohu.com to review the front page
news of various newspapers around China. Here is the translation of
excerpts from his opening statement (via Xici
In my private opinion, Sohu.com is hoping
to use this column to promote positive interaction among new media,
traditional media and the audience, with the hope of more amity and less
controversy; it will be exciting, but it won't be hostile ...
Like all reading, the reading of newspapers
is a misreading and the only difference is the degree and level of
misreading. The citizens must have the proper spirit of the game in
order to participate. When a publication is distributed to the public,
the only thing that counts is what the public says. It is not up to
the publisher at all, and all publishers must respect these rules of the
game. In all commentary, including commentary about the media, it is
less important to pursue the absolute truth than to exercise the universal
right of everybody to express their own thoughts, which may or may not (and
cannot all ) be the absolute truth. Being right or wrong does not
matter, being accurate or not does not matter, and only being free to speak
matters. In order to prevent people from using the name of truth for
ulterior motives, we must defend the right of everybody to freely express
their own opinions of public affairs.
Therefore, you should not expect me to tell
you the truth. At most, I can only say what I want to say. I
will accept responsibility for everything that I say, but this does not
prove that what I say is correct. I hope that my ideas are
interesting, meaningful and persuasive. Of course, I hope that you
will agree with my ideas. But it is alright if you honestly don't
agree and you can follow up with your own comments ...
It is a powerful thing for everyone to be
able to speak freely. You don't have to own power; but if you don't
even have the right to speak freely, then you might as well be dead.
Therefore, protecting freedom of speech is the responsibility of everyone.
Here is a curious question: Was Cheng Yichong
reading Harold Bloom's A Map of Misreading when he came up this
explanation? Or is this 'truth' universal?
-  Waiting
For Rice At Disney. Yesterday was charity day at Hong Kong
Disneyland, with 30,000 people showing up. All receipts, totalling
HK$9.7 million, went to Community Chest. The attendees did not realize
that they were serving as guinea pigs to identify the operational problems. In the
morning, there was a thunderstorm and people were made to wait outside
because everyone had to searched first 'for their own safety'. Was it cruel and unusual to
make people stand in the rain? Disney did not look at it that way
because they offered raincoats (at HK$40) and umbrellas (at HK$80) for sale. Generally, there
were lines everywhere. The food lines were more than half an hour
long. There were not enough seats, so people were using the garbage
receptables as their dining tabletops. The lines for the rides were
more than two hours, but Disney said that was "as expected."
Considering the fiasco over the rice giveaway earlier this seek (see comment),
Sing Pao and Oriental Daily separately came up with the
line phrases, "Worse than standing in line for rice."
-  Regina
Ip Speaks Out. (Hong Kong Economic Journal via InMediaHK)
"When Article 23 was first proposed, I was the principal official and
everybody else in government ran away from it. The timing might have
been too hasty, but that was the decision of the Executive Council.
This was a controversial issue, and Donald Tsang recommended shelving the
issue if it did not get passed within one year. As the responsibile
official, it was my job to push it through. I was just the
messenger. As the saying goes, 'Don't shoot the messenger!' It
was probably inappropriate for me to have used the analogy that Adolf Hitler
was chosen by a direct election in order to say that citizens didn't care
about Article 23. I did not try to placate those radio talk show
hosts, and they go near anything controversial. If they don't like my
hairstyle, I would have changed it. I would not have given public
talks, especially at universities. You can see that Donald Tsang had
absorbed that lesson and he would never wander into the enemy's camp (during
his election campaign)."
Isn't that sad? The net lesson is apparently that no politician should
broach any issue that is controversial, regardless of whether it may be
important to the people or not. You may be morally and intellectually
convinced that this is the right thing to do, but you think that you may catch
hell for it. Therefore, the proper thing is to ignore it and propose the sugary things that pleases everybody. Is this what democracy is
supposed to be?
-  More
Tatoos. The essence of news competition is to keep raising the
bar. Nanfang Daily had just published photos of kidnappers applying
tatoo letters onto two female victims. So the bar was set pretty
high. That standard was just surpassed by another psychopath
victimizing a 15-year-old girl (Huasi City News via Yahoo!
A commentator at China Youth Daily (via Yahoo!
News) took a more somber note: There are three parties here: the
principals of the story, the media and the people. After the story
first broke, the media could see all the ingredients of a sensational story
that will attract an audience: vulnerable young females, unthinkable
treatment, depraved cruelty and incredible sorrow. Therefore, the
media converged from all over the country. The people are the passive
recipients of the information, and the media had to compete against each
other to come up with new and unique angles on the cases. For the
families, they welcomed the media attention at first. But what they
saw or heard did not please them, and they eventually shut out the
media. Ultimately, neither the media nor the people were interested in
the principals except to the extent that the media can get more audience and
the people can be satisfied with a sensational story for a short time.
Afterwards, the principals are on their own once more.
-  Infernal
A Chinese interpreter working for the FBI has been charged with tipping off
some targets of investigation. Jimmy Zheng lied to FBI agents when he
was asked whether he knew or recognized any of the subjects of the
investigation. A cousin had introduced Zheng to the alleged ringleader
Lim Shang several months before the wiretaps began and he had frequent
contact with the man's sister and a woman he knew as Big Sister. Zheng
told his cousin that Big Sister was overheard on FBI wiretaps as well as
about the other targets of the investigation.
In the previous post Translation and its Discontents,
it was noted that linguistic skills are sorely missing within American law
enforcement. This is even more severe for local dialects such as
Fuzhou (which Jimmy Zheng knew) or Wenzhou, and when you do locate such a
resource from the outside, there may be a good chance of this sort of
-  How
Not To Conduct A Public Inquiry. (Wen
Wei Po) Concerning what has come to be known as the Horse
Fart Bridge affair in Taiwan, an investigation group appointed by
Premier Frank Hsieh has completed its work and addressed the media.
Was the bridge specifically built just so the President and the Premier can
drive through for an inspection tour or not? Here is the verdict
according to the group leader Yang Yeong-bin, who is a professor in civil
engineering at the National Taiwan University: for many things, the answer
is not 0 or 1 like inside a computer. Suppose the bridge was
completely unnecessary in terms of the construction of the tunnel, then the
score is 0; if the bridge was essential whether or not the President was
coming, the score is 1. But if the bridge was necessary and it was
coordinated with the President's visit, then perhaps some points might be
deducted for a score of 0.7. You got that? Doesn't this read
like an assessment of Chairman Mao? It goes without say that the
opposition is characterizing this report as an instance of Horse Fart
In truth, there is no 'smoking gun' memorandum for the decision, so there
wouldn't be any definitive conclusion. If the bridge were built the day
before the President and removed the next day, that would have been
definitive. With all the publicity and Apple Daily posting someone out
there counting the number of vehicles using it, that bridge will stay there
for a long time for reason of public relations regardless of the original
intent. We will never know for sure, and your personal belief reflects
your political preference and not backed up by hard data.
P.S. Building an NT$150 million temporary bridge is still nothing
compared to President George W. Bush visiting New Orleans:
In St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, just south of New Orleans, victims of the hurricane are still waiting for food and water and for buses to escape the floodwaters,
[Congressman] Melancon said. And for the entire time Bush was in the state, the congressman said, a ban on helicopter flights further stalled the delivery of food and supplies.
(Actually, some helicopters were needed as backdrop for the presidential
(2) War and
Piece: ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.
The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.
Mary Landrieu: "Perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment."
(4) Salt Lake City
Tribune: 1,400 firefighters were assembled around the country in
Atlanta and ready to move into New Orleans. Instead, they sat around
awaiting orders even as the Mayor of New Orleans was pleading for
help. But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.
-  The
Rule of Law. With due respect, this does not make sense.
The most wanted person in China is Lai Changxing, who embezzled hundreds of
millions of RMB in a corruption scheme and then escaped to Canada with his
family. China has asked to extradite him back for trial with the
promise that he will not receive the death penalty. The Canadian
Supreme Court has just turned down Lai's appeal. Maybe everything is
within the spirit of the rule of law, but do you understand my bitterness?
Is he due to go back to China for trial? Maybe, but he has decided to
divorce his wife, so that his family is now entitled to receive all his
ill-beggoten gains (see ChineseNewsNet).
Such is the rule of law, and justice is not served at all. But we only
love the rule of law and the hell with the commonsense of justice, right?
And I would advise you not to bring up the subject of human rights at this
-  The
Internet Sea Change In China. What is a 'sea change'
anyway? The phrase is a quotation from Shakespeare. It comes from Ariel’s wonderfully evocative song in
Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
A sea change is a profound transformation that takes place gradually over
time. Seas rise, even if only at the rate of inches per century, but
they do rise inexorablly to change everything. In the Deutsche Welle interview with Chinese blogger Michael
Anti (see Blogging
in China: The Michael Anti Interview), there is above all a sense of the
sea change that is happening inside China on account of the Internet.
Specifically, within the field of journalism, there is a sea change which
cannot be tied down to any specific incident or person. Instead, with
the presence of Internet BBS's (bulletin board systems) such as Xici
Hutong's Reporter's Home and bloggers such Michael
Anti, a new and different set of professional standards have
gradually emerged among journalists. There is no specific cataclysmic
event but instead we are seeing Internet-only reports such as Internet-only
reporter field notes such as The
Shengyou Reporter's Field Notes and The
Shalan Flash Flood - Part 4 that describe not only the censored report
but the process of censorhip itself. Reporters also know that a report
such as The
Ruzhou Coal Mine Disasters will lead to a sterling professional
reputation among the peers. Conversely, an ass-kissing article will
generate universal contempt. Since such BBS/blogger comments are below the
detection horizon of Internet censors, the culture of journalism is thus undergoing
this sea change inexorably.
Was there anything like this twenty or even ten years ago?
How can the digital revolution enhance the world's knowledge of China? It's so important for China to get it right — the smooth transformation, the sustainable development, the peaceful emergence to the global community. One important measure for how China can get it right is, can the world get China right? It is such a diverse and immense place, and it has a history of isolation so that the world knows relatively little about the society, the history, the culture.
There's a huge amount of filtering going on about China, both to the world and to ordinary Chinese. The Internet becomes a very significant player to open up that kind of closed circle of information. There are far more points of view and raw data and information that everyone is able to tap into to gain new perspectives and understanding of the issues in China. It's very important to extending our knowledge of China and Chinese society.
It is for this reason that EastSouthWestNorth
v.2.0 exists. Once upon a time, EastSouthWestNorth v.1.0 existed solely
for the self-education of its author. In time, the author realized just
what a filtered vision an English-reading-only person must have about this
place known as China and the people known as the Chinese.
EastSouthWestNorth v.2.0 came into existence largely as a 'translation blog'
that highlights views from inside Greater China. The author (and anyone
else, for that matter) does not necessarily know the true and accurate
representation, but he knows that the Chinese do not live according to the
version presented in the English-language media. Fortunately, the
Internet enables EastSouthWestNorth v.2.0 to reach a large audience, with a
lot of help from referrers such as Xiao Qiang's China
In the long run, no one has a definitive project plan. However, we can
probably say with certainty from this brief comment and the one on top about
Michael Anti that we will be seeing a brave new world that cannot possibly be
- [Adminstrative Notes] What is Section
1 "Recommended Photos/Reading" on EastSouthWestNorth? There
is no exact characterization. This blogger happens to read a lot, and
he will just select a few of what struck him. This does not imply that
these are the most urgent issues for the survival of humanity. It only
means that this is what struck this blogger during his haphazard wandering
and that just may be of interest to his readers. Isn't that the
essence of blogging?
-  Mass
Incidents In Hong Kong. Whenever traditional festivals come
around, religious and charity organizations give away rice and other gifts
to senior citizens. These giveaways are first-come-first-serve
limited-quantity affairs, and so senior citizens have to show up in the
thousands and wait overnight outdoors. When they start giving things
out, then there is a rush and then a crush. Here was the scene
yesterday along Tsim Sha Tsui yesterday.
Daily) These scenes have happened repeatedly. On August 30,
15,000 seniors showed up in Tsz Wan Shan and 13 were injured; on August 23,
4,000 seniors showed up at the Argyle Street Recreational Park and 8 were
injured; on August 13, 2,000 showed up with a typhoon warning and 2 fell
ill; on August 7, 2,000 showed up in Kowloon City and 6 fell ill. It
is possible to go back in history.
Then yesterday, the first known fatality. 82-year-old Cheung Yee died
at the Tsim Sha Tsui giveaway. She was known to have a heart
There was a bad piece of public relations in the aftermath of her
death. If you look at the above photographs, she was not in the queue
when she fell down. The director of the Fook Tak Ancient Temple, which
organized this event, said that she was just a morning exerciser and not
participating in the event, meaning that the organization has no
responsibility. It would emerge later on that she lived in the Lam Tin
district way out in eastern Kowloon and there was no reason for her to be in
Tsim Sha Tsui at 635am for exercise. Here is the photo of all the bags
of rice in her home from previous giveaways. She had been showing up
at every single giveaway event.
At this point, this matter is a political football for the Legislative
Council and rightly so. It is wonderful to give presents to the senior
citizens living on fixed and meagre incomes, but there is no reason why the
process should be so physically punishing that these events must be
considered uncharitable. This was simply a tragedy waiting to happen.
-  A
Scene Not From The Morgue. (6Park)
You may be shell-shocked, but this is actually a photo from a bakery in
Rachhauri province west of Bangkok, Thailand. You are not observing
real human hands and limbs, but you are seeing only seeing human-shaped
bread that are intended to communicate the fleeting nature of live.
-  An
Airline Stewardess' Job Is Tough. (6Park)
It is of course unfair to photograph someone at the weakest moment.
I travel frequently enough, I have little or no concern for my own comfort
because it is usually no more than 16 hours. I try my best to make the
flight attendants happy (like volunteering to hoist luggage, interpreting,
filling out immigration forms for other passengers, doing customer
satisfaction surveys, etc.) Hey, I've got nowhere to go anyway so I
might as well as do some good.
-  No
Skype In China? (DoNews)
A Shenzhen ADSL subscriber found out that he was being blocked from
accessing websites by Shenzhen's China Telecom. When he called the
was told that he had used Skypeout to make VoIP calls. In order to be
reconnected, he was told that he must promise never to use Skypeout or even
speaking to other Skype contacts. So far, more than 4,000 Skypeout
users have been blocked this way. This must be an easy way for China
Telecom to protect telephone
Victim Rights In Trials. Web traffic picked up today to
24,000+ page views due to
two major trials: The
Nancy Kissel Case and The
Trial About Chinese Tourist Zhao Yan. The first case has just
ended with a guilty verdict. In the second case, the principal witness
Zhao Yan has just finished her testimony. These are cases about
completely different situations (the first is a murder trial and the second
is a civil rights case), and the one was tried in Hong Kong with the other
in Buffalo (USA). Yet the common theme is that it is the defendants'
rights that are guarded while the victims have no right. In each case,
the defense sought to impugn the character of the victim. Thus, Robert
Kissel was characterized as a cocaine addict, sexual pervert, wife batterer,
etc. There is no opportunity to defend Robert's name because it is
irrelevant to the trial of Nancy Kissel. Also, Zhao Yan was painted
variously as a money grubber who is lying to win a civil lawsuit and even a
illegal alien smuggler casing the Niagara Falls entry point. She asked
to make a statement, but the judge turned down the request because this was
officer Robert Rhodes' trial.
This is how the laws in Hong Kong and the United States work. I am
never comfortable with this adversarial system because I just feel so sorry
that the victims should be victimized in court one more time. However, I
was infinitely more displeased when I read about this statement from
the Zhao Yan case. After the first day's testimony by Zhao Yan, the
defense attorney Stephen Cohen was interviewed by the press outside of the court:
"I hope the jury knows an actress when they see one. I would be more convinced of her sincerity if she had tears when she cried. I'd like to subpoena her handkerchief, to see if there are any tears on it."
In Hong Kong, such a public comment would probably trigger an inquiry for
professional misconduct because it is prejudicial to the case. The
jury has not been sequestered, and if any one of them should come across
this statement, it may affect their judgment.
-  The
Yellow-Legged Chicken. If the mainstream media coverage of the
Hong Kong Legislators' scheduled tour of Guangdong was bizarre (see previous
comment), then DJY (via New
Century Net) goes even lower: The premise is that Hong Kong people
travelling to mainland China are often set up by the police for patronising
-Rule #1: Bring your spouse to be your witness. However, spouses are
not invited on this 30-hour trip.
-Rule #2: Do not answer any knocks on the hotel room door. However,
you will have to open the door eventually in order to get out.
-Rule #3: Share the room with other men. However, all it means that
all of you can be charged with a gangbang.
-Rule #4: Be glad that you are a woman instead of a guy. However,
there are also male prostitutes.
-Rule #5: Stay home.
Of course, given the political nature of this particular trip, the
legislators could go out and rob a bank, and they wouldn't be arrested.
As a cultural lesson, this particular act of entrapment (catching someone in
flagrante) is known in Cantonese as "catching the yellow-legged
What is the etymology?
jokes) Once upon a time in peasant villages in Guangdong, the
peasants rear chicken. They prefer to have female chickens which can
lay eggs. When it comes to making a sacrificial gift to the gods, they
prefer to slaughter a male chicken. How do they capture a male
chicken? They spread some rice out in the courtyard and the chickens
flock in to feed. As the female chickens bend over to peck at the
rice, the male chicken jumps right on top of a female to have sexual
intercourse. That was the moment for the peasants to identify which
one is a male and to catch that one while it is preoccupied and
distracted. The male chickens have dark yellow feet whereas the female
chickens have light yellow feet. So catching the yellow-legged chicken
is the term for catching someone in flagrante.
-  Monetarizing
Websites. For the month of August, here are my combined
- Number of hits (including htm, pdf, jpg, gif, wmv, xml files) = 1,681,869
- Number of page views (htm files only) = 327,945
- Number of user sessions (IP numbers within 30 minutes) = 206,350
- Average time spent per user session = 10 minutes 5 seconds
- Bandwidth consumption = 23,751,391 kilobytes
Converted to an annual basis, my combined website statistics would be
(taking the number above, divide by 31 and multiply by 365):
- 19,802,651 hits
- 3,861,288 page views
- 2,429,605 user sessions
- Bandwidth consumption = 279,653,475 kilobytes
How to monetarize the statistics? At 2,429,605 user sessions of
average duration 10 minutes 5 seconds, the total amount of time spent =
2,429,605 x (10 minutes 5 seconds) / (60 minutes per hour) = 408,484 hours
Assuming Hong Kong McWage of $20 per hour, this website will induce a loss
of productivity to the amount of 408,484 x 20 = HK$8,169,680 this year.
Assuming USA McWage of $6 per hour, this website will induce a loss of
productivity to the amount of 408,484 x 6 = US$2,450,906 this year.
These numbers are frightening, aren't they? I type a few words in
every day, and I can cause that much loss in worker productivity. This
is what I have to pay people to get this amount of traffic, but instead they
come here for free. What is wrong with them?
The above analysis was based upon the month of August, and that is a slow
month. As soon as school starts in September, there should be a 20%
pickup according to the historical pattern.
-  The
History of the History of the War of Resistance. Nanfang
Daily tracked the editorial positions of the People's Daily on V-day
- On September 3, 1955: The people of China under the leadership of the
Chinese Communist Party and Chairman Mao, fought for eight years as soldiers
and civilians and, with the aid from the great friendly Soviet Russian army,
won the final victory in the war of resistance against Japan.
- On September 3, 1985: The war of resistance against Japan was advocated by
the Chinese Communist Party and conducted under the banner of the people's
united war front with the cooperation of the Chinese Nationalist Party and
the Chinese Communist Party.
- On September 3, 1995: Chairman Jiang Zemin said: "Under the banner of
the people's united front to resist the Japanese as advocated by the Chinese
Communist Party and with the cooperation between the Nationalists and
Communists as the foundation ... there was an unprecedented unity."
- On August 30, "In order to save the nation, the Chinese Communist
Party first advocated to establish and then led the united front to resist
the Japanese. The Nationalists were propelled by the people to fight
the war. The Nationalist armed forces fought directly against the
Japanese invading forces and this was the direct battlefront while the
Communist Party led the people's militia to fight against the enemy behind
We'll have to read what shows up on September 3 this year.
-  Legco
Visits Guangdong. (The
Tao) Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Donald Tsang has wrestled
an invitation for all 60 Legislative Councilors to tour Guangdong province
on September 25-26. They will visit Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Donguan and
Zhongsan and meet Guangdong Communist Party Zhang Dejiang and Guangdong
governor Huang Huahua to discuss economic matters. This opening is a
litmus test. What will they say up there?
- There are nine Democratic Party members and they intend to ask about
Guangdong-Hong Kong economic cooperation, 9+2, tainted freshwater fish, air
pollution and so on. They will not mention June 4. Lee Wing-tat:
"As everybody knows, the Democratic Party has always called for the vindication of those involved in the June 4 incident. But I think on this occasion it is better not to discuss such a subject."
The newspapers have gone around asking them, specifically whether they might
talk about June 4 1989 and one-party rule in China.
- Unionist legislator Lee Cheuk-yan: "In fact, political reform discussion also does not have much relation to the main theme of this visit. But if we can discuss political reform, why can we not discuss other issues like the vindication of the June 4 incident on the trip?"
- Accountancy sector's Tam Heung-man, Medical sector's Kwok Ka-ki and Health
Services' Joseph Lee all said that local Chinese officials are not the
appropriate level of persons to talk about political reforms, so they would
rather talk about matters affecting people's livelihood.
- April 5 Movement legislator "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung plans to hand
an open letter to Zhang about June 4 and the democratization of China.
- Financial services sector legislator Chim Pui-chung is not going:
"I'm not going. Why should I become part of someone else's political
show? All these participants have their own goals and agendas.
I'm not going to play this game. I go to China often
enough. I don't have to use this occasion to speak to mainland
What is wrong with the media coverage here? They are more interested
in the potential sideshow and they want to hype it up to get more
readers. They will be gleeful for any misbehavior. The
journalism schools might have taught that this is the time to collect public
opinion about the issues that ought to be brought up at the meeting, but
that does not sell newspapers.
-  The
Ancient Generations of ESWN. You are looking at something
known as ESWN v.2.0. What is ESWN v.1.0? You can go down to the
bottom of the page and look for the Google search box. Type in any of
your favorite keywords, select search within ZonaEuropa.com and you will get a listing. Anything of the
format "0XXXX.htm" is from ESWN v.1.0 whereas 2005XXXX_X is from
ESWN v.2.0. You need to hit the "cache" to see the item for
0XXXX.htm items since all that content has been deleted from the current website.
There also exists something that I consider to be ESWN 0.0. You can
look at this page
and check out anything from December 2002 and earlier. If you
are a current ESWN reader, you will probably be quite confused and
disoriented about how this could be a continuation. But if you think
about it carefully, then all should be perfectly logical. By
comparison, I will state categorically that ESWN v.2.0 is NOTHING
compared to the legendary status of v.0.0 in New York City. I repeat, NOTHING.
However, I will quote from Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta: "Thou hast committed
fornication; but that was in another country; and besides, the wench is dead."
-  Grandpa
Was A Dog. (City Express (8/29) via Yannan)
In the city of Jiaxing (Zhejiang, China), a small 10-year-old boy was
playing with a thin bamboo reed, which may or may not have made contact with
a large Scottish shepherd dog. The dog owner got infuriated and
administered a beating to the boy. Then he forced the boy to kneel
down in front of the dog and say "Grandpa (爷爷)".
This is the sort of story that was guaranteed to generate national
outrage. As a result, the dog owner was arrested and jailed for 14
days. Interviewed inside the detention center, the well-educated dog
owner bowed to the television camera in apology and said that he hopes this
experience will give him a good civic lesson and make him a more responsible
-  The
Frenzy Of Horse Fart Culture In Taiwan. Several days ago, the
term Horse Cart Culture was used in the context of the special steel bridge
that was allegedly built just so President Chen Shui-bian could make an
inspection trip (see 2005-08-116).
There is now a media stampede to come up with more instances. Here is
the current list:
In the Chinese language examination for law students, the example was the
speech given by Chen Shui-bian at the party celebration of the Taiwan
Solidarity Union and the discussion theme was: "The Lawyers'
Characteristics and National Leadership." After this was exposed,
even the Taiwan Solidarity Union objected and stated that national
examinations ought to transcend any and all party politics. Test
committee members have been pointing fingers at each other and nobody has
been fingered as the "ass-kisser."
On September 3, President Chen Shui-bian was originally scheduled to inspect
an air force base. For the purpose of welcoming the president, the
commander had ordered all leave cancelled for the 350 air force soldiers,
who had to participate in applause and singing rehearsals twice a day.
Disgruntled soldiers called the media, and this inspection trip has been
- (Yahoo! News)
On the matter of compensation from the a case of industrial pollution by
Chinese Petroleum Corporation in
Tainan, President Chen Shui-bian's son-in-law Chao Chien-ming has been
appointed to the panel of health and medical experts. Critics point
out that Dr. Chao was a bone specialist and had nothing to do with dioxin
poisoning, so this deal was obviously 'ass-kissing.'
This is rather pathetic, less about politics than media reporting. In
an authoritarian society (such as Taiwan under Chiang Kai-shek), horse fart
culture had its place because it reinforces authority. In a
democratic society, horse fart culture is a major political liability as the
current feeding frenzy shows. I cannot imagine that Chen Shui-bian
demands any of this type of thing from his people as this serves no
purpose. Instead, it is usually initiated by some 'ass-kissing'
wants to please the boss. In the case of the air force base
inspection, there had been explicit orders coming down from the top NOT to
do anything extraordinary (such as cancelling soldiers' leave) but somebody
still ignored those orders and did it anyway. In the case of Chao
Chien-ming's appointment, this is a voluntary non-paying committee and he
seems to have some qualifications with respect to dioxins based upon his
This is a public relations problem that can be easily solved by setting an
example. For example, the air force base commander may be reprimanded
and demoted. That will force all future 'ass-kissers' to reconsider.
-  A
Super Girl Poll. (DoNews)
At PopTang.com, somebody popped the following question: "Zhang Liangying
is the one who is regarded as the most feminine and pretty girl in this
year's Super Girl contest ... her family situation is not good ... at 18,
she began to work as a bar singer for money. Suppose someone offers
her big money, will she become a kept mistress?"
You can vote Yes or No. Or you can get angry and do something about
it. At Baidu, the post titled "10,000 signatures to demand
PopTang.com to apologize" had already drawn 8,159 votes by 9:20pm at
the rate of thousands per hour. The original poll was quickly taken
down and PopTang.com has apologized with the explanation, "This
question was submitted by a netizen and looked over by an website employee
before publication. There are no uniform rules that govern the
decision and this particular employee was not sufficiently alert. The
company has deleted the poll as soon as possible."
-  More
From Fear City. Doug Crets for The
Standard on WTO MC6 in Hong Kong: "The Hong Kong government's silence on security arrangements for the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, to be held December 13-18, could be a sign that preparations on how to handle potential violence are all but complete.
It appears increasingly likely the plans revolve around keeping protesters out using stringent immigration standards, and also by not giving the demonstrators that do make it into the territory any place to stay."
The article has more on the lessons learned from prevous conferences.
Even though the Hong Kong government has yet to show its hand, that won't
stop the tabloid magazines from turning up the fear factor.
Previously, Next magazine published what was purported to be the
police plan (see The Hong Kong Police Plan For The WTO
Conference). This week,
competitor East Week published its own map.
East Week takes the perspective about how the 'troublemakers' might
go about their business based upon their historical actions. First,
the 'troublemakers' do not go around carrying weapons because they will be
be seen and arrested by the police. Instead, they are likely to use
whatever is available nearby. In the map, the blue symbols are the
natural gas/kerosene shops in the neighborhood; the red symbols are the gas
stations; and the symobl with the hammer/saw is for the row of hardware
stores where instant weapons can be purchased.
Of course, the demonstrators can be supplied by locals. According to a
member of the Hong Kong April 5 Movement, "We are have prepared a
coffin! Demonstrations have to be explosive and shocking. We are
not afraid of being arrested, prosecuted or jailed. When the time
comes, there will be something for people to see!" The April 5
Movement claims that it has an unlimited supply of tools such as banners and
bamboo poles, and even coffins, for the demonstrators.
The tabloid magazines know that fear sells copies. But where can they
do from here? This is only August 31 and the conference is not until
December. We still have to go through September, October and
November. Not to fear, I can already imagine a good story in two
weeks' time: the 9/11 scenario for Hong Kong, with illustrations of the IFC2
building on fire. Wait! Maybe I should copyright this story
before anyone else ...