-  The
Bus Uncle Comes Forth (05/31/2006) Next Magazine scored a
major coup by locating the Bus Uncle. The documentation is at The
Bus Uncle Interview in Next Magazine. Now, one cannot have
a more bizarre story as when Bus Uncle turned out to have been a candidate
for the Hong Kong Chief Executive in 1997, 2002 and 2005 and he promises to
run again in 2007. Can you imagine the media circus?
So what did Bus Uncle (=Chan Yuet-tung) do in 2005? At the
EastSouthWestNorth blog, I
retrieve the following comments in The Hong Kong Chief Executive Election:
(Ming Pao via Yahoo
News!) On June 11, Chan Yuet-tung applied for a judicial
review of the legality of the Election Committee, which is supposed to have
800 members according to the Basic Law. There are only 796 members
right now, and the status of about 30 of them may be subject to challenge
because they are no longer in their original constituency. However, on
this day, he was unable to come up with the HK$1,045 filing fee, so he
intends to file an application of fee waiver next week.
(Ming Pao via Yahoo!
News) On June 15, Chan Yuet-tung appeared at the campaign
office of Donald Tsang. Previously, Chan had filed a lawsuit against
then-Chief Secretary Donald Tsang for exceeding his authority in seeking an
interpretation from the Chinese National People's Congress Standing
Committee on the length of term of the next Chief Executive. The court
had just decided that it would not hear Chan's case, and ordered Chan to pay
court costs of HK$15,000. On this day, Chan came to see Donald Tsang
with a 'letter of surrender' that included a request for Tsang to pick up
his court fees.
Donald Tsang had made it know that he would not attend forums until after
the nomination process has ended, precisely to avoid dealing with people
like Chan Yuet-tung and their side-shows.
P.S. Somehow, Taiwan KMT chairman Ma
Ying-jeou figured in this very weird tale too.
-  Spy
vs. Spy (05/31/2006) (Yam
News) Hot on the Internet is a series of photographs
purportedly of the new daughter of Faye Wong and Li Yapeng. These
photographs were allegedly taken secretly by a nurse. Or maybe not,
because Faye Wong's manager has issued a denial.
How can anyone tell? Hmmm ... there is an offer of HK$500,000 for
exclusive rights to the first photographs. If someone has them, would
they just post it on the Internet? But then the talk about the
HK$500,000 bounty is also circulated only on the Internet ...
-  The
Legislator Ate The Bill (05/31/2006) Growing up in the United
States, it is known that an unacceptable excuse for not doing your homework
is, "The dog ate my homework."
At the Taiwan legislature, the bill for direct cross-strait air travel
(instead of going through Hong Kong/Macau right now) was delayed yesterday
because ... a DPP legislator ate the bill (well, actually, it was not
certain just what she put into her mouth).
Since the pan-blue camp had the numbers to pass the bill, the pan-green camp surrounded the president's
podium and prevented a vote.
This is standard behavior by now. At one
point, PFP legislator Feng Ting-kuo (馮定國)
attempted to submit a paper motion of some sort. The DPP legislator Wang Shu-hui (王淑慧)
snatched the piece of paper and stuffed it into her mouth.
The PFP legislator Ke Shu-min (柯淑敏)
got angry and pulled Wang's hair. But Wang was able to break out of
the scrum and returned to her phalanx. Wang then took the piece of paper
out, stuffed it back into her mouth and dared the other side to do
something. The pan-blue side was perhaps too stunned and therefore quite
uncreative in their response, as they only stood and chanted slogans in
protest. This was the third time that the vote on the bill has been delayed.
Here is some more standard action (TVBS via Yahoo
News!). Such actions will probably no longer make US national
network news, but a good video of Wang's action will likely make it.
-  Segregationist
Zoning (05/31/2006) (EastWeek Magazine) The FIFA World
Cup is coming up soon. If you want to watch all the games, you may
have to subscribe to cable television. Alternately, you can go to a
bar and get jostled. As a public service (and to drive up business),
during the last World Cup, Olympian City in the Tai Kok Tsui district of
Kowloon, Hong Kong had giant outdoor television screens set up for thousands
This time, Olympian City will offer the same service. However,
learning from what happened the last time, there will be two zones with very
clearly defined audiences. One zone is the "foul-mouthed"
zone where people are allowed to curse out aloud. The other zone is a
"clean-language" zone in which no swearing is allowed. You
can go to whichever one you want, but you better obey the rules (of course,
you are not forced to curse in the "foul-mouth" zone but you will
get an earful).
-  Otaku
(05/30/2006) The term 御宅族
refers to people who love ACG (anime, comics, games) and tend to stay home
most of the time with their hobbies. From Apple
Q: What do you people get out of this?
A: Release of pressure. We are not satisfied here in Taiwan for
the last several years. Most of the people around me are pessimistic
and have no exit. The macro-environment makes it hard for people to
decide what to do. The economy is poor, they can't start businesses
and they can't find jobs. If they find a job, the pay is lousy.
A university graduate makes just over NT$20,000. How does one
survive? The whole society feels helpless.
This is all Ah Bian's fault. I voted for him twice, but I detest him
now. The KMT lost because they were corrupt, but Ah Bian is even more
corrupt than the KMT. Taiwan is like the headquarters for a gang of
fraudsters. Everyone from the president to the government belong to
the gang. They defraud the people again and again. He is wasting
away our identification and feelings for the political parties. I used
to be deep-green and passionate about politics. I have lost confidence
and I hate the world.
The Internet tribes are mostly people in their 20's and 30's. They
tend to be pan-green, because the DPP used to represent honesty, reform and
hope. But it is all over now. We are better off relying on
ourselves. We love most of all to have Internet quarrels, disturbances
and riots. We do things that we feel are righteous.
Q: What kind of "trouble" do
A: For example, around 2/28 this year, some little thug was recruiting
members for his gang on the Internet. When the netizens found out,
they left comments to condemn him and then they called out for everybody to
come and attack his website and call his home so that he won't do this
Also, the three Chang brothers of Kaohsiung took in donations and refused to
share like they promised. Then they even came back for more Lorenzo's
oil. We called the Department of Health every day and we said:
"You better not give them any oil." Then we flooded their
comment board and demanded: "You better cough up the money."
At first, the media were on the Changs' side. After the 'riot,' they
felt that the Changs ought to share some of the money. When they
eventually did, we felt it was some kind of victory.
When PCHome put in the wrong prices, we 'rioted' because they refused to
admit fault. So whenever they made another error, we would go and
place orders so that we have a number of cases on file. In the end,
the relevant departments required the commercial websites to have better
quality control standards and protect the consumers.
These actions have positive meanings. We are having fun and releasing
our emotions while achieving certain goals. We are bored but we are
creative. In the future, I want to commercialize this sort of thing,
so that netizens from various walks of life can find opportunities and
-  The
Hong Kong CE Election (05/30/2006) Two headlines:
SCMP: Tsang's star rises, Anson Chan trails
Daily: If Mrs. Chan enters, Donald Tsang's support falls by 20%
From these headings, what do you think the real situation is?
Here are the actual survey results from the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese University
(774 survey respondents):
- If Donald Tsang is the sole candidate, he gets 75.7% support
- If Donald Tsang runs against Anson Chan, he gets 56.9% and she gets 27.2%
(last month, the numbers were 53.1% versus 29.2%)
- If Donald Tsang runs against Audrey Eu, he gets 70.2% and she gets 15.0%
Both headlines are factually correct, but it was a lot harder to figure out
the real situation than the positions of the newspapers.
More from SCMP: "Speaking on an RTHK programme yesterday, Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah said the public should not just judge candidates by their popularity, but also on their platforms and political ideals."
One way this is supposed to work is this: the people consider the platforms
and political ideals and then form their preferences, which are measured by
the public opinion polls. So why are the preferences this way now?
Anyway, pollster Timothy Wong Ka-ying pointed out that public opinion has no
bearing on the outcome of the election which depends on the Election
Committee and the central government. At most, public opinion serves
as a pressure point, in theory.
According to a recent survey, 79 percent of journalists in the city die between 40-60 years old — the average life span is 45.7 years old!
This is an old story and I have commented
earlier (no idea where, though, and I don't want to spend the time tracking it
down) about how this is likely to be a misinterpretation of the data. If
I can simplify this to a hypothetical situation:
According to a recent survey of school
children in Shanghai, 50% of them die between the ages of 12-17 and 50% die
between the ages of 6 to 11 -- the average life span is 11.5 years
old! The average life span is 11 for the boys and 12 for the
girls. The causes of death were traffic accident (60%), illness (20%),
murder (10%) and suicide (10%).
You must be duly alarmed by the mortality
rate! But here is how the numbers came about:
There are 2 million school children (age 6
to 17) in Shanghai. Within the survey period, 10 of them died.
Of these 10 dead school children, 5 were aged 12-17 and 5 were aged 6-11;
the cause of death was traffic accident (6), illness (2), murder (1) and
suicide (1) respectively.
Everything in the press release is factually
correct, except it does not convey the fact that the majority of the school
children will live for a long time after leaving school. Ditto for the
Shanghai journalists -- among those who died on the job, the average life span
was 45.7 years old, but the majority of the journalists go into retirement and
live on for a long time (and you won't know how old they will live to because all
you know is that they are alive when you interviewed them today). But of course that would not be a good news
[in abbreviated translation] In
observing the "kleptocracy" of the Chen Shui-bian family and the
aides, the author discovered a rather peculiar phenomenon -- virtually all
the information came from the KMT legislator Chiu Yi. The daily
routine information from Chiu Yi about the CSB family and the DPP government
are deadly precise and pointed, and basically accurate.
Previousyl, Chiu Yi was one of the few
public figures ready to expose problems. But most of the inside
stories were often sensationalistic and hyped up, and based upon
hearsay. The mainstream media avoided Chiu Yi and his talking.
But this time was completely
different. Most of his revelations were accurate. The question
is: Who provided the information that Chiu Yi has? Was it just a small
number of people or many "deep throats"? Are they with the
opposition, or the governing party? Do some of them work for Chen
Shiu-bian? Were they involved in those crimes too or were they
breaking away due to some political consideration?
Fortunately, even if there are unfathomable
motives behind the inside information from Chiu Yi, public opinion oversight
in Taiwan is fully developed, even if things are sometimes relentlessly
hyped and eventually repetitious and tiresome. The non-stop coverage
of the first family and the unyielding digging for information are perhaps
matched only in Hong Kong, but Hong Kong may not have the kind of
persistence. The Taiwan media monitored and supervised the government,
and this has provided a live example and many inspirations for other Chinese
Southern Metropolis Daily does not
mention yesterday's important news about Chiu Yi. From Taipei
Although the scandal involving alleged insider-trading by the president's son-in-law Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘) made headlines on China's state-run CCTV station last week, the legislator who first blew the whistle on the case was last night prohibited from giving a speech on the matter at Peking University.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅), who was scheduled to deliver a speech at Peking University last night, informed the press yesterday that the university had cancelled his speech at around 12:30am on Saturday.
"I believe [the reason for the cancellation] was the subject that I wanted to address -- freedom of speech -- which is what made it possible for the recent scandals to come to light," Chiu said.
Chiu said the scandals were a phenomenon of the nation's "crony capitalism" -- a pejorative expression describing a close relationship between government and business -- saying that the same phenomenon was emerging in China.
"I wanted to use the speech to teach the Chinese public how to fight corruption, as corruption is also a serious problem in China," Chiu said.
Chiu said that he was not surprised that the Chinese authorities had prevented him from making the speech at the last moment, as he had feared such a consequence after he revealed the main theme of his speech to the press in Beijing.
"Although A-bian [Chen] might hate me, he wouldn't go so far as to use the power of the state apparatus to suppress my freedom of speech," he said.
And what are the inspirations from this other
live example for all Chinese communities?
-  Taipei
Public Opinion Poll (05/29/2006) At issue is the KMT candidate
selection for the Taipei mayoralty election. The procedure is a winner
selected by a weighted average: 30% based upon a KMT membership vote and 70%
based upon public opinion polls. The results can be found at China
Post: Hau Lung-bin beat Ting Shou-chung. The results are of
little interest at this point, but there is a piece of information that is
of interest to public opinion pollsters. In this case, there were
three different public opinion polls. This answers the question as to
whether you can trust any of these independent media organizations, because
your confidence in them will be shaken if the poll results varied wildly among
them. It is very rare to have simultaneous measurements, so this is a
good test of the measurement methodology and execution.
Daily recorded these results:
- ETTV: 69.45% Hau; Ting 30.55%
- TVBS: 67.86% Hau; Ting 32.15%
- UDN: 70.49% Hau; Ting 29.61%
This is a lot better than expected. Polls are based upon samples and
different samples will yield somewhat different results. Larger
samples reduce the size of these sampling fluctuations. Actual polls
should use sufficient sample size so that the fluctuations are
acceptable. In this example, it would appear that the inter-poll
differences are acceptable in the sense of not affecting the ultimate
-  Taiwan
Public Opinion Poll (05/28/2006) President Chen Shui-bian's
approval ratings has reached a new low in the China
Times poll (May 26/27; 828 respondents; telephone number selected
from telephone book and then the last two digits chosen randomly for
calling; results are weighted by gender and age). Here is the
- 21% approval today after detention of son-in-law Chao Chien-ming for
suspected insider stock trading
- 25% approval after the NUC controversy and the SOGO gift certificates in
- 28% approval after the 3-in-1 election defeats in December 2005
- 40% approval after Central/South American trips in mid-2005
- 50% approval after inaugural presidential speech in May 2004
- 35% approval when mass demonstrations took place in March/April 2004
- 43% approval when elected as president in March 2004
The supplementary poll data are:
- 65% does not believe that CSB was unaware of what his relatives were up to
- 59% cannot believe in the CSB's ethics in governing
- 45% think CSB should serve out the remainder of this term; 34% thinks he
should resign. Among those who supported the Chen-Lu ticket in 2004,
the split is 70%/20%; among those who supported the Lian-Soong ticket in
2004, the split if 31%/56%.
There is no probing as to why CSB should continue to serve even though the
people disapprove and distrust. Could it be that people also don't
want to see the Vice-President Annette Lu in charge either?
-  The
'Bus Uncle' Cameraman (05/28/2006) I've been one of the
unintended beneficiaries of this cult hit, since my blog post Bus Uncle
is among the top Google search results. But the most surprised person
might be the cameraman Jon who took the video and then posted in.
(Ming Pao via Yahoo!
News) According to Jon, there is in fact a second part to the
video in which Alvin called a friend and talked about encountering a raging
uncle. Throughout that conversation, the uncle just sat and did
nothing. There are about 160 video clips in the camera phone, and
these have become the object of competitive bidding by the media.
-  Blogs
Are Useless And/Or Misleading (05/28/2006) While I gloated
about how blogs are better than mainstream media in Bus Uncle
Goes Global, I am going to argue that this is by no means
certain. There will be instances in which blogs do not have the access
to information. Worse yet, blogs are individual projects and therefore
highly likely to be influenced by partisan preferences and the wrong calls
are made when information is absent or paltry.
A case in point is about the Taiwan's first son-in-law Chao Chien-ming.
At first, the usual political hack (who is also a media commentator at TVBS)
Chiu Yi made a charge of inside stock trading against Chao, who
categorically denied everything -- it was his mother who purchased the stock
and he has no idea what she did.
If you accept Chao's word and launch a diatribe against Chiu Yi and his ilk,
you will be screwed. As events unfold over the days, your position
becomes increasingly untenable. Your big dilemma will be the
timing of your mea culpa. Or else you can simply try to ignore
the obvious proverbial 800-pound gorilla inside your house.
How did you wind up in this position? Two things -- (1) you decided
upon an a priori position and (2) you did not have all the
information. A blogger is not going to be able to change (2), because
he/she does not the ability to access sources or acquire information as well
as the mainstream media. Most of them simply read MSM news reports and
react. So I would at least suggest that bloggers ought to avoid
(1). Besides, nobody wants to read you if you are completely automated
This comment is not directed against any specific blogger with respect to
the Chao Chien-ming case. That has nothing to do with it. This
is a general comment, for I have seen so much of this happening in the
blogosphere in the United States with respect to political developments over
there. I only want to use this to illustrate a situation when blogs
can only follow the lead of mainstream media.
The Executive Yuan's Commission of Administrative Appeals on Thursday reversed an earlier decision made by the Government Information Office to penalize TVBS Satellite Television Co. for its alleged violation of a ban on direct foreign ownership of local TV stations.
TVBS issued a three-point statement praising the commission for upholding justice and protecting press freedom, saying that the commission's ruling has boosted the morale of TVBS staff and encouraged media to further their functions of supervising the government's administration as society's fourth power.
TVBS appealed the case to the commission after the GIO decided on November 8 of last year to fine the station NT$1 million for violating the Satellite Broadcasting Law, which limits foreign capital in local broadcast media.
So there you have it. I have nothing
more to say other than "I told you so."
P.S. Of course, there will always be the dead-enders. (China
Post) "Former Government Information Office (GIO) chief Pasuya Yao blasted
Premier Su Tseng-chang for losing his 'chastity' by dropping a fine of NT$1 million on the TVBS satellite TV station to please news media."
Hmm ... this makes it much worse because Pasuya Yao apparently believes that a
premier should meddle with judicial decisions for political reasons.
-  Visualizing
Culture in China (05/28/2006) The Visualizing Culture at MIT
episode occurred at MIT and the reverberations had previously been felt
mostly within the overseas Chinese community. There are now three
major articles in the mainland Chinese mainstream media (note: they are
included in the above link, but untranslated).
An excerpt from the May 25, 2006 Southern
Weekend article by commentator Lin Da (林达.):
Concerning the saying about "hurt
feelings," one can say that between China and the United States (or,
even more broadly, between the two cultures), there exists a
difference. When we live in China, the phrase "severely hurt the
feelings of the Chinese people" appears frequently in protests, either
formally or informally. So we think that this is obvious. Once
we go overseas, we find out that most countries do not protest in this
way. Especially in the United States, the country is criticized
everyday in every which way by all sorts of people. The Americans do
not say "the feelings of the American people are hurt." At
most, if necessary, they will explain why some assertion is not consistent
with the facts. For them, when they are criticized or even insulted,
the clarification of the facts is more important than asking people to show
some concern for their feelings. For them, frequent claims about
"hurt feelings" is a response by the weak.
This type of emotional fragility is
harmful, especially in the face of historical truths. We are used to
appeasing our fragile nerves so that we will not confront the historical
truth. We regard all those who expose the historical truth as
evil-doers. Young people who are educated and reared in this cultural
atmosphere become narrow-minded. There is no other way to explain how
the best Chinese students who were accepted into a first-rate university
such as MIT could lose the basic ability to judge.
The other article in Youth Weekend presents
Lin Da's first statement as well as the position of the student
protestors. This is the classical fair-and-balanced presentation. But
the tie breaker was that it quoted the blog 薛涌：反智的书生.
Previously, the blogger Xue Yong had read Lin Da's statement and the students'
statements, and wrote to condemn Lin. A couple of days later, he posted
two more blogs after researching the subject. Not only did Xue Yong
agree with Lin Da's viewpoint, he apologized to the two professors and accused
the students of creating a "false news item." That was how
that article ended, without any opportunity for rebuttal.
-  Advertorials
in China (05/27/2006) In the matter of Hong
Kong Reporters Beaten At Shenzhen PAAG Trial, the Shenzhen
newspapers were silent and the coverage was left to the Guangzhou newspapers
Nanfang Daily and YCWB. What wouldn't the Shenzhen newspapers cover a
major local news item? Chinese lawyer Pu
wrote: "Fuhua Hospital buys a huge amount of advertising space at
Shenzhen Evening News. Last summer, the newspaper ran a series of
articles by reporter Sun Baxiao (孙伯箫)
to create a fairy tale for the miraculous PAAG at Fuhua."
Here are some Chinese-language links found through Baidu:
(Girl with crooked nose restored to beauty) (June 6, 2004)
(Hurry up to sign up for facial cosmetic surgery) (September 24, 2004)
(Let the beauty business be even more trustworthy) (March 22, 2005)
(The beautiful transformation from age 40 to age 20) (July 14, 2005)
For example, from the March 22, 2005 article:
Fuhua Cosmetic Hosptial is one of the
earliest cosmetic surgery specialty hospitals established in our nation and
is called 'Asia's dream factory.' It gained the national and
international reputation of promising that 'every operation is a meticulous
This is not even any pretense. It was
just a press release that happened to be published in the news section without
indication as such.
Now you might be tempted to say China needs to have more professional
journalist. Here is how things are done in the United States -- Plagiarize Me, Please!
by Jennifer Nix at Firedoglake.
-  Photos
From Taiwan That You May Not See (05/27/2006) You may have
seen the standard Reuters
photograph of first son-in-law Chao Chien-ming being taken away by
Bureau of Investigations Agent to the detention center.
Chao was subjected to 15 hours of interrogation through the night.
Finally, at 930am in the morning, he was remanded into incommunicado
detention because there was a strong likelihood that he would attempt to
influence the testimonies of others or destroy the evidence. Here are
the local photographs. In the photo on the left, he is being brought onto
the bus and transported to the detention center. The photo in the
middle shows citizens setting off firecrackers to celebrate. The last
photo shows Chao's last look at freedom (ETTV via Yahoo!
There were more than 40 cameras waiting for his appearance. No sooner
than Chao appeared than a full-scale riot among the photographers erupted:
Of course, the photographers cannot be at all the places that they want to
be. So some things have to be left to the illustration artists, such as
this scene from Apple
Daily in which the first son-in-law was body-cavity-searched at the
But here is the most unfortunate victim -- the pre-schooler grandson of
President Chen Shui-bian being besieged by the media and responding:
"Dad and Mom are not quarreling! (爸媽沒有吵架啦)"
(ETToday via Yahoo!
-  Bus Uncle
Goes Global (05/26/2006) The legend of Bus
Uncle has now gone global through Associated
Press and Associated
Press. When I say global, I mean global as in: Lexington
Herald-Leader (Kentucky), Hong
Kong Standard, Independent
Online (South Africa), San
Jose Mercury News (California), Khaleej
Times (United Arab Emirates), Fox
News (USA), Washington
News-Democrat (Illimois), Miami
Herlad (Florida), Grand
Forks Herald (North Dakota), ...
A comparison of the ESWN blog post Bus
Uncle versus the Associated Press would show the two strongest
points about blogs -- the information came out earlier and it was much more
detailed with direct WWW links.
P.S. At this moment, my blog post is number one on Google search for
"Bus Uncle," even ahead of the original YouTube videos.
-  How
Do You Know Taiwan Media Lie? (05/26/2006) Now that the
son-in-law of President Chen Shui-bian has been placed under incommunicado
detention on suspicion of insider stock trading, the media have decided that
the world needs to know what he ate for his first dinner in jail.
(TVBS via Yahoo!
News) There were four dishes and one soup. The soup was
egg drop soup and the dishes included stir-fried bamboo shoots, etc.
(ETTV via Yahoo!
News) There were three dishes and one soup. The soup was
wintermelon+pork ribs. The dishes were gourd+chicken, cucumber+shredded
meat and stirred fried Korean vegetables.
Daily reports that there were four dishes and one soup. In
addition to the ones listed by ETTV, there was also another melon dish.
I have no idea what the first son-in-law ate
and I really don't care either. I only know that these two reports
cannot both be true.
Why are the media telling us this? For
no reason except to inflame people by interviewing the inevitable person who
will complain that prison food is better than what they could afford to eat at
-  What
Kind Of Democratic Movement Is This? (05/26/2006) From
Apple Daily (via New
Century Net) comes the weekly essay by Jiao Guobiao:
Recently, the FLG resistance has been
delivering significant victorious news. On April 25, Wang Wenyi
shouted out to Secretary General Hu Jintao on the White House south
lawn. Before the news had cooled down, Internet reports on May 5 said
that the FLG managed to be able to reach the telephone in former Secretary
General Jiang Zemin's hotel room in Qingdao, Shandong.
Previously, the FLG only distributed flyers
about the truth on streets overseas and sat down in quiet protest outside
overseas consulates; inside China, they just sneaked into private residences
and slide in promotional materials about "FLG Great Way is
good." Those were marginal protests that are like scratching the
itch from outside the shoe. But the recent White House shouting and
the Qingdao speech showed that their resistance have reached from the skin
into the flesh. Not only are they close to the central, but they are
closer to the physical beings of the central leaders. According to
street talk, they had even more dramatic encounters with the central
leaders, but it was not appropriate to disclose those right now.
I ask, "What kind of democratic movement
is this?" What is the direct or even any conceivable indirect
relationship between the shouting/telephone call and freedom/democracy in
China, as perceived by the majority of the Chinese people? What kind of
free and democratic society will emerge as a results of these kinds of
actions? And you won't
have a democratic movement unless you have some resonance with the people.
If you wonder why democracy is not advancing in China, it is because the
leading 'democrats' such as Jiao Guobiao think this way.
-  The
Heungto Blog (05/26/2006) In Comment
200605#033, the subject was a video clip of school bullies (see the
video at zSHARE).
The story is much more than a single video clip, because there are issues
about media coverage as well as citizen reactions. Here was the front
page in The Sun:
But this being the Internet age, some of the school bullies maintained their
own blogs and commented on what happened. For anyone who is really
interested in this matter, there is even an entire Chinese-language blog (heungto.blogspot.com)
that has collected and cached the details of the case. Is
re-publishing the contents of those blogs a violation of privacy? Well, these are blogs available for public viewing. So
if they want to tell the public before how much fun it was, why should they
be able to suppress it after the matter got attention?
P.S. Maybe I seem to be extreme here, but you should take a look at the
video clip first.
-  Ang
Lee's New Movie (05/25/2006) Previously, in Comment
200604#015 (dated April 4, 2006), I wrote: "If Ang Lee can do wonders with
quintessentially American movies such as The Ice Storm and Brokeback
Mountain, one has to wonder why he doesn't do the same with Chinese movies
(beyond Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). This would be quite important
for the Chinese movie industry, which is notably lacking in imagination and
creativity these days. To be more precise, there may be plenty of people with
imagination but the financial backers prefer the standard formulae. By
this time, Ang Lee is an established brand name, so any creative idea of his
will be financially supported and therefore this is a window of opportunity,
if he so chooses."
Actually, at the time, I (note: I represent the literary estate of Eileen
Chang) was aware that Eileen Chang's publisher was
negotiating with Ang Lee over the film rights of a short story titled 色,戒
("Lust, Caution"). However, I was sworn to secrecy until the
deal was announced by Ang Lee. That was why I wrote about my wish to
see Ang Lee direct a Chinese movie in such a roundabout way. This story is now the top entertainment
news of the day.
I am not aware of an English translation of this short story, about an
espionage-love story under the collaborationist regime in Shanghai during
WWII. Due to the relative short length of the story, this film
adaptation will not be literally word-for-word; rather, there will be some
creative license here. In a way, this is the best thing possible (look
what happened to the disaster known as The Da Vinci Code which
permitted little artistic leeway).
-  One
Day At The Zoo (05/25/2006) For the May 20th speech, Taiwan
president Chen Shui-bian used an old Chinese saying in his speech. The
goal was to say that accomplishments are too many to enumerate, but some
people believed that the term is reserved for too many bad things to
enumerate. The Ministry of Education jumped in Chen's defense, and
this only made things worse. So the following old
mainland Chinese post has been recycled in Taiwan for the debate over PLP
culture (a loose translation of PLP is 'ass-kissing'). This post is
untranslatable because it has about 100 misappropriately used Chinese
火鍋在我們呼天嗆地面紅耳赤地蠶食鯨吞後，很快就只剩滄海一粟，和少數的漏網之魚。母範猶存的媽媽想要丟三落四放冬粉時，發現火苗已經危在旦夕， 只好投鼠忌器。幸好狐假虎威的爸爸呼盧喝雉叫來店員抱薪救火，終於死灰復燃，也讓如坐針氈的我們中飽私囊。鳥盡弓藏後，我們一家子酒囊飯袋，沆瀣一氣 ，我和妹妹更是小人得志，沾沾自喜。
-  Underwear
Garments (05/24/2006) From the comments in
Park blog, some Hong Kong reporters get assaulted by hospital
workers in Shenzhen while covering the PAAG case (see Reporters Beaten At Shenzhen PAAG Trial). A snide comment was
that the reporters were too 內衣褲.
means "underwear garments (shirt and pants)." Huh?
This is the genius of the Chinese-language speakers. Now pronounce 內衣褲
-- "Nei-yi-ku" in putonghua or "Neu-yi-fu" in
Cantonese. This is supposed to be the English-language word:
"Naïve" which former president/chairman Jiang Zemin once labeled
Hong Kong reporter Sharon Cheung Po-wah: "Too simple, sometimes naïve."
So, is it naïve to think that you won't get physically assaulted on a
reporting assignment in China?
-  Danwei
TV and Eileen Chang (05/24/2006) During the May 1st Golden
Weekend, the Danwei TV crew went to Hong Kong for work/vacation. Among
the many Danwei TV projects, there was A Hong Kong Story with Roland Soong.
Upon personal information and belief, this televised episode is probably missing the
most important parts (hint: see the Hongkie
Town blog post), but who am I to complain about editorial judgment, eh?
Okay, now for my personal review. Duh ... given that this is my first
ever televised appearance (apart from that very brief 5 second appearance on
Channel News Asia), I can expect the standard question about my
accent. This has happened time and again in my career. For
example, I might have worked with a colleague in the New York City office
and spoke with a Long Island accent in my daily dealings with her for
years. Then one day, an Australian visitor shows up at the office and
I switched to her accent. I can observe my NYC colleague drop her jaw
and mentally say, "O my God! I don't know this person after
all!" So when I looked at the Danwei TV program, I am very
conscious of the switching of accents -- Australian, British, Long Island,
San Fernando Valley, Memphis, Boston, Hong Kong ... I am the sum total of
all the places that I have lived in and I have nothing to be proud or
ashamed of. That was my first and foremost focus. Still, it was
weird to see it so obviously recorded. If you like, you can review the
video clip and identify the accents at various points.
The second reaction was that this was a long and tedious program (oh, did I
mention that I proposed the script?). Well, I should have known.
There was simply not enough SEX!!! I was the 'genius' who came up
with the idea of two guys talking for the entire show!! At a minimum,
I should have gone down to Portland Street and hired a mainland girl just to
stand around for the day.
Was this demeaning the image of Eileen Chang? Well, who am I to
say? I only know that any mention of her name in any context would
have dismayed her. Yet, she is in the public domain, for she is a myth
and a legend along with the characters in her literary creations. For
the record, I am presently administering the literary estate of Eileen
Chang, so that I can guarantee that there will not be any litigations over
this Danwei TV program.
This project was the result of the collaboration of Hong Kong and mainland
bloggers. At this moment in time, we are blessed by a lenient metric
of success of simply whether we enjoyed ourselves. In that sense, we
were very successful, and this will be a landmark in the growth of Danwei TV
(oh, commercial time is free around here ...).
-  Blowback
From The White House Meeting (05/24/2006) In The
Aftermath of the White House Meeting, I summarized what happened after
Yu Jie, Wang Yi and Li Baiguang visited President George W. Bush at the
White House, with Guo Feixiong being excluded. For the mainland
Chinese freedom/democracy activists, this was the most significant event
since June 4, 1989. Could it be that this one single meeting has
destroyed all the efforts to build up a democracy movement since then?
In any case, everybody is being required to take sides: Are you with
Yu-Wang? Or Guo? Or do you want them all to just go away?
How shall the western media cover this major development? I checked
Google News. ZERO. ZILCH. NADA. They either don't
know, or don't want to know, or don't know what to do with the
information. This does not fall in line with the conventional
system. This is not in their regular script.
In the aforementioned blog post, I have provided links to the
public statements from all the major actors and so it is really not such a
difficult story to write. Why won't you?
Postscript: Here is A Chinese Dissident's Faith
Jim Hoagland, Washington Post, May 28, 2006. There is not a single
mention of the blowback and the future of the Christian vs. human rights
-  The
Great Microwave Oven Hoax (05/24/2006) (6Park)
On May 10 at 20:02, a netizen posted the following at the MOP forum:
"Several days ago, a friend came to visit me at home. He left his
public transportation card next to my microwave oven. So I got an
inspiration and put the card into the microwave for 10 seconds. That
afternoon when we took the bus, my friend exclaimed that there was
an additional 10 RMB on the card! The microwave oven must have
perturbed the magnetic field. You can try it too. Please
remember to run it only at 80% power and not too long."
13 minutes later, another netizen replied: "I just tried it. It
really works! But you can only work on an ordinary card, as it won't
work on the monthly ticket." Soon this post was appearing in
Tianya and other forums. The reporter was able to find eight forums
which carried this post.
Then mainstream media showed up when a Ms. Xu called a newspaper telephone
hotline. When she saw the forum post at first, she thought this was
ridiculous. But then she saw the comments kept building up, with
hundreds of of personal testimonials from people who found it to be true. So
Mr. Xu put a transportation card with only one RMB left into the microwave
oven and operated it according to the instructions. Afterwards, she
found the four sides of the card were noticeably out of shape. When
she checked the card at the subway station, it was no longer working.
A spokesperson for the Shanghai public transportation card company said:
"Value can only be added at the designated machines of the
company. All other methods won't work, because there is no scientific basis
whatsoever." The company has spoken to someone who put a card in
the microwave oven and nearly caused a fire in the house.
P.S. Here is an example when seemingly absurd machinations have totally
unexpected consequences. (Wikipedia)
John Draper (nicknamed Captain Crunch) discovered that a toy whistle
packaged in Captain Crunch cereal boxes emitted a tone at precisely 2600 hertz
which allowed him to use AT&T long-distance phone-call lines for
free! So John Draper told people to buy a box of Captain Crunch cereal
box, take out the toy whistle, go to the nearest phone booth and blow on the
whistle to call anywhere in the United States for free. Was this
ludicruous? Yes. Did it work? Yes. So that was how
the legend of Captain Crunch was created.
Yes, the Internet will affect newspaper
circulation, but it will not eliminate newspapers. The next logical step
should be the complimentary co-development of newspapers and Internet.
When that day comes, will there be some earth-shattering change
overnight? No. It will be a gradual and stable evolution, because
the period of greatest impact by the Internet has passed already. From
now on, newspapers will co-evolve with the Internet.
Co-evolution means both sides must
evolve. Apple Daily is an example in which the print edition completely
drives the online edition. Every day, the online edition is updated
early in the morning and the contents match what is in the print
edition. Oh, it is also subscription-based (note: of course, I am a
subscriber). So there is not much innovative or co-evolutionary about
What kind of innovative ideas might there
be? The example that I love to give is "Hit
Rate" Front Page: A Change in Newspaper Publishing Method? In
Chile, the tabloid Las Ultimas Noticias became the market leader by using the hit
rates on its website to decide which one story to put on the front page.
How about that?
According to the Central
Blogger, there will be a new free paper called My Paper (我報)
in Singapore as of June 1. The gimmick is that the newspaper will
produce three front-page designs and ask the readers to vote. Those
votes will count for 80% while the advertisers get the remaining 20% of the
votes. My Paper says that its target readers is 20-40 year old workers
with good income and that its employees will have an average age of under
30. My Paper will distribute 100,000 to 120,000 copies Tuesdays through
Saturdays at subway stations, offices, airlines, residential estates and even
coffee houses. The newspaper will have a website soon. Will the
website allow the readers to choose the headline stories for the next day?
-  Open
House (05/22/2006) (Boxun)
Take a look at the photographs of the crowd scene. What are those
people queuing for? Train tickets? Free giveaways? No, this
scene took place on May 12 and May 13 when the Henan Provincial Superior
Court held an open day for "petitions" and several thousand people
Implied in this photo is that this represents pented-up demand -- that is,
there were no normal channels for their petitions to get through effectively
-  Trademark
Infringement (05/22/2006) (World
Journal) Yahoo!'s brand image may not be the best in China, but
someone out there still wants a piece of the pie. Yahoo! has filed a
request for injunction at the Hong Kong Supreme court against a company
registered in Hong Kong under the name USA Yahoo Int'l Culture Publishing
The complainant Yahoo! asserts that the registered name is sufficiently
close to mislead the public.
Who is the defendant in the case? The address is a certain Tseung Kwan
O public housing flat. No, not exactly a premier Central address.
-  The
Internet As Public Pressure Tool (05/22/2006) (Wenxue
City) The following is a fairly trivial story, except you would have
to imagine how the outcome could have occurred so quickly and effectively
without the Internet.
During the May 1st holidays, Beihang University students went to Haituo
Mountain for wilderness survival training. At 11am on May 15, a
netizen posted at the Green Wilderness Forum pictures of the scene
afterwards. The netizen picked up several Beihang University posters
left in the garbage and identified the perpetrators as being students from
there. By May 17, the Baidu search for "Baitou garbage" has
more than 1,000 entries. Meanwhile, traffic at the Beihang University
forums surged too as netizens came over to complain.
The military student association chairman Zhang Changbao was shocked about
the sight. He admitted that they were responsible. On May 18, he
and two other members went back up to Haituo Mountain. He said,
"We set off at 6am and we arrived at the spot three hours later.
Besides eating and resting, we spent nine hours cleaning up the
garbage. We even removed garbage left behind by other people. In
the past, when we see other people discarding garbage, we could curse them
too. We intend to publicize this incident on a public notice board at
the school." The netizen who complained agreed that "this
was the best outcome possible."
-  Wiping
Off The Map (05/21/2006) Juan
Cole on "the attribution to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the statement that "Israel must be wiped off the map."
No such idiom exists in Persian, and Ahmadinejad actually just quoted an old speech of Khomeini in which he said "The occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time." Of course Ahamdinejad does wish Israel would disappear, but he is not commander of the armed forces and could not attack it even if he wanted to, which he denies.
I had a very disturbing short email correspondence with a reporter of a major national newspaper who used the inaccurate "wiped off the face of the map" quote. When challenged, he said it was "carried by the news wires and is well known" or words to that effect. I pointed out that the "quote" was attributed to a specific speech and that the statement was inaccurately translated. When challenged further he alleged that his trusted translator in Tehran affirmed that Ahmadinejad had said the phrase. When that was challenged, he reported that the translator said that anyway he had said something like it. When I pointed out that the translator was either lying or lazy, the reporter took offense that I had insulted a trusted colleague! I conclude that this reporter is attached to the phrase. He complained about being challenged by "bloggers" and said he was tempted to stop reading "blogs."
So this is how we got mired in the Iraq morass. Gullible and frankly lazy and very possibly highly biased reporters on the staffs of the newspapers in Washington DC and New York. And they criticize
-  Somebody
Is Watching (05/20/2006) (Ta
Kung Pao) The H5N1 Concern Group consisting of many
legislators and medical professionals spent some time early last month in
120 public restrooms in Hong Kong. They observed the hand-washing
habits of 2,400 citizens. The Concern Group found that only 11
citizens followed the directive from the Health Department to apply soap on
their hands for at least 20 seconds. About half applied soap between 1
to 5 seconds.
A mob of angry Chinese students protested at Massey University yesterday after Chairman Mao was lampooned on the cover of the student newspaper. Students likened the cover of Chaff, which this week satirises women’s magazine Cosmopolitan, to the anti-Muslim cartoons circulated around the world in February.
Tempers flared outside Massey’s library as about 50 Chinese Massey and UCOL students and a Chinese lecturer confronted Chaff staff. Students said the issue is racist and the last straw, as many have also suffered verbal abuse on the streets of Palmerston North.
Tianxiang Mao said it was common for Asian students to be lambasted with racial slurs when driving. “People yell `F-ing Asians’ when we are in the car driving down the road. I don’t say anything. What can I do?”
UCOL student Xing Tang said Chaff staff are ignorant of Chinese culture.
“Chairman Mao is like Jesus to us,” he said on the verge of tears. “We pay $20,000 in fees and a Musa fee (which funds Chaff) and this is how we are treated.”
However, Chinese Massey student Tony Song said protesters were being “too sensitive”. “It’s been done to the Queen before. I’m not offended at all. I was laughing.”
Students likened the situation to a racial slur expressed in Victoria University’s latest student magazine Salient. The “Top Five Things to Be Wary of” rated the Chinese at No 5.
Dogs also featured in the same line-up, the students said. Salient editor James Robinson said the Top Five column and the Chaff cover are both “culturally insensitive”. “We are getting hate mail by the minute,” Mr Robinson said. Salient has been in strife over the Top Five column and the item has appeared on a Chinese news website.
Read the whole thing at GNN, especially the
-  The
Blindfolded Eel (05/20/2006) Entering into the lore of
political language is this Taiwanese saying about the blindfolded eel.
The background first (China
Post): This gigantic scandal arose from a stock transaction. Chao-Chien Shui-mien,
the mother of Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian's son-in-law, bought some
shares in Taiwan Development from the Changhwa Bank for NT$10 million and
has now made profits estimated to be at least NT$100 million. So
what? Maybe she is an astute investor just like the first lady.
Inevitably, the first son-in-law Chao Chien-ming was asked about this
amazing turn of fortune. His initial response to the world was
something like: I don't know what my mom does.
Fair enough. Soon, events unfolded gradually over the days as one
after another piece of information became known. For example, it was
established that Chao went to a banquet on a Friday with Su Teh-chien ( board chairman of the Taiwan Development Corporation),
Chang Po-hsin ( board chairman of the Chang Hwa Bank) and the middleman Tsai
Ching-wen ( a member of the board of directors of the Waterland Financial Holding
Company). Then on the Monday after, his mother bought NT$10 million in
Taiwan Development stocks at a special rate from Changhwa Bank. This
kind of deal was not open to the public, which does not know that Taiwan
Development had just secured a huge bank loan that would allow it to emerge
from a financial crisis that drove its stock down to a penny stock.
The first son-in-law had to admit being in attendance, but claimed that he
had no idea who was going to be there nor was anything discussed about stock
transactions. The other banquet attendants have conflicting
recollections as to who organized the banquet as well as the purpose.
Later, it would turn out that there were three such banquets (that is, this
is what is known so far). In addition, it was unclear just who was
footing the bill for the stock transaction, and so on. New revelations
are still appearing from day to day.
Anyway, the first son-in-law was called to the carpet by the first lady, who
(in translation: "A blindfolded eel has no idea whether it is going to
live or die." According to UDN,
eels are blindfolded before being butchered so that they don't know when
they are going to die. In Minnan dialect, this is a saying about
someone who is clueless about what is going on and quite unaware of the
severity of the situation. She implied that he was clueless about what
he was getting into.
What was the first son-in-law's problem? He needs a PR consultant in
crisis management! At first, he thought that he could get away with
denial (and that includes to his parents-in-law (see China
Post: The Presidential Office stated that the accusations were
"totally made up out of thin air and have misled the public")).
When a DPP legislator recommended that the profits be donated, he
sneered. But as more revelations popped up, he offered to donate some
unspecificied amount of the profit, and this drew scorn from the DPP
legislators who labeled it as an "idiotic notion."
Meanwhile, the people who want his head on a pike are not the pan-blue camp
or the media, but the DPP people (especially those who believed in his
initial statement and attempted to defend him). The first son-in-law
has resigned from the DPP, but that did not stop the onslaught.
Right now, Chao is clamming up because he says that the matter is in the
"legal phase" (note: the middleman Tsai Ching-wen is under
detention after investigators found a CD that contained documents and even
videos). Instead of coming clean immediately and putting everything
behind him quickly, Chao preferred bleeding to death by ten thousand pin
pricks. The media characterized this strategy as confessing to
whatever new facts emerge for the day. This means that Chao has zero
credibility by now. There are serious implications, as the media are
hounding his son to see if the parents are quarreling today, whether the
first daughter wants a divorce, whether she might get a spontaneous
premature abortion in her seventh month of pregnancy, and so on.
In the meantime, recent polls by Shih Hsin University,
President Chen Shui-bian's performance approval at 16%, 20% and 15% respectively. Can it get any lower? With the help of the first
son-in-law, it will. In recent
memory, President Alfredo Toledo of Peru has the lowest approval rating of
7%. Will President Chen Shui-bian get there?
-  There
Was No Cheating (05/20/2006) (The Sun via Yahoo!
News) More than 18,000 netizens signed a website petition
against purported cheating at the HKCEE examination with the threat of
another one of those mass demonstration marches with "Hong Kong
The examination included an English-language essay which the students are
supposed to comment upon. At the bottom of the page, the source of the
essay is listed: www.stoptextbully.com.
It was alleged that some students had asked to use the restroom and then
used their 3G mobile telephones or PDA devices to access the website for
more information. That sounds plausible. After all, the
examiners can only ask the students to leave their mobile telephones on the
floor, but they are not empowered to conduct physical searches of all the
students (who can leave one mobile phone on the floor and keep another one
in the pocket).
Now we get the results of the investigation by Hong Kong the Examinations and Assessment Authority.
Investigation? How can they do that weeks after the examination was
held? Since the conclusion of the investigation was that there was
zero cases of cheating with total certainty, wouldn't you think that this is
fishy? Yet another whitewash, eh?
(Ming Pao via Yahoo!
News) Here is how the investigation was done. The
investigators contacted UK-based www.stoptextbully.com
and asked them to check the IP addresses of the visitors during the time when the examination
was taking place. It was established that none of the IP addresses
came from Hong Kong. Consider the implications: if there was an IP
address from Hong Kong, would the investigators ask the Internet Service
Provider to yield the user ID information? Will the ISP insist on
protecting the privacy of a user who may be a cheat?
[Correction] Ming Pao has an update on this story (via Yahoo!
News) The first development was that there was one IP address
from Hong Kong, in which the person was on the website twice for 13 minutes
at first, then a break of 30 minutes, followed by 3-1/2 more minutes.
So far, the website has not provided the IP address to the
investigators. The second development was that the investigators
checked the scoring and found several individuals had unusually high scores
for that section compared to their overall scores
-  Disgusted
and Saddened (05/19/2006) With respect to the four cases of
reporter misconduct mentioned in Local
News Bureaus in China, Chinese blogger Zhang
(note: he is a Beijing newspaper editor and his blog is sub-titled
Journalism Is An Ideal (新闻是一种理想))
had these words:
[in translation] After I finished
reading the news, I was filled with loathing. What kind of reporters
are these scums? They are just like bad officials who impose and
collect unreasonable taxes, or gangsters who bully their fellow
citizens. I feel shame. Great shame! With people like
that, it is f*cking useless to talk about the professional ethnics or news
dignity that are bandied around in journalism nowadays.
I have met many newspaper editors-in-chief
or local news bureau chiefs who look righteous but are hypocrites who spout
bullsh*t. These people think that they have connections at all levels
of government. On the left hand, they hold the sword of the
"internal reference"; on the right hand, they hold the steel rod
of the special feature report. One hand is soft, and the other hand is
hard -- carrot and stick, either left or right. These bastards don't
know how to make money legally. They only know how to extort and
swindle under the cover of darkness, and they have no desire to speak on
behalf of the people.
There is a national-level newspaper in
Beijing which looks impressive but engages in dirty stuff. They
publish 8 pages a day, five issues a week. I open the newspaper and I
don't see any Chinese words, just coins floating around and around.
Apart from publishing promotional pieces in the paper, the publisher also
encourages the reporters to construct news on behalf of enterprises to fool
other media. I have told all my reporters that they must categorically
refuse to follow any leads coming that newspaper! If they want to
write about it, then it should be a f*cking negative report about how that
newspaper colluded wtih enterprises to sell out their conscience and fool
the media and the public.
Why did these four incidents occur in the
newspaper industry? Why did they occur at local news bureaus?
This is worthy contemplating. I am not saying that there is no dirt at
the newspaper main office. There is. Not only that, but it is
even bigger, badder and even more f*cking shocking. But the main
office has PR ability and they are much better at harmonizing with the
government. If something bad happens, they can usually take care of it
with money. When something bad happens at a local news bureau, the
main office will try to cover it up if possible. If cover-up is
impossible, then the main office will abandon the local news bureau and get
by on its own.
I have sworn that I will not take one cent
of black money from enterprises and PR companies. Up till today, I
have managed to do that. But I do not feel pleased or proud about what
I do. I have never thought about forcing everyone else to be like
me. When the dark clouds hang over the city, it is hard enough to
think about one's own moral behavior without worrying about other
people. The storm is powerful, and I worry that I will be drowned by
the tall evil waves of their cursed filth or my downfall to corruption.
I don't want to say anymore. I am
disgusted and saddened!
-  Blame
The Media (05/19/2006) (Boxun)
According to China Youth Daily, on April 3, the peasant Jiang Shelin in
Hunan province filed suit against the government financial department
"for exceeding budget for reasons such as purchasing luxury cars not
allowable under the regulations." This case received a lot of
attention at the Internet forums.
After filing the lawsuit, Jiang said that he came under a great deal of
pressure. His relatives came to see him and asked him not to cause
"trouble." His cousin, who is a chauffeur at a government
office, showed up personally and claimed to be under personal pressure.
One week later, there was a dramatic scene: after the court declined to hear
the case, the financial department director showed up at Jiang's home with
television crews and newspaper photographers. According to
Jiang, the director admitted: "There has to be some reason for filing a
lawsuit." The director told Jiang that he had come there to hear
the criticisms in person.
But Jiang never expected that the newspaper reporters would actually write:
"When the time of parting came, Jiang held the director's hand, smiled
and said, 'Since I did not understand what was in the budget and I don't
have too much knowledge, I filed a lawsuit without sufficient
investigation. I ask the director not to take this to heart" and
Jiang was incensed!!! He is appealing the court decision, and the
Internet forums are gulping this up ...
-  It's
Only A PR Problem (05/19/2006) From Taipei
Times, in the matter of the financial affairs of the President's
According to a poll released on Tuesday, Chen's approval rating has dropped to a new low of just 5.8 percent. Obviously these allegations are hurting Chen and his government, and subsequently, the legitimacy of the pro-localization movement.
One could call Chao and his family naive, unaware of the effect their personal doings have on Chen. Others might call them idiots for not applying common sense.
Either way, knowing that outsiders are scrutinizing every move made by the members of the first family, not to mention that Chen's political rivals are eager for a chance to attack him, the Chao family should have known better. This incident has given Chen's political opponents more ammunition to attack him.
Since Chien was the one suspected of wrongdoing, she should come forward to tell her story.
The government should also implement damage-control measures. For a start, the Presidential Office should stop simply issuing press statements, and take the time to answer the media's questions concerning the incident on behalf of Chien and her family.
Given the recent spate of events concerning the first family and its associates, perhaps it is time for the Presidential Office to consider hiring a public relations firm to help revamp its much-damaged public image.
-  There
Is No Such Thing As Bad Publicity (05/18/2006) Well, at least
that is what the PR flacks assure you. Believe me, this is not
Imagine that you are the district leader somewhere within Chongqing city,
China. You do your work well, you have your accomplishments but since
when does a district leader ever get nationwide publicity? Then one
day, a tourist came around, became duly impressed with your work, took some
photographs, posted them on People Net with some complimentary (even
superlative) comments and all the portals began to carry them (see, for
Digital News). Here is the last paragraph of the commentary in translation:
Speaking from my heart, this place was
really nice and outstanding. Overall, I don't feel that this is an
office space for the district government. Rather, the government has
borrowed a nature park to conduct its business. After a busy week,
going there to stroll around and take some photographs will let people forget all the annoyances of urban bustle.
So immediately this got played up at Massage
Milk (note: winner of the 2005 Deutsche Welle's Best of Blogs award
for China) which republished the entire post and highlighted the last
paragraph in bold red. The blogger
did not add a word.
Then the exceedingly popular 连岳的第八大洲
(Lian Yue's Eighth Continent)
blog also linked to the NetEase post with a blog title: "This photograph
was really hard to locate" right above a photograph (see below) of the
district party secretary and the district government chief. The blogger
simply said that those two were formidable characters who are in charge of the
world's most awesome district.
In my humble opinion, the above is known as humor/sarcasm with 'a unique Chinese
characteristic.' I mean, you can't possibly send the bloggers away for
10 years of labor reform when all they did was to re-publish a People Net
post? (Related link: Hammer and
Tickle in China)
-  Approval
of Chen Shiu-bian Drops To 5.8% (05/18/2006) The Taipei
Times reports on a new survey conducted by the Taiwan Solidarity
- overall performance of the current administration received a 'failing
grade of 57.5%'
- 5.8% approved President Chen Shui-bian's performance; 88% dissatisfied
- 63% said to be unhappy with government failure to take care of
- 64% said government did not work hard enough to improve economy
- 72% said to be dissatisfied with deteriorating law and order situation
- 73% said average citizen's life is not that good
- 81% said to doubt integrity of government officials
- 90% said Chen Shui-bian should take responsibility for the corruption
cases involving government officials
First of all, I have no idea what that grade of 57.5% means. If it is
one of those "On a scale of 0 to 100, please rate ...," then the
notion of "passing" or "failing" is a figment of
someone's imagination. Banish that thought!
(Apple Daily photograph)
More troubling is the sampling universe. Is this a population survey
(say, of adults in Taiwan)? No, it isn't because the support for Chen
Shui-bian has been hovering just around 30%. This is a survey based
upon 69 civic groups. According to CNA (via Yahoo!
News), the TSU sent out questionnaires to 100 civic groups (which
are non-government organizations with special interests that include
industry, commerce, women, human rights, social community and social
welfare), of which 69 questionnaires were completed and returned. On
what basis? Who
from the organizations completed the question? Does this represent the
organization's or one person's opinions? What do these organizations
represent (other than themselves)? I don't think that anyone knows.
So what do these survey results really mean? I have no idea. If
this were a tracking report (e.g. conducted annually), then I can at least
make some trending comparisons. Instead, this is just an opportunity for
a small group of people to vent their frustrations, but there is no scientific
basis for any general inference.
The survey sponsor is the TSU, which is a pan-green ally. You can
speculate as to why a nominal ally wants to feed this piece of biased negative news to the
P.S. There is a bit of black humor here, as it seems that there was an
open-ended question (see that CNA report). When asked what should be
done in the remaining two years of Chen Shui-bian's term, about 10% said:
"Shut down TVBS." Hehehe ...
-  Don't
Ask Me Who I Am (05/17/2006) The following is the translation
of the statement from Hong Kong's most popular blogger (he is the most
popular (= most widely read) blogger by virtue of the fact that his 'blog
posts' first appear in the free newspaper "am 730", which has a
daily circulation of something like 300,000 copies). Here is the Central
[in translation] Ever since the
Central Blogger column appeared, I have begun to understand what constitutes
pressure. The persistent calls from the editor for my columns were
obviously hard to deal with, but I am even more unaccustomed to various
people inside and outside of Central trying to determine my identity (such
as occupation, age, family background and so on).
Actually, I am using a pen name. I
don't want to use my real name because I want to avoid trouble. I
don't want the outside world to interfere with my writing style, so that I
can share what I know and think honestly with the readers. Recently, I
learned from the "am 730" editorial staff that various
organizations (including government departments and stock market-listed
companies) have been asking "am 730" about my identity. The
publisher Mr. Lo even made it quite clear that when he dined with senior
HSBC officers, the other party took out a copy of the newspaper and asked
him directly. Actually, I had a prior agreement with "am
730" not to divulge my identity. Therefore, I want to ask my
readers once again not to continue to try to find out who I am. But if
any reader has some questions or suggestions, they can still reach me on the
It is a very painful thing for an
investiment columnist to conceal his identity. My friends and
colleagues are often discussing the column, but I can only listen while
saying as little as possible so as not to let slip my identity. In the
investment and finance circles, money is everything. If my friends and
colleagues know who I am, they may someday ask me to write something that I
would not want to. Or if I write some negative comments about some
company, there will definitely be trouble. This is not what I want to
see, and that is why I chose to become an invisible columnist.
... when there is piece of news, the
identity of the writer is insignificant. The most important thing is
whether this is unique and accurate.
-  Counter-Attacking
The Media (05/16/200) If in Rock
Star versus Media, the public seems to feel that media the have maligned
their subjects, then what if the public begins to counter-attack the
media? Here is an excerpt of a MOP
forum post directed against the reporter Zhuo Wei who penned the article
that caused Dou Wei to show up at Beijing News and go ballistic.
1. Zhuo Wei deceived Ding Jiali's mother
into admitting that Ding Jiali had an intimate relationship with Sun
Honglei. When Sun's mother got down her knees to beg Zhuo Wei not to
file false reports, Zhuo Wei refused.
2. Zhuo Wei harrassed the family of Tong
Guoqiang's ex-wife and dug the up background of Tong's divorce as well as
the ex-wife's suicide. Then he penned a long report with a shocking
3. Zhuo Wei harrassed the family of Jet
Li's ex-wife and then used their one-sided explanation to write an essay to
condemn Jet Li for abandoning his wife Huang Qiu-yan.
Not to be outdone, Zhuo Wei's editor Yang
Bingbing also has his own list of famous achievements:
1. In 2001, Yang Bingbing used a single
comment from a single person to come up with the exclusive story:
"Shaolin Soccer" not approved for release in China!
While the story might have rocked China, it was also untrue.
3. At the end of 2002, Yang Bingbing found
out from an "entertainment circle friend" that Zhang Jian and Liu
Pui were getting divorced. He called Zhang Jian, who said: "I
won't confirm this. You can ask Liu Pui." So Yang
immediately published the report that said Zhang Jian has made a
Of course, these counter-attacks will have no
impact if (1) the subjects do not feel any shame and (2) there is no damage to
their professional careers.
-  Validation
(05/16/2006) This is a self-congratulatory comment about the ESWN
blog. Why is this so popular (as in nearly 20,000 page views per
day)? Above all, it is about the instinct to identify and then
translate the most important stories inside China on a near-real-time
basis. The validation may come weeks (or even months) later when
western mainstream media can pick up the story, verify it and present it as news.
I feel good whenever I see that. Oh, no, I will not name anyone or
anything. But if you have been paying careful attention, you will know
what those stories are ...
-  The
Video Clip That Shook Hong Kong (05/16/2006) Actually, I don't
know if it shook all of Hong Kong, but it was enough to hit the front page
Sun with selected photographs.
This is a 2-minute video clip of an incident inside a classroom. From
the uniforms on the students, the school is identified to be Heung To Middle School
(in the Tin Shui Wai district).
In the clip, there was a frail 14-year-old female student who was shaking
and sobbing hysterically next to some storage lockers. Her
classmates did not comfort her. Instead, they made fun of her and
cursed her out. Then the female student lifted her head and complained
that a male student had wrecked her locker. But the accused came up,
poked his finger at her forehead and accused her of doing the act her
herself and making a false accusation afterwards. Immediately, many
fingers showed up from all directions to point to her and voices were
chanting her: "Expel her from school! Expel her from
school!" Then more than a dozen students rushed her and shoved
her out of the classroom.
The Internet reaction against the student mob has been extremely unkind, to
say the least. According to the school authorities, the incident
occurred more than a month ago; they found out and had already taken
Note: When a student was interviewed, he shrugged and said, "Bullying
is commonplace in Tin Shui Wai schools." The reason why this case
is elevated among all others is the existence of the film clip on the
Internet. So this is another instance of the Internet effect.
P.S. There is a blog 天水圍香島中學「校園欺凌」事件
dedicated to this incident.
-  Real
Estate Business Is Not Like Smoke (05/15/2006) This is a
to the 连岳
blogger (Lian Yue's Eighth Continent). The ten items listed here represents the hottest news items
over the past week. The title of the post is difficult to translate --
First of all, this is a play on the book titled by The Past Is Not Like
Smoke by Zhang Yihe (see previous post).
However, the word 'past' has been replaced by the word 'house' because the
items are loosely motivated by the real estate situation in China. But
it is not that easy because "house matters" (房事)
also means sexual
intercourse in Chinese. So this is one of those
Here is the sequence of events:
(1) Guandong province national resources department chief Lin Haokun called
for all potential house buyers to refrain from buying for the next three
years in order to cool down the real estate market;
(2) In response to this call, popular artist Dou Wei went to live in the
public security bureau's detention center (see Rock
Star versus Media);
(3) In order to coordinate with mainland Chinese policies, Communist mole
Annette Lu (Taiwan's vice-president) proposed that direct cross-strait
flights should not be allowed in order to stop Taiwanese business men from
taking mistresses in China, thus depressing the demand for additional housing there;
(4) The real estate expert known for rationality, professor Yu Qiuyu, said:
"This causes people pain." (note: Writer/critic Yu was a judge on
a televised singing contest and he used those words to describe the
performance of a contestant);
(5) Actually, the person who is really in pain is the Promise Real Estate Group
general manager Chen Hong. (note: Chen Hong is the producer of the movie The
Promise directed by her husband Chen Kaige);
(6) Since no one is buying houses, the Promise Real Estate Group's property
known as The Cherry Estates located at a certain scenic site in Yunnan
province is an uncompleted project (note: see The Promise in Shangri La);
(7) Since no one else wants to take over, the unfinished Cherry Estates
resulted in huge damages to the local ecology. Of course, that is
another story for later on.
(8) Learning from the lesson of The Promise, Golden Armor Real Estate group
chairman Zhang Yimou has decided to expand overseas instead; (note: News
from Zhang Yimou's new film Golden Armor this week indicates that it is even
more extravagant than The Promise)
(9) At this moment, Zhang Yimou received a telegraph from the United Nations
-- the North Korean market is in a state of starvation;
(10) So the widow of Mao Anying (the son of Mao Zedong died during the
fighting in the Korean War) is hurrying over to North Korea to hold a
memorial ceremony for her late husband ...
-  Entertainment vs. Political News in China (05/15/2006)
Recently, there were two entertainment-related posts here: Rock
Star versus Media and Photographer
Passes On Faye Wong's Baby Photo. Without my ever saying anything,
it should be clear that my sympathies lie with the celebrities who are being
hounded by the media, which are highly competitive and will do anything to
get that exclusive sensational story (whether it is true or not).
There are political implications from this phenomenon. In China, we
all know that there has been a schizophrenic approach to news
reporting. On one side, news reporting about entertainment, sports and
society has been virtually opened up to the free market. Anything
goes. On the other side, political news reporting is still closed.
Given what is happening to entertainers, do you believe that politicians
should be covered in the same fashion? On one hand, there is the
argument that the media would be performing its function as the fourth
estate in terms of oversight, superivision and monitoring. On the
other hand, there is the opposite argument from empirical obsevations that
the media would only be interested in hyping the worst aspects (true or not)
in the interests of maximizing audience levels and arousing public emotions,
irrespective of the objective circumstances and public interests.
So ... do you think that the media should scour Hu Jintao's hotel room after
the state visit for used condoms? The lack of confidence in
an unequivocal answer to this question provides support for the continuation of restraints on
What happens elsewhere in the world? In the United States, we get
information on which parties the Bush twins attended and how drunk they were
or we get some innuendoes about Chelsea Clinton's sexual preferences.
But it is also true that we get dark hints about what might have happened at
the poker parties that former CIA director Porter Goss attended and so
on. Personally, I think that Bush Twins and even Porter Goss can do
whatever they want on their own time and the real story is that the media
won't cover what was obviously going on politically.
In Taiwan, we get detailed hourly reports about the bowel movements of the
First Lady, and the source is none other than the Presidential Office
itself. I am sure that nobody really thinks that he/she needs to know
that. But it is also true that we get reports about how the
President's son-in-law's mother is apparently a much better stock investor
than Warren Buffet. Still, on the balance, it seems 'inefficient' in
terms of governance when legislators can hold daily press conferences to
launch unsubstantiated accusations one after another which may not get
resolved until years later in the court system. Is this media
oversight, or political paralysis?
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Anson Chan is complaining about being smeared by
the pro-Beijing media. Well, she has seen nothing yet compared to what
will happen if she announces that she intends to vie for the Chief Executive
position. If people can make fun of current Chief Executive Donald
Tsang's fondness for goldfish and everything else, then why should Anson
Chan be exempt from innuendos with respect to her brother's involvement in
the sordid Annie Pang affair and whatever else that can be dredged up,
rightly or wrongly so? There is nothing that says sticking a label of
'democrat' on your forehead makes you exempt from personal
Does free press mean anything goes? That is my question.
-  Ten
Most Absurdist Regulations in China (05/15/2006) From NetEase,
here is an item that has generated a great deal of mirth among the netizens:
(1) Heshan/Ziyang districts, Yiyang city, Hunan province educational
department: "Elementary and secondary school teachers are prohibited
from molesting female students." (note: molesting underage minors
is a felony already)
(2) Scenic site, Longchi town, Chengdu city, Sichuan province: Rules of
conduct for the monkeys in the wilderness: "You must be polite; you
must be civilized; you must not harrass tourist; you must not disturb the
tourists (especially female tourists)." (note: this needs to be
translated into monkey language)
(3) Jiangsu province administrative regulations for temporary residents:
"Unmarried men and women must not cohabit in the same residential
unit" (note: no exemptions for father-daughter, mother-son,
(4) Hunan province public servant qualification: "Female public
servants must have symmetrical breasts." Twenty percent of
applicants passed the written and oral examinations, but were eliminated by
this requirement last year. (note: there is no requirement for
symmetrical testicles in male public servants)
(5) Sichuan provincial government: "Male leaders are not allowed to
have female secretaries" because a male leader and a female secretary
may lead to issues about "personal conduct, thereby resulting in
corruption, dereliction of duty and damage to national interests."
(6) "Customs officers must not protect smuggling." (note:
what did you say the Custom Service exists for? prevent smuggling?)
(7) Harbin city public security bureau order: "All militia police
officers with waistlines thicker than 31 inches shall be dismissed."
(note: nothing said about your height, though. And would thick-waisted
martial artist Sammo Hung be
agile and strong enough to be a police officer?)
(8) Sichuan province: "The twelve ways of walking which shall be
penalized." Including not walking in a straight line,
accelerating when a car approaches, reversing direction midway, walking two
abreast down a road, etc.
(9) Ankong city, Shaanxi province, August 2004: "Public funds must not
be spent on mahjong gambling." (Note: public funds must not be
spent on anything unrelated to public reasons already, and it should not require a
red-lettered important document to state the obvious unless this was
actually prevalent behavior).
(10) Audit Department, Weifang City, Shandong province: "Driving a
motor vehicle after imbibing alcohol is strictly prohibited."
What is the penalty? "Violaters will be criticized and warned by
written notice; the more serious cases will result in demerits, transfe DUI
("drinking under the influence"), isn't this double jeopardy?)
-  The
Dirty War (05/14/2006) As we approach the 2006 FIFA World Cup,
it will do with some fond memories of the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.
From All's fair in dirty war game
by Gary Sutherland, The Scotsman (and you should read the whole thing):
It was to the Argentina dressing room
[military dictator General] Videla marched after the match. Defender Alberto Tarantini wasn't impressed. Friends of his had disappeared in the Dirty War. He told his captain, Daniel Passarella: "I'll bet you a thousand dollars that if Videla comes in I'll rub soap all over my balls and when he comes up to me I'll shake his hand". The wager was struck. "Videla came to meet us," recalls Tarantini, "while I'm soaping my balls, and he had to shake hands with me, with photographers there. Then he pulled a face! It was all very funny but I had to go abroad and play after that. I'm very proud of what I did and I don't regret it. I did not agree at all with what they were doing."
-  Early
Morning Exercise in Beijing (05/13/2006) From Sohu.com,
someone took this picture from a Beijing apartment window after the
following loud conversation was heard early in the morning:
"Whose car is parked so poorly here? Move it out of here
"Is this your own parking lot? Why do I have to move it for
"How can you talk that way? Do you have eyes on your head?"
"What do you talk so much trash? What are you bullshitting
And then World War III broke out ...
-  People's
Commune (05/13/2006) Apple
Daily (HK) has a special feature story about this bookstore in the
Causeway Bay area, right across the huge Times Square shopping mall. In
2002, Paul started a bookstore that sold mainland Chinese books. In
2003, he merged with the coffee shop next door and named the new facility:
People's Commune with a logo that combined Mao Zedong's head with the five
This setup attracted a great deal of wariness from mainland Chinese
visitors. Apart from those who spit at it, others come in and ask:
"Do you support the Cultural Revolution? Do you like the People's
In order to attract mainland visitors, Paul brought in some banned (that is,
in mainland China) books. "Several visitors asked if I had The
Later Years Of Zhou Enlai. I hadn't even heard of it at the time,
so I went around looking for it immediately." Paul said that
there is a huge thirst/hunger for banned political books among
mainlanders. "Once, a magazine presented The Twelve Springs
and Autumns, and someone called from the mainland the next day to ask
for the book. We did not even have time to order the books yet."
At first, there was only one shelf for the banned political books. Now
there are two shelves, with more than 200 titles. This is the top
place for banned political books in Hong Kong.
-  Spoof
Photographs (05/13/2006) In the case of The
Most Famous Pervert in China, there is a confirmed photograph of the
principal male character:
From the game forum at MOP, here comes a bunch of spoof photographs based
upon obvious characters.
-  Contemporary Chinese Vocabulary
(05/12/2006) By the way, I update back pages without notice. For
one thing, if you are interested in the Andrew Kissel case, a lot has been
happening over here.
More significantly, this page about Contemporary
Chinese Vocabulary has just received a rush of pageviews.
Note: Ability to read Chinese is required here, but even if you think that
you do, you may be shocked at what you don't know ... Well, I was.
-  The
Great Escape (05/12/2006) (Xinhua Net via Wenxue
City) On May 9, a man was spotted trying to steal an outdoor
air conditioner from an office in Suzhou, China. He tried to escape by
diving into a sewerage pipe, whereupon he was stuck. A police officer
had to climb down the well and extract him. The man was sent first to
the hospital for a medical check-up.
-  Political
Commentary (05/11/2006) In an Apple
Daily (Taiwan) interview with the established writer Chen Yuhang (陳雨航),
he spoke about this encounter with the political commentators:
Q. What is the difference between blogging
and publishing in the supplement section of newspapers?
A: In the past, when I published a book or
in a newspaper, reader feedback comes through the editor which may be days,
weeks or even months afterwards. But Internet reader feedback is
direct. I push the button to publish, and the netizens will have
immediate feedback. For someone who has been writing for decades, this
is a fresh feeling. But I am a traditionalist and I act familiar only
with people that I know. I cannot get too close to netizens that I
don't know, so I will only respond to the direct questions from netizens.
I don't care about hit rates. My blog
articles are principally about reading, essays and novellas, unlike Chang Shi-Kuo
sometimes touches politics and other hot topics. But I was reading the
news about how Taiwan airplanes can now overfly mainland Chinese airspace to
Europe and elsewhere and EVA was the first one. This made me think
about the first Taiwan surveillance airplane pilot Chen Huai-sheng who flew
over Chinese airspace and died in the line of duty, and so I wrote "Do
you remember Chen Huai-sheng." After the essay was published, the
reception was enthusiastic. Although there was not a hint of politics
in the essay, it created an Internet battle among netizens from different
political stances. Later I realized that certain netizens are only
interested in politics. They like to expound on their own viewpoints
at great length while criticizing and attacking the other side. They
don't really care what your blog post is about. They just post their
same set of comments everywhere.
-  Despoiling
Shangri-La (05/11/2006) Chen Kaige's movie The Promise
debuts in the United States. Meanwhile, in China, the State Environmental Protection Administration
announces that it will study the environmental damage caused by the movie at
its Yunnan location (see Shanghai
Daily). But this story
has been around for such a long time (see the translated Nanfengchuang
report dated August 24, 2005). So the timing is so unlikely
that the two events seemed to be synchronized, although it is speculative as
to whether this was intended to do the movie a favor or disfavor.
-  S.O.T.
(05/11/2006) The latest hit Internet term is "S.O.T."
The term has its origin in this well-publicized China
Times report about Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's travel plans.
According to a senior official, the
American side gave no room for negotiation and high-handedly restricted the
president from passing through continental United States and allowed only a
five hour transit in Honolulu or Anchorage. "If we really agree
to this, we will be national sinners." Against KMT chairman's Ma
Ying-jeou's assertion that only returning through Alaska will bring
US-Taiwan relationships back to normal, a senior official disagreed and
said: "Do you want us to be the 'son of turtle' of the United
It is believed that the unnamed senior
official is National Security Council Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁)
that some China hands in the United States are wondering just how the term
"son of turtle" can be translated in English. People close to
the Bush administration are saying the term is too harsh and may cause even
more unhappiness among senior American officials.
How to translate "son of turtle"? A turtle is a cuckold, and
therefore the son of a turtle is a bastard child. ETTV
reports a Taiwan parliamentary debate in which it was said that "son of
turtle" should be just "S.O.T." in like manner that "son
of a bitch" is "S.O.B." BOC pointed out that
"S.O.T." is also "Son of Taiwan" (usually personally
identified with Chen Shui-bian) so that an unfortunate
consequence of this will be the linkage or equivalence of the two terms.
This is an unintended result.
Do the Americans care? According to United
Daily News, a US State Department official joked to the reporters:
"How can you write so much about just three words 龜兒子?"
The official pronounced the Chinese words and this means that the Americans
know exactly what was said.
Here is a turtle-related photograph (from ETTV),
in which people are writing the words 滾蛋
on photographs of US President George W. Bush. 滾蛋
is literally "roll the egg" and it means "Scram" or
"Beat it!" (Note: As a curious cultural fact, the translation
of the White House Easter Egg Roll in Chinese is usually 白宮復活節'滾蛋'
where it is usually necessary to put in the apostrophes to show that it does
not have the traditional meaning)
Related post: The
Battle of the Turtle Eggs - Feminists versus Naturalists
-  Journalists'
Language (05/10/2006) Here is a subtle point about something
that is happening in Chinese news reports. This is noted in a letter
to the editor of Southern
Some years ago, I was trying to learn
English and I listened to BBC on shortwave radio. The radio service
usually have some reports on natural or manmade disasters. The stories
may be different, but all the reports always included after the number of
casualties: "including XX women and children."
It seems that this approach is not
"news" anymore because women and children are not
"attractive" anymore for readers' eyeballs. By comparison,
Chinese reporters seemed to have become better trained." For
example, during the May 1st golden week, there are many stories of tourists
in trouble and the national media were able to discover and highlight the
selling points of the news: "13 university studies stuck in Mongolian
desert with 40 other tourists"; "three Peking/Tsinghua university
students dead in Yunnan." Even the national-level news agency
report included language such as "Among the six dead, one was a Peking
University student and the remaining are ordinary tourists." This
sentence was overdone and caused readers to immediately wonder: "So the
Peking University student is not an 'ordinary tourist'?"
Obviously, university students are rarer
than women and children in the population, so they qualify to be news
attractions. But the problem is about what else the news is supposed to
express beyond the factual descriptions and the points of emphasis?
When overseas media emphasize women and children, it may seem commonplace
and repetitious, but it reflects a certain moral responsibility for the
media. They remind people that women and children are more vulnerable
and they deserve sympathy, concern and assistance in disasters. In
overseas disasters, there is likely to be scenes in which "women and
children leave first" and this is the more or less related to the media
messages. Inside China, we have not yet seen "university students
leave first," but "the leaders leave first" is a true event.
The media should not be a purely commercial
organization. They cannot remember only "selling points" and
"commercial opportunities." At a time when ethics and
morality leave a lot to be desired, the media should remember their
responsibility when they write their reports.
-  Andy
Lau Is Dead -- Once Again (05/10/2006) At the Aside
blog, there is a photo of a vendor selling the illegal Legal Star
with a front page that screamed "Top Chinese actor Andy Lau dead at age
45." The blogger noted that two people in the photograph
(including the woman in green) purchased the newspaper. More here
Legal News in China.
Here, I am frustrated at the lack of imagination of the publishers of these
illegal newspapers. While I appreciate their sense of humor (as in
including the word "Legal" in the variations of their very illegal
newspapers), they seemed to be stuck on the groove and keep re-cycling the same
old news. Don't they realize that Andy Lau cannot keep dying for their
cause? When I grow up, I want to be their headline story writer
because I have had extensive training. You ask, from where? The
WWF. No, this is not the World Wildlife Fund. It is the the
World Wrestling Federation, because professional wrestling is all about
tight scripting that must shock and awe every week. I am confident
that I can keep you buying my fake news reports even though you know it is
fake because it will be fake in an interesting and surprising way ...
-  Sandstorms
Are Good (05/09/2006) (Chengdu Evening News via QQ):
[in translation] "Putting aside
the effect on people, sandstorms have its special functions in nature.
Sandstorms can clean up the environment and bring nutrients to the
oceans," so said Wang Rusong, an ecology expert at the Chinese Academy
When one conjures up sandstorms, one thinks
about not being able to open one's eyes and being covered with dust all
over. People tend to think that sandstorms are caused by environmental
destruction. Actually, sandstorms have existed for a long time.
There are two causes: one is natural and the other is man-made environmental
damage. ... When the sand comes down, the other particles in the
atmosphere come as well and therefore air becomes cleaner. The sand
also contains many mineral elements which could bring a lot of nutrients to
the living organisms in oceans.
With a backdrop of sandstorms battering
Beijing, Professor Wang was untactful enough to praise the good points about
sandstorms. This contrarian approach was no doubt the reason why
Professor Wang has been receiving "bricks" at Internet forums as
well as critical comments in mainstream media. Here is a comment at Southern
Metropolis Daily by Zhang Ruoyu (张若渔):
I am willing to treat this as a conflict
between "factual determination" and "value
judgment." Without doubt, sandstorms are subjectively regarded by
people as "bad things" and this is a value judgment.
"The good thing about sandstorms" is a determination of facts, and
cannot be altered as a result of the people's will. The ordinary
social psychology is that value judgments usually rule over all else and
obstruct the implications of the factual determination. Unfortunately,
under the influence of this either/or social psychology, people cannot
tolerate anyone expressing even a tiny piece of dissident opinion about
something that they have already concluded to be "bad."
-  The
Hegemony of Names (05/09/2006) This begins with a statement
from a well-known blogger/commentator Fu Guoyong (傅国涌).
and elsewhere, Fu complained that someone has been publishing articles under
the name of Fu Guoyong, including possibly libelous charges against
"sex fiend" professors at Fudan University and an open letter to
KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou. Fu Guoyong tehrefore condemned the person
who assumed his name.
This drew a comment from Liu Yiming (刘逸明).
Liu wondered if there could be another person named Fu Guoyong out of the
1.3 billion people in China. If so, then why does this particular Fu
Guoyong think that he owns sole rights? Why did Boxun delete those
articles by that other Fu Guoyong?
Out of 1.3 billion people in China, how many are named Li Hong (李紅)
or Wang Jun (王軍)?
Which one of them shall take priority?
Meanwhile, what about EastSouthWestNorth? Well, there is the EastSouthWestNorth
channel, the EastWestSouthNorth
forum and EastWestSouthNorth
Commerce already. I am not complaining ...
-  Vision
Bookcafe (05/09/2006) While visiting my lawyer today, I passed
my Joint Publishing Bookstore in Central, Hong Kong Island.
There, I was surprised to find that they have a new floor known as Vision
Bookcafe. So maybe this is another one of those cafes where
you buy a cup of coffee and you can spend the whole afternoon reading their
books for free. So what? Hmmm ... the difference is that this is
a bookstore that specializes on journalism, media and communications.
The website says that they have collected more than 2,000 titles already (in
Chinese and English). What should I do? Rent a truck and haul
everything back to my apartment?
-  How
Free Is Your Press? (05/08/2006) The following story is a test
of how open your society (or your favorite newspaper) is. How likely
is the following Apple
Daily (Taiwan) story to be published (with illustration)?
(In Chinese) Headline: 男遭虐 逼灌尿 舔狗屌.
Partial description: 賴嫌等人逼迫劉姓被害人脫光衣服，以童軍繩、電線綁住手腳，逼迫劉喝賴嫌的尿、舔一隻流浪公狗生殖器、以噴燈燒手，還潑灑去漬油點火燒傷左小腿，並輪流以徒手、棍棒、Ｔ字扳手、鐵椅、衣架等毆打劉的頭部、背部、手部，劉一度被打到昏厥。
(In English) Headline: Man
tortured. Forced to drink urine and lick dog prick. Partial
description: Suspects Lai and others forced victim Liu to strip and
then tied his hands and feet together with boy scout ropes and electric
wires. They forced Liu to drink Lai's urine and to lick the
reproductive organ of a stray male dog. They used a lantern to burn
his hand, they poured oil on his lower left leg and set it on fire.
They took turns hitting Liu on the head, back and arms with their bare hands,
stick, crossbar, iron chair, coathanger and so on. At one point, Liu
passed out from the beating.
You have the right to know. But do you think that you
need/want to know all this?
-  An
Apology To Paul Gillis (05/08/2006) The explanation is given
by Dan Washburn at Shanghaiist.
This blogger has responsiblity too and must apologize as well. But how will the millions of page views on Chinese forums be
recalled or clarified?
-  Leaking
State Secrets (05/08/2006) (Wenxue
City) So Taiwan KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou visits Singapore and
goes to a historical site whence he wrote a guest note. Unfortunately,
he made an error (瞻养
instead of 瞻仰)
which he immediately detected himself. So someone brought out some
correction fluid. There was a long wait for the correction fluid to
dry (including applying tissues and whiffing with a fan) before the
correction was made.
So what? Who cares? In another country in another time (and you know which
country and the time is now), this could be
'leaking state secrets' and very much punishable by extreme measures ...
-  How
The Media Covered A Traffic Accident in China (05/08/2006) (XYS.org)
On April 30, there was a traffic accident in which a bus fell down a cliff
in 'Shangri La', Yunnan province, China. A number of people were
killed. So what? One of them was a Peking University female
student named Ye Jianying. All of a sudden, she became the focus of
some media reports (and the hell with other passengers!). The
following is a translation of a letter from a roommate of Ye Jianying:
Yesterday afternoon a tall thin and dark
female student came to our dormitory building. She claimed to be a
classmate of Ye Jianying and she had taken the train for nine hours from
Harbin to see Little Ying. At the time, we thought that this was
abrupt and so we told her that Little Ying was away. She said that she
came early to give Little Ying a surprise. At the time, we thought
that this was awkward. She said that she was unable to make contact
with Little Ying but it would be just as well to get the telephone number of
Little Ying's boyfriend. We thought that she was hapless and so we
found a room for her over the Internet.
She said that it was still early and she
had nothing to do. So we took pity on her and let her hang around the
When she came up, she talked a little bit
and then she took out a camera and began taking photographs. We
thought that this was not a good thing but we did not refuse on account of
the fact that she was Little Ying's classmate.
Afterwards, she began to talk to us about
Little Ying. The questions were all personal in nature. Soon,
she saw that we did not like her. She went downstairs to buy some
fruits and returned to chat with us again. Then she left soon
Afterwards, she sent us an SMS to say that
she was moved and she was sending this SMS to us with tears in her
eyes. We were perplexed.
This morning, we learned that Little Ying
was dead. We searched for the news on the Internet and we found out
that Sina.com and Huaxia Times both reported about Little Ying. We
The deliberate attempt to deceive us and
sold out our sentiments in order to attract eyeballs was outrageous.
We demand a public apology! The dead has passed on, but the survivors
would like to see her leave in peace. There is no need to ask anymore.
Little Ying's dormitory mates are now
emotionally distraught. We are publicizing the facts so that everybody
After this Huaxia reporter Ju Dongzhe used
this underhanded method to extract the information that she need, she
immediately wrote the report titled "Peking University female student
died in Shangri-La." In the report, she showed photographs of Ye
Jianying and her boyfriend, which she stealthily took while she was in the
The reporter Ju Dongzhe did something
completely against the principles of journalistic ethics and destroyed the
minimal conscience of journalists. Even more infuriating is the fact
that she did so with the approval of the editors at Huaxia Times. In a
personal blog, the Huaxia Times editor boasted about how they were able to
beat Beijing Times and Beijing News in the coverage of this traffic accident
and how they were able to win on the aspect of "human
emotions." We also noted that it was not just Ju Dongzhe alone,
because there was a male reporter named Wu Peng who went into the Tsinghua
University student dormitory. Therefore, we note that Huaxia Times'
slogan "Humanism is Strength" is exactly opposite to humanism.
Related Link: The Huaxia Times Debate
-  The
Santa Claus From Taiwan (05/07/2006) The Apple
Daily headline was "The Santa Claus from Taiwan" in
reference to the USD 457.2 million that Taiwan has provided to Paraguay in
aid in recent years (as estimated by Asunción newspaper Última Hora).
Meanwhile, back in Taiwan, Apple Daily ran an instant poll (small sample
(331 respondents); suspect methodology (automated telephone system) with an
extremely rude phrasing. The question was "Concerning the
diplomatic model between Taiwan and Paraguay, do you consider this to be:
- 63%: Idiot's foreign diplomacy (凱子外交)
- 25%: Breaking through the difficult situation (為突破困境)
- 12%: Don't know/no opinion
-  How
To Kidnap For Ransom (05/07/2006) (MediaChina)
Recently, a 4,000-word post titled "Free Lessons in Kidnapping
Techniques" appeared at the MOP forum. The writer claimed to have
studied many kidnapping cases in terms of their techniques and the
subsequent police investigations and has therefore developed some
understanding. The post describes the preparations, target selection,
contacting the family for ransom, holding the prisoner and so on. For
example, on the ransom amount: "I recommend that you ask for not more
than 500,000 RMB because this amount is usually acceptable to the victim and
the police. It is absurd for people to demand 3 million RMB.
Based upon how banks operate in China, there is no way to withdraw 3
million. This very high amount will cause you to lose the opportunity
to negotiate and make the police more resolute."
Among the comments, one person said that he presently studying outside but
will return to Luzhou during the week of May 1st; therefore, if the writer
lives in Luzhou and is interested, he would like to pull off a job together
(contact phone number 2244****). Meanwhile, the writer himself was
recruiting two colleagues with these qualifications: males, IQ not less than
174, age 24-29, physically strong, fluent putonghua, willing to obey orders,
able to handle things independently, no violent tendencies, no girlfriends,
contact QQ32353***. Finally, one other commentator noted that this
writer has probably become a person of interest to the police.
-  That
Fake Ferrari (05/06/2006) Remember the fake Ferrari that EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini
alleged was made in China? (see Comment
At the time, I commented: "
As you might expect, this was enough to send the 'human flesh search
engines' at the Chinese forums buzzing. If they can hunt down one
female cat torturer in a population of 1.3 billion, how hard is it to locate
one red Ferrari allegedly somewhere in the vicinity of Shanghai?"
It turns out that Frattini was making a Rumsfeld-like statement to the
effect that he knows where the Ferrari is -- near Shanghai, east, south,
Here is a progress report on the search (via Wenxue
City). The most obvious source would be the initial provider
of the information -- EU. However, an EU spokesperson said that they
have no further information as they have shown everything at the press
conference (namely, that one photograph). So where did the photograph
come from? EU said that it was provided by an organization known as
the Federation of Car Constructors. However, EU declined to provide
contact information for that organization and the reporters have not been
able to find out anything about it. EU also said that it has no
intention to investigate any further.
What does Ferrari say? First, Ferrari made a correction.
Frattini had said that there were six Ferrari 330P4's made in 1967 and the
one in the photograph is the seventh one which was made in China.
Ferrari said that only four 330P4's were made. So Frattini was
factually inaccurate already. Next, Ferrari spokesperson Mina Piccinini
said that the fake Ferrari "most likely came from Thailand."
When the reporter asked whether EU was wrong in saying that the car came
from China, the reply was: "I can only tell you that after
investigation, the fake Ferrari most likely came from Thailand."
Ferrari will release more detailed information when available.
Meanwhile, the 'human flesh search engines' in Shanghai or anywhere else in
China are coming up empty. This is one instance in which mainstream
media beat them. The MOP forum users do not have the ability to call
up EU or Ferrari spokespersons at will. Of course, they also won't be
able to find a non-existent Ferrari in Shanghai.
-  Approval
Ratings (05/06/2006) So the AP/Ipsos poll (via LA
Times) say: "Just 33 percent of the public approves of Bush's job performance, the lowest of his presidency."
Well, who cares? The voters elected him in 2004 and they are stuck
with him for the next four years. There isn't anything that they can do
about him anyway (note: there is impeachment but the legislative branch is
dominated by Bush's Republican party and therefore extremely unlikely to
pursue this option).
Besides, it makes no difference because elected officials do not care about
public opinion during their term (unless they are working to get
re-elected). As an example, here is the 'satisfaction poll' for Taiwan
politicians by TVBS
(dated April 18, 2006):
70% Ma Ying-jeou
54% Wang Jing-pyng
54% Lian Chan
44% Su Tseng-chang
40% Frank Hsieh
30% Yu Shyi-kun
29% Annette Lu
23% Lee Teng-hui
21% James Soong
13% Chen Shui-bian
It does not matter because the members of the president's party will not
vote to impeach because it affects their own individual and party
interests. Anyway, Bush has a long way to go before falling down to
-  Baike
on May 4th (05/05/2006) At InMediaHK,
Syaoran noted this entry in Baidu's Baike encyclopedia:
[in translation] On November 11, 1918
the four-year-long First World War ended with the victory of England, United
States, France and other countries and the defeat of Germany, Austria and
others. In January, 1919, the victorious alliance held a peace
conference at the Versailles Palace in Pari. The People's
Republic of China attended the conference as a victorious
country. The representative of the People's
Republic of China proposed to eliminate the special privileges of
others nations in China, the 21 articles and other proper requests, but he
was refused. The conference actually decided that Japan will take over
all of Germany's privileges inside China. The representative of the People's
Republic of China was actually prepared to sign and accept this
treaty that would be a national shame as well as a loss of rights.
When the news arrived home, the entire country was irate. The May 4th
patriotic movement led by the students erupted like a volcano.
The problem here is that the People's
Republic of China was founded officially in 1949. The English-language
Wikipedia entry on May Fourth uses the term "Beiyang
government" while the Chinese-language Wikipedia uses the term 北京政府
(Beijing government). The Baike entry is not only factually challenged, but it
is actually damaging to the image of the People's Republic of China. You
want to take credit for the good things but not for the bad things. And
this entry showed how stupid and craven the representatives of the
"People's Republic of China" were in 1918.
Syaoran noted that this entry had gone through editorial review and still
ended this way. There are now more than 70,000 entries in Baike, already
more than the Chinese-language Wikipedia. More is not necessarily
better, as this example shows.
-  How
Reporters Work (05/05/2006) This is a report from China Times
City) about how reporters have to do to figure out what was happening with
the trip by Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian to Paraguay/Costa Rica. It
just goes to show that one has to read the signs behind what was being said
by people and to make sure that the right question is being posed.
At 12:40am May 4, the US State Department
spokesman said that "the understanding is that Chen Shui-bian will
transit through Anchorage on the round trip between Paraguay/Costa Rica and
At about the same time, the Taiwan official
representative in the United States, David Lee, and others were preparing to
head for Washington DC's National Airport to head towards Alaska. The
AIT director Raymond Burghardt (normally based in Haiwaii but was in
Washington DC on account of the matter of Chen Shui-bian's transit through
the United States) was also heading towards the airport.
At around 1:10am, David Lee received a
telephone call from Taipei in his car and learned that Chen has decided to
cancel his transit through Alaska. So he notified the United States
quickly and then he turned his car around to head back to the office.
At that time, the media still did not know
that there was such a big change in events. Our reporter was booking
an airplane ticket to Anchorage. During the booking, he found out that
there was something fishy going on, because his friend at the airlines said
cryptically: "Do you need to go to Alaska? Think about
it!" The reporter repeatedly questioned the friend, who declined
to elaborate because this was confidential information.
In retrospect, when David Lee and others
turned the car around, they notified the airlines to cancel their
tickets. Therefore, this friend was the first to learn about the
change in plan for Chen Shui-bian's trip. But he could not say so
directly, so the reporter had to find other means to check.
At the time, the official agency's
information was that the transit issue had not changed. For example,
an American official stated clearly: "That's correct. Chen
Shui-bian wants to transit through Anchorage twice. This is the
information that we have." When the reporter called the friend at
the airlines again, the other party still refused to yield the confidential
information. The reporter finally asked: "Let me put it this way
then. If I don't go to Alaska today, will I be sorry?" The
friend said in English: "No!"
At 2:10pm, the State Department's East Asia
Bureau telephoned the Taiwan reporters based in Washington DC with a brief
message that Chen Shui-bian will not be transiting through Anchorage.
At that moment, our newspaper was already being printed. But due to
the importance of this piece of news, we confirmed the the information and
then stopped the presses, redid the page and started printing all over
-  East
South West North (05/05/2006) Somehow, this blog gets
connected to US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Two years ago,
on May 4, 2003, Rumsfeld was interviewed on television:
STEPHANOPOULOS: And is it curious to you that given how much control U.S. and coalition forces now have in the country, they haven’t found any weapons of mass destruction?
SEC. RUMSFELD: …We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.
Yesterday, in Atlanta, Rumsfeld was once
against asked about east, west, south and north (see Think
Progress for the video and transcript):
QUESTION: So I would like to ask you to be up front with the American people, why did you lie to get us into a war that was not necessary, that has caused these kinds of casualties? why?
RUMSFELD: Well, first of all, I haven’t lied. I did not lie then. Colin Powell didn’t lie. He spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence Agency people and prepared a presentation that I know he believed was accurate, and he presented that to the United Nations. the president spent weeks and weeks with the central intelligence people and he went to the american people and made a presentation.
I’m not in the intelligence business. they gave the world their honest opinion. it appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there.
QUESTION: You said you knew where they were.
RUMSFELD: I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were and –
QUESTION: You said you knew where they were Tikrit, Baghdad, north, east, south, west of there. Those are your words.
RUMSFELD: My words — my words were that — no, no, wait a minute, wait a minute. Let him stay one second. Just a second.
QUESTION: This is America.
RUMSFELD: You’re getting plenty of play, sir.
QUESTION: I’d just like an honest answer.
RUMSFELD: I’m giving it to you.
-  The
Biases of Google PageRank (05/04/2006) This is peripherally
related to English blogposts no longer the largest plurality?
by Ethan Zuckerman. The details of Google's PageRank algorithm have
not been disclosed fully (rightly so, because some people will definitely
exploit it otherwise). Pursuant to a recent conversation, I decided to
check the PageRank of a number of well-known and/or related websites, and
this is the ecology according to Google.
I will note the following:
Most Popular Chinese Blogger Xu Jinglei gets a PageRank of 5 (see China
Word of Mouth Blog).
- The top-rated Chinese blogger according to the Deutsche Welle Best of Blogs
Competition is Massage Milk, who gets a zero PageRank. Obviously,
Google does not cover his blog service provider Yculblog (note: Milk Pig is
also hosted at Yculglog).
- The immensely popular Chinese forums (MOP and Tianya) get PageRanks of
5/4. They deserve at least an 8, in my book.
- According to BlogShare,
the highest valuated blog that links to ESWN is the Chinese freelance writer 连岳的第八大洲,
who is linked to by more than 3,000 other blogs but it gets a PageRank of only
- English-language Taipei Times is tied with Chinese-language People Daily and the mainland
Chinese portals and ahead of Chinese-language Apple Daily, China Times,
United Daily News, etc, a total reversal of market positions. This is
an English-language bias.
- SCMP.com.hk is at 4 compared to The Standard at 7, which is a reversal of
their market positions. Blame the subscription-only nature of SCMP.
I would like to tell that you should not take the PageRank too seriously --
except that it will affect your position on Google search results! You
can look up your Google PageRank here.
P.S. Oops, I did it again. Today's brief comment is longer than the
blog post ...
-  7:17
(05/03/2006) As noted by Kalos
Kagathos, there was something strange about 7:17am, April 26,
According to Ming Pao (via Yahoo!
News), at 7:17am on this day in Shau Kei Wan district (Hong Kong
island), a 34-year-old topless female climbed out onto the ledge of the 13th
floor of the building. The fire department arrived in five minutes,
and a fireman climbed down on a rope to pull her back into the apartment.
In the same story, it was also stated that at 7:17am on this day in Ma On
Shan district (New Territories), a 32-year-old totally nude female jumped
out of her apartment window and killed herself.
What is so special about 7:17am? Was this an amazing
coincidence? Or did Ming Pao employed literary license to
In the first story, it was unclear about when the female got out. The
7:17am may be the time when the emergency service telephone operator
received the call, and the incident itself began some time ago with a
heated quarrel between the female and the boyfriend. Furthermore, the
event also lasted a few minutes afterwards before the fireman effected the
rescue. So 7:17am was just one moment within an episode that lasted
quite a few minutes.
In the second story, nobody actually saw or heard the female jumping.
All the other newspapers reported "around 7am." Again, the
7:17am may be the time when the emergency service telephone operator
received the call.
So maybe there there wasn't a really precise coincidence after all.
But it made for a good read within a single story that covered both
-  About
Maohair (05/02/2006) There is an obviously
problem with a blog post like The Chinese Photojournalist Maohair.
If I just post the photographs and say nothing, people may say things like:
"Oh, it's just a bunch of photographs from road accidents. Who
gives a sh*t except for people who enjoy blood and gore?" Those
kinds of statements may offend people inside China.
I was being reticent when I posted those photographs. Out of the 50
photographs, only about 1/3 had anything that can be connected to traffic
accidents. To my mind, the singlemost important photograph for people
in mainland China might be this one with the caption "
A survivor from the Mengjiagou mining disaster":
What is the big deal? I ask you to read the previous post The
Ruzhou Mining Disasters. Information about media disasters are
reguarly restricted either by police prohibition of news gathering, or
direct payoffs of media workers to keep silent. At the Mengjiagou
mining disaster, the photojournalist Maohair got through the police cordon
during the initial confusion, walked into the hospital corridor, took a
photograph of a surviving miner and probably had to sprint hard to get
away. This photograph was probably banned from publication (either
before or very shortly after publication), but found its way to the Internet
forums quickly. Maohair's efforts are therefore greatly appreciated in
Throwing Off Asia (05/01/2006) I am not interested in
getting hits/pageviews per se; instead, I want to be able to make a
difference in some situations. Most of the traffic to this site is
driven by search engines. In the case of the recent controversy over
the Japanese wood print blocks at MIT, the top search engine results go to
the MIT press releases. My blog post (see Visualizing
Culture at MIT) appears right behind. In that sense, it was
satisfying to see that anyone looking up this topic will see a page that
brings bring together the various MIT statements as well as the
Chinese-language blogs and forums at a level of detail that the news
services could not provide. This is what keeps me going.