Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,
— Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!

Presentation #1: Why am I unenthusiastic about the outcry over the Gillian Chung photos in EasyFinder magazine?
Fact#1: Gillian Chung is contracted to the Emperor Entertainment Group.
Fact#2: The owner of the Emperor Entertainment Group is Albert Yeung.
Fact#3: Albert Yeung also owns the weekly magazine Oriental Sunday.
Fact#4: Oriental Sunday is a competitior of EasyFinder and its sister Next Media Group publications such as Next Weekly
Fact#5: Oriental Sunday once ran this front cover of long-range snoop photos of actor/singer Leon Lai being "swallowed/sucked/stripped" by a girlfriend (note: an extra print run was made in response to consumer demand)

Where were these protestors when this happened?
Presentation #2.  Why am I unenthusiastic about the outcry over Shanghai sex blogger Chinabounder?
Fact: The following screen capture was taken of the copy of Professor Zhang Jiehai's post at the Tiexue BBS. 

With due respect, the stuff on the right-hand-side  is not about treating women (Chinese and foreign) with respect.  But why then is no one outraged?  Instead, this is accepted as commonplace.
I am a simple person who only wants moral consistency.

[in translation]

People are different.  Whether it is the Chinese people or foreigners, men or women, there are noble as well as vulgar people and there are honest as well as conniving people.  Gender and nationality do not account for all that.  If northern Chinese can form happy families with southern Chinese, then why should a Chinese woman going with a foreign man be held in contempt?  Several million Chinese have gone overseas to pursue their dreams, so why is a foreigner working or studying in China a loser who couldn't make it back home?

Chinabound wrote about this personal experiences and views.  Right or wrong, we should not turn this into a battle among Chinese men, foreign men, Chinese women and foreign women.  Why do we have to start a war with all of China against one foreigner who dislikes China and disrespects Chinese people?  He is just a passerby in the long history of China.  I don't believe that he is happy and satisfied inside, so why not let him be?  We have enough important things to do such as enjoying our work and lives and loving ourselves and others ...

First, we respect this values of this hooligan foreigner.  At the same time, we ask that this freedom/democracy/rights-advocating foreigner also respect the values and morality of the Chinese.  Equality means mutual respect.

Next, the promiscuity of the foreigner is his own freedom.  But to publish openly the details of his dalliances with Chinese women, to attack Chinese men verbally and to advocate separatism of Chinese territory on the Internet offends all Chinese people.

Finally, the westerners' human rights values are derived from Kantian ethics.  The second rule is: "Do not treat people as the tool to achieve your objective" because that is an unethical violation of human rights.  The foreigner dallied with Chinese girls to satisfy his animal lust.  I think that you violated the rights of the Chinese and your actions were unethical.

"We consider it a mistaken and highly inappropriate act to take photos of people changing clothes. Easy Finder was wrong to publish such photos.

"It compounded the wrongdoing further with its decision to order a reprint in an effort to boost circulation.

"The fact that Gillian Chung Yan-tung was changing her costumes while performing in Malaysia is not major news, nor does it have any major public interest implications. What is the justification for taking pictures using such highly intrusive and clandestine means? What is the justification for Easy Finder to publish such photos and ask for a reprint?

"The people who took the photos are no different from those who secretly take photographs up women's skirts in the street. How can such an act not be a wrongdoing? And how can Easy Finder not be committing a wrongdoing by printing and reprinting such photos? However, we consider it dangerous to introduce legislation on the way journalists gather news. It will seriously undermine the power of the media in monitoring the government and its officials." 

With due respect, August 27 is the anniversary of the four-day trial of the libel suit against Chen Guidi/Wu Chuntao without a verdict (see previous post). What can the court be waiting for? This is a civil suit and the verdict should be delivered within one week normally. Do they think that if they wait long enough, this whole thing will go away by itself? That won't happen if people like me keep bringing it up. If you are a blogger too, I would ask you to post a happy anniversary note as well.

Police and government officers raided Hong Kong's only unlicensed radio station Tuesday evening, arresting one man and issuing verbal warnings to two others in a long-anticipated sting against Citizens' Radio which is operated by activist Tsang Kin-shing.  The raid occurred just as the underground radio broadcasters were preparing to go on the air for their 7pm show on FM 102.8 in Chai Wan.

Police, who launched the operation with the Office of the Telecommunications Authority in tow, also seized computers and equipment.  Police simultaneously launched three other raids on hillslope locations in Kowloon. Altogether, they confiscated seven pieces of equipment and three sets of radio transmitters.


The authority issued a statement late Tuesday night, calling it a matter of "duty to clamp down on unlicensed use of radio-transmitter equipment."  "After months of investigation and close surveillance, we decided to take action this evening. In this operation, other than the radio transmitter equipment, we also targeted the radio equipment at the Citizens' Radio's studio which was used for relaying the content," the statement read. It described the three hillslope locations as transmitting stations, while the Chai Wan operation was used as a studio.  "Unlicensed use of radio transmitters would cause harmful interference to other legitimate spectrum users," the statement said, adding that the authority "would not tolerate such illegal activities."  The maximum penalty for a conviction under the law is a HK$100,000 fine and five years' imprisonment.

You can read the rest of the article with statements from the usual list of democratic activists.  With due respect, this is the same old issue from before: Citizens' Radio in Hong Kong.  This Citizens' Radio (FM 102.4) is squatting on the frequency band of Metro Finance radio (FM 102.8), which legally obtained a government license to operate at that frequency band.  The government's position is that the frequency band was legitimately assigned to Metro Finance and therefore any form of squatting by anybody is illegal.  Citizens' Radio does not address this issue.  This question is not about public radio space, citizen media participation or freedom of speech/press.  It is about the rule of law.  Booting Metro Finance out to make way for Citizens' Radio for expediency or turning a blind eye towards squatting with pirate equipment = giving up the rule of law.  It is as stark as that.  You decide.

Not many people have noticed this, it seems; but I have just called my colleague the legal editor of my publication, and asked him to see if we can get a hand on this story next week: FoxConn, the Taiwanese company and manufacturer of iPod, has taken two Shanghai journalists to court and frozen their assets for writing stories about its the sweatshop labor conditions in the company's iPod factories in Shanghai. 

I was simply shocked and confused when I first read this on Saturday's Beijing Times; but now that I've read from ESWN about what the same company did to a Taiwanese journalist for the same "offence", it all starts to come together. Terry Guo (Guo Taiming), Taiwans' richest man and the boss of Hon Hai Precision Industrial who is in turn the parent company of FoxConn, has been very good and consistent at this: you run negative coverage of my sweatshops in China, I sue you for an amount of money you cannot wish to make in your entire life, whether you are a British, Taiwanese or Chinese journalist. In the case of the two Shanghai journalist defendants, editor Weng Bao and reporter Wang You of the China Business Times, the damages asked for were 10 million yuan (US$ 1.25 mil) and 20 million yuan (US$ 2.5 mil) respectively. 

The reason that I am so angry about this is not only that FoxConn and Guo chose to list the journalists themselves as defendants, but that a Chinese court would be stupid enough to consent to this and proceed to freeze the journalists' personal assets. As the Beijing News story quoted a Renmin University law professor as saying, Chinese law doesn't even support such a claim: according to a judicial interpretation issued by the Supreme Court in 1993 on libel cases, if the literary work at dispute is written by full-time journalists while fulfilling their work duties -- reporting and writing for their newspaper, in this case -- then only the employer i.e. the newspaper, should be listed as the defendant. The journalists are entitled to petitioning the court and lift the freeze on their personal assets and they have done so. The court has yet to respond. The Beijing News story didn't say which STUPID, STUPID court in Shanghai did this; but come to think about it, it's not that much of a surprise -- Shanghai has always been ultra-friendly to Taiwanese businesses and businessmen, and Hon Hai is probably the biggest overseas investor in the mainland. So what we have here, barring too rash a conclusion, is PROBABLY a case of the local judiciary bowing to a powerful investor and taxpayer. 

Update: OK, my premise was not exactly true: by Monday, everybody has noticed this latest controversy and Sina News has even set up a special section dedicated to this. The China Business Times in a quasi-editorial openly condemns FoxConn's intimidation tactics and calls for help from the Chinese press circles. They certainly have my sympathy this time. Time to flex our muscles and kick some blood-sucker ass, brothers! 

Indeed, in today's Southern Metropolis Daily, there is one full-length article and one opinion column on FoxConn.  In the short opinion column by Li Kanli 李甘林, it was noted: "It is the professional duty for news reporters to expose conditions in sweat factories.  FoxConn does not sue the newspaper, but it sues the reporter instead, including asking the court to freeze the personal assets of the reporter.  It is incredible that the court should accept the petition.  Even if the total assets of the two individuals are frozen, that would be far short of the astronomical demands of 10 and 20 million RMB respectively.  What is the point of the court freezing the assets of the two reporters?"

In the long feature article, the entire affair is recounted in detail, together with FoxConn's previous anti-media case in Taiwan (see Comment 200608#098).  Then Peking University law professor He Weifang was interviewed (and this time, it is likely that an actual interview took place with Professor He! see Comment 200608#094!).

[in translation]

Peking University Law School professor He Weifang thinks that this case is absurd: "Large enterprises should be subject to rigorous monitoring by the people and the media.  The most absurd thing is that the target of the lawsuit was not the newspaper but the reporter.  It is the professional duty of the newspaper to publish in the newspaper, because this is what the newspaper asked him to do.  Therefore, the wrong entity has been sued.  Furthermore, the court has not even done even the most basic investigation before freezing all assets of the individuals.  This creates an impression to people that every stage of the process is seriously flawed."

He Weifang said that the rule of law is just beginning in China and sometimes people get the impression that they can use the law to get whatever they want.  "Since they have plenty of resources and money, their judgment has been correct so far."

"This is a form of intimidating abuse of power," said He Weifang.  "They wanted to use this method in order to intimidate all the other media.  I think that this is an serious issue that must be considered by the judicial authorities when handling the case.  Isn't it frightening when the media won't dare to say anything about what corporation and governments do?"  "No matter what the outcome of the case may be, it is worrisome at this point."

Related link (in Chinese):  《第一财经日报》发函谴责富士康  Beijing News, 08/28/2006; FoxConn is not dumb, but downright vicious  Non-violent Resistance, 08/28/2006; All the news that's unfit to print in China  Andrew Leonard, Salon.com

For the anti-Bian movement led by Shih Ming-teh, 42% of all respondents are supportive, 30% opposed and 29% gave no opinion.  When the movement began on August 17, the support level was 47%; after more than NT$100 million have been donated, the support level has dropped to 42%.  On August 17, 32% opposed.

Concerning the recent criticisms of Shih Ming-teh by the Democratic Progressive Party, 55% of all respondents said that Shih's past is unrelated to this movement, and only 19% think Shih's personal morals disqualify him from leading the movement.  Most pan-blues and independents think it is unrelated, and 38% of pan-greens think it is unrelated.

61% said that the Democratic Progressive Party is ruining its own image by criticizing Shih Ming-teh, and 10% said that it enhances the party's image.  Most pan-blues and independents think it has been damaging and 49% of pan-greens think so too (and only 18% of them think that it helps). 

Will A-Bian stay as president?  60% believe that there is little likelihood that the movement to oust him will succeed and only 8% believes that it could succeed (compared to 12% on August 17).

As to the impact on social harmony, 53% are worried that it may be disrupt social harmony while 38% believe that it won't.  Among the pan-blues, 36% are worried; independents 58%; pan-greens 74%.

(Apple Daily)  427 more adults interviewed by automatic dial-tone telephone on August 26.

-Support bringing down Ah-Bian, and will join silent sit-in
   36% August 9
   22% August 19
   15% August 26
- Support bringing down Ah-Bian, but will not join silent sit-in
   44% August 9
   57% August 19
   48% August 26
- Support Ah-Bian and oppose Shih Ming-teh
   16% August 9
   17% August 19
   24% August 26
- Don't know/no opinion
   3% August 9
   3% August 19
   13% August 26

A reporter with the Chinese-language United Daily News was removed from his post yesterday after he shouted at President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), demanding he step down from the presidency while covering an award presentation ceremony in Taipei.  In front of dozens of TV cameras, the reporter, identified as Ting Wan-ming (丁萬鳴), shouted "President Chen step down!" at the president while waving a placard saying "Depose Chen" after Chen delivered a speech at a ceremony marking the presentation of awards to producers of "products very well made in Taiwan" for the year.  Ting was immediately subdued by three security guards and his poster and folder was also removed and checked. Chen was escorted by other guards as he swiftly left the scene without looking back or saying a word about the melee.

Ting told other reporters later that he was speaking for "more than 60 percent of the Taiwanese people" who think Chen should be removed from office as he has lost the trust and respect of the people.  Ting said he shouted at President Chen on impulse as he wished to remind President Chen what people think about him.  "President Chen does not seem to able to hear what people say about him these days as he is always surrounded by guards wherever he goes," Ting said. "Only on these kind of occasions can we tell him what we think about him and his leadership."  Ting was released after he was questioned by police and officials from the National Security Bureau (國安局).

In response to Ting's outburst, the United Daily News authorities issued a statement later in the day saying that Ting had severely violated the journalism principles and work ethics. As a journalist, the statement said, Ting should know how to separate his personal political affiliation from his job.  The United Daily News respects its staff members' personal political affiliations but also strictly requires all staff to observe journalistic ethics while on duty, the statement said.  The statement said Ting would be removed from his post as a journalist and transferred to another post at the daily. 

Please note that Ting Wan-ming was removed/re-assigned forthwith without anyone really attempting to defend his right.  Government spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said: "Ting had gone past the boundary for news gathering.  Although a news reporter is a citizen, the reporter plays a different role.  A citizen can express his opinion anywhere; but a reporter has the right to gather information and he can therefore come and go at various places on account of that right.  The rights of reporters should be defended.  The reporters can write special essays to express their opinions, but when a reporter becomes an actual participant, protestor and activist, then there is a confusion of identity and a role conflict."

But here is the mystery (or maybe it is no mystery): Whatever happened to all the people who were up at arms to defend the right of Epoch Times reporter Wang Wenyi to disrupt Hu Jintao's speech on the White House lawn and to tell him that his days are numbered (see Hu Jintao At The White House)?  Why are they not defending Ting Wan-ming?  Unless such cases are permitted selectively, depending on whether your speech is deemed noble or ignoble by them. 

The Easy Finder magazine edition containing pictures of Canto-pop idol Gillian Chung Yan-tung changing her clothes has been classified as Class II indecent by the Obscene Articles Tribunal.  The interim Class II classification, which means the issue cannot be sold to anyone under 18, came as complaints about the publication doubled in a day to 1,726. Publisher Next Media has five days after receiving notice of the classification to seek a full hearing.

This is a post facto classification announced on Saturday for a weekly magazine that appeared on Monday.  What is that going to do for the newsstand sales?  The additional 15,000-copy printing is sold out already.  By the way, the magazine was being offered at HK$50 on the Internet (versus cover price of HK$20).

The number of complaints leapt from 812 on Wednesday, surpassing the 1,656 and 1,650 lodged against two articles in Yes! magazine in 2004, and the 1,149 against Eastweek for featuring a nude actress on its cover.

The Hong Kong Performing Artistes' Guild condemned the magazine and said existing laws were outdated. The organisation urged the government to protect the interests of artists and the public.  The case continued to draw public protests. Twins' fans petitioned Tela to take action, and the Hong Kong Women Development Association marched to the Tseung Kwan O headquarters of Next Media demanding an apology.  The Equal Opportunities Commission denounced the photographs of Chung as "an affront to women". It said the publication was clearly invasive and offensive. 

Missing from that list is Catholic Archbishop Joseph Zen, who was quoted in Oriental Daily: "日 日 有 咁 多 雜 誌 咁 做 , 咁 理 所 當 然 係 錯 事 , 我 有 冇 需 要 次 次 都 發 表 意 見 呢 ? (So many magazines come out every day and so something goes wrong.  Do I need to express my opinion every time?)"

What does Apple Daily have to say about this, given that it was their sister publication that published the photos?  There is an Apple Daily opinion column by a free-lancer 田 昊.  This is a comparison of the government's monitoring and surveillance law which enables the police to 'snoop' in the course of criminal investigation alongside the media's snooping on celebrities in order to hype up sales.  All snooping is alike, so any legislation over media snooping logically implies that police snooping has no basis.  To be logicall consistent, either all snooping (by media and police) is banned or all snooping is allowed (by media and police).  P.S. There is also the usual comments about the complete dismantling of the Basic Law in Hong Kong, etc.

There is a different line of thought on the Hong Kong forums.  Protect the children from indecent content?  Sure, we should start with looking at what goes on at the concerts.  The following four photos were taken at the recent concerts by Joey Yung, Jay Chou, Andy Hui and the Grasshoppers (草蜢) (see Comment 200511#011).  Is this indecent or just entertaining?

Internet Publishing in China Panel Discussion featuring:

Hong Huang (CIMG)
Jeremy Goldkorn (Danwei)
Roland Soong (EWSN)

At this time, the three of us have not really figured out what we wanted to say.  Actually, we don't need a plan because it will be the bantering among us (and the audience) that will be the key attraction and all three of us are skillful conversationalists.  I know in my mind that I will bring up the topics of Sex, Violence and Money within the subject of Internet publishing.  Of these three issues, I am probably most qualified on 'violence', quite unqualified on 'sex' and absolutely hopeless on 'money.'  However, my two co-panelists will more than make up for my deficiencies!  

[in translation]

Peking University law professor He Weifang read the forum posts and told our reporter that the Internet photographs can easily be determined as pornographic, and therefore those who organized the dissemination can be held criminally responsible under the laws against pornographic materials.  If they were making money, then they would be profiting on pornographic materials.

Professor He believes that it is unlikely that the schools organized it.  "If the school organized it, then the school and the direct leaders will be responsible.  The parents can file civil suits concerning the damage against minors."

He Weifang affirmed the action of the Internet investigations: "I don't think that there is anything wrong with that.  Any citizen has the right to expose illegal activities.  This is appropriate.  In this affair, the netizens should quickly turn over the clues to the law enforcement organizations."

Unfortunately, Professor He Weifang has no recollection of speaking to anyone on this affair!

The two reporters could quote an interview with me and I was shocked that I could speak so readily.  No matter how hard I tried to remember, I have no recollection of being interviewed by this newspaper.  Furthermore, I have no knowledge of criminal law and tehrefore I refuse all interviews and requests for opinions on crimes and crime sentencing.  Questions of criminal law often involve prison terms, so one should never speak rashly.  I hope The Weekend will investigate how this occurred and then publish a public apology in the newspaper so that the rumor will not bring unintended consequences.

P.S. A reader pointed out this item at Youth Weekend.

China University of Political Science and Law professor Wu Ming'an read the forum posts and told our reporter that the Internet photographs can easily be determined as pornographic, and therefore those who organized the dissemination can be held criminally responsible under the laws against pornographic materials.  If they were making money, then they would be profiting on pornographic materials.

Professor Wu believes that it is unlikely that the schools organized it.  "If the school organized it, then the school and the direct leaders will be responsible.  The parents can file civil suits concerning the damage against minors."

Wu Ming'an affirmed the action of the Internet investigations: "I don't think that there is anything wrong with that.  Any citizen has the right to expose illegal activities.  This is appropriate.  In this affair, the netizens should quickly turn over the clues to the law enforcement organizations."

Thus, this is an identical text except for the name of the legal scholar.  So The Weekend's reporters must have copied-and-pasted the whole thing, but changed the name of the professor from the one in Beijing Weekend to another well-known legal scholar whom they never spoke to.
Remaining question: Was Professor Wu Ming'an ever interviewed?

 Chinese journalist Zhao Yan, a former reporter with a Beijing newspaper, has been sentenced to three years in prison for fraud, according to sources from the No. 2 Intermediate People's Court of Beijing on Friday. ... The court also ordered him to pay 2,000 yuan (250 U.S. dollars) in fines and to pay back 20,000 yuan (2,500 U.S. dollars) he had gained through fraudulent means.

Xinhua was provided with a document by the court that provided only the following details of the proceedings.  The document says in 2001 Zhao traveled to Jilin to investigate a story for the Beijing newspaper "Baixing Xinbao" involving a man named Feng Shanchen, who had been given a punishment of one and a half years in a labour camp by the local authorities in Songyuan City, northeast China's Jilin Province.

According to the document, Feng believed the penalty to be unjust and turned to Zhao for help. Zhao reportedly lied that he had connections with the "Legislative Affairs Bureau of the State Council" and if Feng paid him 20,000 yuan, he would be able to rescind the punishment. But Zhao is said to have taken the money but did not keep to his promise. 

Now here is the interesting part -- this explanation is available only in English and not in Chinese.  So this is strictly for international consumption.

(Addendum)  (SCMP)  Fraud count was used 'to justify arrest of journalist'  Josephine Ma.  August 26, 2006.

Yesterday's verdict provides interesting details on the fraud charge against Zhao.  He was convicted because he failed to carry out his promise to use money given by village official Feng Shanchen to bribe a state council official to rescind a labour re-education order while he was working for Baixingxinbao and China Reform Magazine in 2001 and 2002.  The court also ruled that Zhao also received a mobile phone and 2,000 yuan from Mr Feng as a transport fee.  Zhao has denied the accusation, according to his sister, Zhao Kun .

Former Peking University journalism professor Jiao Guobiao , said even if Zhao admitted the accusations, the incident described in the verdict was a common practice among mainland journalists and he had not heard of other journalists being arrested for such practices.  "Zhao Yan has covered so many sensitive topics before and some people may hate him," he said. "It is obviously a warning to overseas media to make them reduce the sensitivity of their reports." 

That last bit from a journalism professor must be a groundbreaking statement on professional standards and practices for Chinese journalists.

(UDN)  About Wang Chien-ming and Lung Ying-tai.  By Hu Chi-ming ( 胡智銘).  August 25, 2006.

(in translation)

Last week, I wrote "Media self-discipline should begin with the Wang Chien-ming refusal to be interviewed."  That essay collected many responses from netizens and readers.  Some readers think that I am a media worker, so I necessarily speak for the media and that I must be fantasizing about public participation when I should be cleaning up my own act.  Another reader cleverly changed the title to "Refusing Taiwan media should begin with the Wang Chien-ming refusal to be interviewed."  Recently, there were also the cases of Lee Chi-tung and Lung Ying-tai declining to support the anti-Bian movement and caused them both to be condemned severely.  This made me want to talk about how the thought process in Taiwan has turned into a simple dichotomization in recent years.

What is a simple dichotomization?  I will quickly define something and then those who disgree with my ideas are my enemies and those who agree with ideas are my friends.  There is also a strong sense of ethnic or tribal group identity (非我族類,其心必異 -- anyone who is not from my tribe will have the wrong ideas).  There is no space for any ideas or positions outside of local-versus-outside, blue-versus-green, anti-Bian-versus-pro-Bian.

How did the thinking process in Taiwan society become so simplistic?  I think that during the development of democratic politics, the two-party system was gradually formed.  In order to consolidate the voting base and intensify the beliefs, the two camps used slogans to educate ("brainwash", to be blunt) the masses and that was one important reason.  For example: localism is to love Taiwan and disrespecting localism is not to love Taiwan.  Over time, this phrase even becomes logical.  In actuality, that is a curse around everybody's head.

Democratic politics is valuable because it respects diversity.  Voltaire said: "Although I disagree with your viewpoints, I will give my life to defend your right to speak."  Voltaire said those words in the 18th century.  Several hundreds years have passed, and Taiwan society seems not only very remote from that stage, but there does not seem to be anyone who thinks that we should progress towards that direction.

When Wang Chien-ming refused to be interviewed, some people wrote to oppose but they were immediately drowned out by the protests.  The protestors said that the opponents were brain-damaged, but have these people actually read what the essays were saying or the ideas that were being communicated?  I don't know, but I only saw a collective act in which these people used a simple dichotomization: Wang Chien-ming is winning glory for the nation, and therefore it is wrong to oppose Wang Chien-ming.  It does not matter whether the essays have problems in the contents.  These are opinions that deserve to be respsected.  Everybody has the right to object, but this is not the type of insult and smearing that is popular on the Internet.

The affairs of Lung Ying-tai and Lee Chi-tung are similar.  These two scholars clearly stated that they do not support President Chen Shui-bian, but they only reckon that there are many more important things that requires attention.  But this position cannot be accepted by the impassioned masses, and therefore another round of insults and smearing have appeared. ...

On August 18, when we heard the bad news that our teacher has committed suicide, we could not believe that such a bright person would be so stupid as to kill herself.  As a university graduate in English, how could she be so psychologically feeble?  On the day before she died, she told us that she will be giving us dictation the next day.  She is a reliable person, so why would she lie to us?  She told us that life is like a coin, and we should see the good side instead of being stuck under the dark skies all the time!  ... So how could she have killed herself?  She has a son who is only two or three years old, so how could she abandon him alone in the world!  Does she not know that a motherless child is lonely and helpless??

The incident took place two days ago.  Why has law enforcement refused to investigate?  Why is the legal doctor late?  Why are the people's guide -- the media -- also late?  We don't understand!  In a society under the rule of law, something infuriatingly unjust has happened!  Our rights become so pale and powerless in the face of money!

Here is a summary of our doubts:

1. Before the day of the incident, our teacher asked us to memorize the nouns because she was going to give us dictation the next day.  She patted the head of one student and smilingly "warned" him that he better memorize the nouns.  How could a suicidal person tell such a joke so light-heartedly?

2. If she wanted to kill herself, would she be wearing only her underwear??!  Our teacher is a pretty woman who wants to look well.  Would she want to die in such indignity?

3. The teacher's child is so young and she loves him so much.  Would she abandon him?!  Besides, a suicidal person should have made some arrangements beforehand.  But our teacher did nothing ...

4. Afterwards, we read the teacher's diary.  She wrote that she will not rely on others.  She will only rely on herself and she write that she will be strong.  She wrote that she is a mother and she is the world to her son.  Motherly love is so great!  Would she give up life so easily and abandon her young child?

5. When we saw the body of our teacher, she had bruises everywhere.  Although her limbs were intact, her cranium was burst open.  She died a horrible death.

6. Our teacher told us that the High School Third Year Class teachers work very hard.  She said that she will not be satisfied if we get into the universities.  So why would she choose suicide?

7. The law enforcement department refuses to intervene in this matter.  Justice is so pale and powerless in front of money.  How will the people ever trust the government again?

Therefore, we ask all righteous people to extend your righteous hands to give justice to our teacher!  This is on behalf of all the teachers under the heavens!  May our teacher rest in peace!

The entire class of students of the Third Year Class, Rui'an Number Three High School, Zhejiang province, China

You may say that this is a ho-hum matter that will not get anywhere.  Ah, but you forgetting the power of the Internet to strike emotionally!  How so?  Read the above and see which of the seven points has the most potential of being emotionally overwhelming?  There is nothing more from the child.  So that leaves the manner of death (number 2 and number 5).  So here is the famous (WARNING: GORY) photograph that has been going around the Internet.  While it violates the preference of the teacher (according to number 2), this may be the most direct way of seeing justice served.

[in translation]

After typhoon Saomai hit Zhejiang and Fujian provinces, if you read the local mainstream media, you would think that the people who had the hardest times were the cadres.  Isn't that so?  "Various levels of party committees, governments and grassroots cadres dutifully, patiently and quietly did their best in excess of their job requirements over long periods of time.  The broad cadres showed a superb conscientiousness and party spirit in the face of the super-typhoon and its disastrous consequences.  This year, our province has experienced multiple disasters and our cadres are worn out.  But the cadres in Ningde and Fuding firmly stayed in their posts to serve the people."  Furthermore, they were unfairly and unjustly blamed and they said they "wondered if they can continue to withstand the interference to accomplish the job for which they are responsible to the people."

But according to CCTV's "The Economy in 30 Minutes" on August 20, more than 1,000 ships were damaged in Shacheng harbor and more than 400 ships sank into the sea.  The official number of deaths was 218, but the actual number is unknown.  The local fishermen said: "They only made a symbolic announcement.  We can only rely on the radio receivers to find out.  How can they claim to have made this clear to us?"  "If we knew that Saomai was hitting the sheltering harbor directly, we would not have stayed on the ships to wait the storm out."  The fishermen from the outside were even worse off: "No alert.  Nothing whatsoever."  The number of dead fishermen from the outside is not entered into the number of deaths.

When comparing these two news reports, "The Economy in 30 Minutes" dealt with concrete specific information, whereas the local media had only clichés and empty talk.  "The Economy in 30 Minutes" cared about the lives of ordinary citizens, whereas the local media reports is permeated with an arrogance -- nothing was said about the dead and the pains of their families and there only descriptions of officials "driving more than 300 kilometers in almost 40-degree high temperature."

This is a "people-based" era.  This is an era for building a civil society.  I hope that I will see less and less of officialese-filled news reports.

[in translation]

I believe that quite a few people have noticed a news item: the child of Faye Wong and Li Yapeng had a hare lip.  I have previously commented on the prejudicial langauge used in the news reports.  But today I want to say that this news has led to a discovery that almost made my jaw fell off.

On 10:08:19, August 12, 2006, the male principal Li Yapeng published his thoughts on his sina.com blog: Thanks.  The post describes his current situation and his feelings, and it had some truly touching language.  Even though it is not known if he personally wrote this, it still constituted a solid response to the concerns of the outside world.  What astonished me was that for the more than two days since, 1,267,290 persons read the post and 19,242 replies were made over 386 pages -- it was impossible to read them all.

Consider the top blog in Taiwan -- Wanwan's blog -- there are about 100,000 to 150,000 visitors per day and each post gets about 200-300 replies.  That is an astonishing standard in Taiwan, but it is nothing compared to Li Yapeng's blog.

Of course, there are many more netizens in mainland than Taiwan and it is normal to expect that there are more readers and replies.  But I never imagined that it would be so vastly different!  Perhaps this was because the topic was hot in mainland and Li Yapeng and Faye Wong are famous celebrities, but this is still formidable.  If they can write anything on their blog and have more than one million readers and 20,000 replies, then isn't this frightening communication power?  If he were not writing to say thanks, but he wrote certain prejudicial or inflammatory things, then what kind of destructive power will that be?  The sort of Internet scale of usage is probably not something that we on this small island can comprehend.

Even sina.com's home page is featuring a headline of "Li Yapeng's single blog post sets sina.com visitor record."  This shows that even the mainland compatriots were surprised by this explosive power.  I wonder if any Taiwan BSP can sustain the load on their main server machines.

I don't want to discourage ourselves.  But beyond our surprise at this powerful force, we may perhaps begin to think.  We in Taiwan also write in Chinese and we should perhaps become more concerned about the development of blogging in mainland and attempt to enter their groups to understand their culture in order to increase the communication channels.  We can push aside all the simplistic and complex ideological issues and use the strength of Chinese-language netizens to jump out of our self-imposed confusion.  How about that?

[in translation]

In mid August, I went to Chongqing on business.  This happened to be when Chongqing was experiencing a drought and heat wave that had not occurred in fifty years.  At noon, the temperature in the streets was higher than 43 degrees.  In the busiest heart of Chongqing, the crowd at the Liberation stele did not seem to mind as they walk around or take breaks.  There were foreigners coming through and the officers in the police cars were keeping alert watch.

But the shocking thing was that right in the heart of this city underneath the People's Liberation Heroes' stele, there were people distributing all sorts of erotic business cards to pedestrians.  It is more infuriating that these erotic cards all referred to female university students as their selling points, including spelling out the schools of these students -- the Sichuan Foreign Studies University, Chongqing University, Normal University, Commerce University, Arts University, etc.

Even more hilarious is that these business cards promises to give formal receipts and 24-hour-service.  These business cards had high production quality.  They were handed out not just at the Liberation stele, but also in the Chaotianmen plaza with the persons whispering in Chongqing dialect: "They are all pretty girls!"

When such activities occur in the heart of a city, we must consider this city to be chaotic and mismanaged, and re-organization is necessary!

Here is an example of a business card (and many more at Sumianguan blog).

- Fucking news tv at taiwan
- Shit news report in Taiwan part 1
- Shit news report in Taiwan part 2

[in translation]

From last night through this morning, I brought two interns to cover a shocking and tragic (to the point of bone-chilling) story.  This was an assignment of a type that I have rarely ever come across in my career.

The two interns were practically stunned as they watched how things occurred and developed.

From darkness to dawn, it was finally over.  We dragged our tired bodies back into the streets of Beijing.  I asked the two interns how they felt.  They said that they were shocked, and they even thought that it is only this kind of thing that really deserves journalists to investigate.

I smiled and I told them that this was not a good way to put it.

A journalist should face the darkness calmly and use pity to encompass both anger and despair.  He would not consider himself as the natural person that the weak can trust.  Amidst the pain and sorrow, he must remain neutral and skeptical.  He would not think that he is a hero or a spokesperson for justice.  He would only think that he is a journalist -- he adheres to his professional conduct and he strives for technical excellence.  He is far and away from those who think that they are morally superior and he understands what his limitations are.

I told them, for example, an article like this all-nighter is basically unpubishable.

Wouldn't you want to read about this?  Well, you know, he has a blog ...

In Shenzhen, there has been a rash of pirated pornographic video disks that showed how the Japanese insulted Chinese women ... One film was titled "Chinese Acrobatics: Pretty Young Girls (中国杂技系美少女)."  The filming location was Beijing, with the Forbidden Palace and the Great Fall making appearances.  The principals were several women who speak putonghua to declare that they are acrobats.  Then they take off their clothes and then do gymnasitics and acrobatics.  Another young naked girl played the Chinese music instrument erhu skillfully.

After the Chinese girls finished performing, Japanese men then chatting with them while fondling their breasts.  An 18-year-old girl who identified herself as Shasha from Beijing welcomed the Japanese to make films in China.

Here is the problem with this report -- these films have been around for quite some time.  If you search for the title "中国杂技系美少女," you will reach all sorts of websites and forums, and you can even download them through BT for free.  There was no interest in this story until now.  The timing is therefore suspect for this story to be brought to the forefront right after the Yasukuni Shrine visit.  This is called 'pouring oil on fire' in an already dangerous situation.

Several Dragan Air stewardesses have their upskirt videos posted on YouTube.  More than 6,000 persons have viewed that video already.  In that 1:09 video, the focus was on a stewardess in short skirt and black nylon stockings.  Whenever she bent over to inquire about the needs of a passenger, the camera would sneak in from behind and underneath. Two more stewardesses were filmed in the same way when they were opening up the overhead compartment or pushing the food service cart.  The same YouTube user has also posted other upskirt videos such as young girls going up escalators.

When Dragon Air learned about this video, they promised to seek legal advice.  The YouTube user has removed all his videos.

(Oriental Daily)

Satisfaction with President Chen Shui-bian
10% satisfied, 73% dissatisfied, 18% no opinion

Following the whole series of scandals around President Chen and his family (including the national security funds, SOGO gift vouchers, Taiwan Trading Corporation, etc), do you believe that President Chen should resign?  
Should 62%; should not 21%; no opinion 16%. [editor's note: when you read off a list of negatives before you ask the question, then it is loaded question!]
Do you support Shih Ming-teh's "One Million Persons Oust-Bian" movement?
Total: 58%
and by political affiliation
People's First Party: 88%
Nationalist Party: 85%
Independent: 44%
Democratic Progressive Party: 11%
Taiwan Solidarity Union: 3%

[in translation]  

Singapore Strait Times top reporter Ching Cheong is being charged with espionage.  But because the case involves certain national secrets, the entire investigation and trial process have been shrouded in mystery and outsiders have no way of knowing the details.  People in political circles know that this case is highly sensitive, so that even though the case has reached the stage of "judicial verdict," the family of Ching Cheong, the usual human rights organizations and even the SAR government have been mute or low-keyed.  But the signals from various political sectors indicate that the silent backdrop did not mean that no one is working on behalf of Ching Cheong.  It only meant that these people are choosing "silence is golden."

In the case of the SAR government, knowledgeable persons said that apart from those public "statements and responses," all the involved senior officials are working under guiding principle to "say less and do more."  The political gossip was that the SAR government has continuously worked various levels of the mainland government for over a year to show their concern.  Informed sources say that the Legislature and the media have never ceased applying pressure on the SAR government.  On each trip that Chief Executive Donald Tsang made to Beijing to report on work, someone has asked Tsang, "Did you ask the leaders about the Ching Cheong case?"  These public pressures make it impossible for Tsang to evade.

The political gossip is that Donald Tsang mentioned the Ching Cheong case on every trip, and the Political Affairs Department and the Beijing Office have also done some work, including relay messages to Ching Cheong from his family.  In the early stages, the Hong Kong Security Department had even suggested that Mary Lau (Mrs. Ching Cheong) can visit him in the company of Hong Kong SAR officials.  In the end, Mary Lau remembered that her husband told her in their last phone conversation not to go to the mainland, and therefore she declined the proposal.

But government officials say that even though outsiders ask them about what is being done to aid Ching Cheong and how to respond to the case, they know that they cannot publicly disclose what they know or make criticisms.  They know clearly that as soon as they make a detailed discussion of the Ching Cheong case, it becomes an assessment of the judicial system on the mainland and it is no longer "One country, two systems."  Someday if the mainland starts making public comments about the verdicts in the Hong Kong courts, what will happen?

In addition, according to private communication from a friend of Ching Cheong, many prominent figures outside of government have also worked on the Ching Cheong case.  This includes some of the National People's Congress representatives from the Hong Kong region.  He said that the People's Congress representatives, the Ching Cheong concern group and the SAR government have reached out to their mainland contacts to state their hope that the mainland authorities will provide lenient treatment in consideration of the overall situation.

He analyzed that there are many people in Hong Kong who are concerned about the Ching Cheong case.  If Ching should receive a heavy sentence, there will be repercussions here.  "At the moment, Ching Cheong's family and friends are hoping for their best case to come true and he can come home soon.  But they are also prepared for the worst case scenario."

Furthermore, even those people in the pro-Beijing camp who have "clamped up" early on have been reflecting to the authorities to ask for "lenient treatment."  Even if Ching Cheong is really guilty, he should be released early for "medical reasons."  One veteran leftist politician said, "After all, we knew each other."

Some organizations have set up "plans for post-verdict action."  For example, the Alliance to Support Democratic Movements in China has decided that if Ching Cheong is found guilty or sent to jail, they will go into the streets to demonstrate and hope to use public opinion to save him.  The Civil Human Rights Front said that they will support any action to save Ching Cheong, and the decision to organize large-scale marches will depend on the severity of the sentence.

The pan-democratic camp does not dare to make any high-keyed moves at this time.  They all know that a high-profiled support of Ching Cheong by the democrats at this time will be the "kiss of death" in the eyes of the central government.  Rather than being unhelpful that way, they can only wait for the Ching Cheong family to "issue the orders."

[in translation]

... The following problems need to be discussed:

1. What is a "political talent"?  What is the relationship between political talent and the political system in that place?

2. In Hong Kong today and the foreseeable future, what type of political talent is needed?  If the government and the political parties need political talents, are these one and the same, or are they different?

3. Does Hong Kong lack political talents, or does it lack the opportunities for political talents to develop?

If political talents are people who are "good in politics" or who "do political work," then the definition of "political talent" presupposes a definition of "politics."  On this issue, the definitions in textbooks or dictionaries may not be useful, as in the vacuous saying that politics is about matters that affect the polity.  When the Chinese speak about 'politics', they may mean something completely different from what Americans mean; and when the Chinese speak about 'politics' today, they mean something completely different from the Cultural Revolution era.  Here, 'difference' does not refer solely to society, economy and politics (in a different sense), and 'political work' has a different social means and ends.  This is about a fundamental difference in understanding.

Under the present "western democratic" system, election is the biggest piece of "politics."  The so-called "politicians" are the people who obtain power through elections at a certain level.  The most important quality of a politician is to defeat others in an election and hence to retain that position afterwards so that no one can replace them.  In other words, the political talent is someone who is good in the "permanent campaign."

Once a poltiican is elected to a certain government post, an important factor in keeping that post lies in political accomplishments.  Does his government have the ability to push through public policies, solve various conflicts and promote economic and social progress.  This is very important 'politics.'  Therefore, political talents must be able to have the additional ability to gain majority support politically and socially in order to implement potentially controversial but essential political reforms.

"Western democracy" has not been implemented totally in Hong Kong, but it is publicly accepted as the ultimate goal.  Do we have enough people with the two aforementioned types of talents for the political reforms?  These two talents can be broken down into certain skills and requirements, such as communication techniques, ability to delegate to the right people, decision-making, charisma, courage, eloquence and even physical looks.  There are plenty of such people in various professions and industries in Hong Kong.  But if we add up all these "elements," it is still not equal to "political talent."  If you want to say that there are many political talents in Hong Kong but they have no opportunity to show themselves, then maybe not many people wll believe you.

This also leads to the interest issue of what does an URL look like.  For some blogs like this one, it is easy.  For other blogs, it may look something like:


Ouch!  Are you going to read the newspaper column and type this URL into your browser one letter at a time?  What is the likelihood of making an error?  Well, go blame the blog service provider for generating this link!

The 占占字起 blogger does not mind, and only hopes that the newspaper can pay back the entire blogging community by sponsoring activities or doing special features.   You can read his blog post at: http://mrjimtong.mysinablog.com/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=226514 

A key figure in the embezzlement allegations surrounding the first family, Ligi Lee (李慧芬), yesterday offered prosecutors documents she said provide proof of wrongdoing at the Presidential Office.  Lee's statements and the documents provided by her are believed crucial to allegations that fake receipts were used to claim reimbursements from a secret Presidential Office slush fund.  ...  

Lee arrived in Taipei from Australia late on Sunday night and was immediately placed under the protection of the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau (MJIB).  More than 20 MJIB agents were on hand at CKS International Airport to pick Lee up and escort her to a hotel in Taipei. Agents were posted outside her room.  Lee entered the Black Gold Investigation Center of the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office at 9:45am, along with two pieces of luggage she said contained documents relating to the case. 

Now I want to look at the other Chinese-language stories about the weirder aspects of the Ligi story.  First, from Apple Daily, when Ligi Lee stepped out of the airplane, more than thirty police officers and investigating agents held hands and formed two rings around Ligi Lee, who was pushed in a wheel chair.  In the past, only murderers, crime bosses or important case witnesses whose lives are threatened received such protection.  Ligi Lee is the first corruption case witness who received this level of protection.  Here are some photos from the other media.

At the Far East Hotel, Ligi Lee is staying in suite 3409.  The entire 34th floor has been vacated and closed to all others.  Here is Apple Daily's floor map.  Ligi Lee is staying in the room at the top of the graphic.  The red figures are the investigators, the greens are the bodyguards and the blues are the police officers.  This elaborate setup has caused one DDP legislator to wonder: "Has Taiwan become Sicily now?"

When Ligi Lee checked in at the airport in Sydney, she made the airline wrapped two big suitcases in plastic sheets.  Here was supposed to be the previously unknown bills, cancelled checks for credit card usage and other evidence of interactions with the first family.  Yesterday, it was revealed that the two suitcases contained one small stack of photocopied bills which the investigtors had seen already.  Ho hum ...

[in translation]  According to the Municipal Public Security Bureau, more than 3,000 ATM machines in Beijing will be directly linked to the police by the end of next year.  The system will have facial recognition capabilities, so that the photographs of users will be sent to the police monitoring office on a real-time basis.  

... According to the project workers, the facial recognition system uses facial bone structures to identify people, so that sticking on a moustache and other disguise techniques cannot stop the system from recognizing the people.

... If the photographs match suspects in the database, the monitoring department will automatically notify the police.

Time to bring back the surgical masks again?

"Challenge to the CCTV monitors: Who am I?"

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) said that it was "pathetic" to use taxpayers' money to pay Lin, and ridiculed her for being described as a member of the secret service while actually working as a housemaid.

People First Party caucus whip Lu Hsueh-chang (
呂學樟) noted that Lin was neither a secret servicewoman, nor a plain clothes policewoman, and so had no right to claim such a subsidy from the NSB.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lo Chih-ming (
羅志明) said that Lin's claiming of the subsidy was outrageous and that the NSB should make a full review.

Who is missing here?  Well, no DPP person would be caught dead speaking on this affair.  Anyone who has ever tried to defend the President in the cascading series of scandals has been burned, because they don't have the facts which are constantly running beyond their control.

You don’t have to be here long to recognise that a large percentage of domestic helpers aren’t well-treated.

Recruitment agencies and employers play games with wages, depriving workers of as much money as possible for as long as possible. Unaware of their rights, helpers stay in the hope they can earn enough to send home, where poverty is so bad even their meager income goes a long way.

Other forms of abuse are rampant. Some helpers are underfed or overworked. Some employers force helpers to work without a day off for months at a stretch, while others put them to work for multiple families.

But this isn’t new; it has been going on for years — and not only in Hong Kong.

The saddest part is that the report will make no difference; the status quo won’t change until the government chooses to take off its blinders.

Now, as I have often said, the Chinese-language reader deals with another world that the English-language media have decided that their readers do not need to know.  But you wonder if the Chinese technique is better at BWG's task: "The trick is getting someone to listen."  When you are done reading the last sentence of the story in today's Apple Daily, you will be cursing!  The story would be deeply imprinted in your mind.  What next, though?

(in translation)  Forty-something year old accountant Chan Kwok-keung (陳國強) was charged with forcing his Indonesian maid to provide fellatio and hand masturbation during her four month employment.  When she was fired without cause, she left a will and attempted to commit suicide by jumping into the ocean.  That was when the case broke open.  Yesterday, at the district court trial, the maid recalled her traumatic experience and burst into tears.  For services beyond the call of duty, the employer had rewarded the maid with a bonus of HK$20 (=less than US$3).

[in translation]

The Chinese Communist mouthpiece People's Daily English-language website was likely attacked by hackers yesterday.  According to an Interfax report, a reader found out that a section of the website contained more than a dozen links to pornographic photographs and related contents.  If you do not follow the links, the topic goes back to the normal content.  An editor named Wang at People's Daily Online said: "The website may have been attacked by hackers.  We will publish the relevant information later."  Later, those links were removed from the website.

This motivated to look up the Interfax release.  The Sun omitted one sentence: 

The incident was initially posted on popular China-related blog site at http://www.zonaeuropa.com, which is complete with a screenshot of the bizarre situation."

Ah, Interfax hearts EastSouthWestNorth!!!  For the original story provided by a reader, see The People's Daily Dose of Porn.

At the middle school exams this year in Zhangzhou (Fujian), student Wang Quan scored 336 points, but he still entered the top middle school in the city even though the admission standards are higher than his score.  Meanwhile, student Liang Shifu had the same score but was only accepted by a third-rate school.

Why?  According to policy, the children of the owners of the top 100 taxpaying corporations in the city shall receive an additional 20 points.  Wang Quan's dad owns a company that had revenues of 340 million RMB and pays taxes of 10.29 million RMB in 2005.  Therefore, Wan Quan got an extra 20 points.  Liang Shifu's dad was not rich.

As you may expect, this story has led to an Internet storm.  Part of the Internet debate has to do with whether bonus points should be awarded to anyone, bearing in mind that certain types of students have always received special considerations: ethnic minorities, overseas returnees, children of revolutionary martyrs, national-level category 2 athletes, winners of scholastic competitions, excellent students who are economically disadvantaged, etc.  But now there is an additional category that taps into the increasing uneasiness about the rich-poor gap.  The impact on the overall system is minimal -- there were no applicants in 2005 and Wang Quan was the sole applicant in 2006.

In Southern Metropolis Daily, the commentator Xiao Shu (笑蜀) dealt with a different aspect of the issue.  The question is not whether 20 points (or even 1 point) should be awarded.  The question is about how this policy came about.  One would have expected that this type of major policy to involve wide public consultations first before being approved and implemented in a rigorous process.  So how could this have been decided unilaterally by a certain senior official?  It was just amazing that the suddenly occurring idea of one person can change the fates of so many people, or that the fates of so many people depend solely on what flashed across one individual's mind.  No matter how brilliant that idea may be, the situation is a frightening one.

What is a "hate group"?  "This refers to groups that hold prejudices and hatred."  Specifically, Chau was studying prejudices against black people as found in Xanga.  In his work, he found more than 800 white American and European white persons who directed foul and obscene language against black people: "Today, I was returning home and a black person stared at me.  So I punched him a few times."  Others called black people "ugly" and "stupid." 

Chau studied Xanga carefully and did not find any Hong Kong person attacking black people.  He believes that blogs are a platform in which one insulting comment will draw others.  "Young people are easily influenced by blog contents.  But if you say something and I say something else, how much of this is real?"  Chau's interest in blogs was inspired by reading about news of terrorists using websites to recruit people.  Thus he began to wonder if the newly popular blogs could become another destructive platform.  "Is the Internet drawing people together or pulling them apart?"

Monday Sep 4th 7.30pm

Internet Publishing in China: Panel Discussion

Explore the issues and challenges surrounding internet publishing in one of its most exciting and dynamic regions, with three confirmed experts in the field - Jeremy Goldkorn (danwei.org), Roland Soong (ESWN) and media mogul Hong Huang.


When I told a friend about this, he said, "Oh, about a thousand people will show up ..."  I'll be spending a few days in Beijing around that date, without anything else planned.  After all, it is not right to keep writing about a place without being there.

In the case of Taiwan Development Corp, President Chen Shui-bian's son-in-law Chao Chien-ming was charged with insider trading but he was not charged with selling government jobs, lobbying, expropriating political campaign donations, etc.
- 83.3% said the investigation did not meet expectations (93.9% among pan-blues and 61.8% among pan-greens)
- 12.8% said the investigation met expectations

In the case of the SOGO gift vouchers, neither President Chen Shui-bian's wife Wu Shu-chen nor her family doctor Huang Fang-yen were indicted.
- 77.4% said the investigation did not meet expectations (91.8% among pan-blues and 50.8% among pan-greens)
- 15.6% said the investigation met expectations

In the case of the derailment of the South Link Line, Lee Tai-an is being charged with the murder of his sister-in-law for insurance money.  Previously, his brother, also a suspect in the case, had committed suicide 
- 29.7% said the investigation did not meet expecations
- 59.2% said the investigation met expectations

- Performance of President Chen Shui-bian: 15% satisfied; 70% dissatisfied; 13% no opinion
- Performance of Premier Su Tseng-chang: 39% satisfied; 39% dissatisfied; 20% no opinion
- Did you know that Chad broke off diplomatic relationships?  76% yes; 24% no
- Government handling of foreign affairs: 15% satisfied; 62% dissatisfied; 21% no opinion
- Chinese Communists oppressing Taiwan's international presence: 71% serious; 12% no serious; 15% no opinon.
- Why did Chad break off?  50% Chinese Communists; 24% incompetence of Foreign Ministry; 6% neither; 20% no opinion
- Using financial aid to sustain diplomatic relationships: 17% agree; 68% disagree; 14% no opinion
- Using financial aid to rescue breaking diplomatic relationships: 11% agree; 75% disagree; 12% no opinion

(Ming Pao)  More than 200 employees (or about two-thirds of the entire staff) of the Tai Lin (泰林) electronics chain store marched, led by the chairman of the company.  As a result, the stores did not open for business until 1pm.  The chairman claimed that "GST will suppress the consumer desires and the retail industry will suffer the most.  It is estimated that Tai Lin will lose 20% to 30% of its business."

(Apple Daily)  More than six hundred members of the Hong Kong Night Club Federation marched, led by sleepy-eyed mama-sans wearing heavy make-up.  According to one mama-san, "With the GST, the customers will all go north of the border.  There is no business left for us."

Oh, yes, these guys don't know how to count either.  Apple Daily noted that the police at the start said that there were about 3,000 people; when the procession arrived at Government Headquarters, the Liberal Party announced a figure of 6,000; when the event was nearly over, some Liberal Party person suddenly claimed more than 10,000. 

Example 1:  (Apple Daily)  This is the emulation of the traditional man-in-the-street interview.  In the coverage over the Number 3 vs. Number 8 typhoon warning signal, a number of blogs and forums were quoted.  For example, here is the airline stewardess at the 菜鳥手記 blog: "Flying from Los Angeles to Hong Kong ... stopped in Japan for several hours ... the airpline was reeling when it got over the Hong Kong airport, so the weather was bad indeed.  We were rocking and we were reeling, like as if we were on a ride at the Six Flags theme park in Los Angeles.  The airplane flew lower and lower ... right before landing, I was recalling all the emergency escape routines in my mind ... I am very glad to arrive at my home ..."

Example 2: (Ming Pao)  This is the feature article for a blog in a section known as Blog Blog ("Blog Blog Fun").  On this day, it was Ben Ng's blog 知日部屋.  The blogger is a Chinese University of Hong Kong professor who loves to read Japanese anime and manga.  He advocates "hating and opposing Japan is not as good as knowing Japan" and his blog posts covers Japanese culture, leisure, cuisine, fashion and so on as well as Sino-Japanese politics.  Much of the contents also related to Hong Kong culture.  For example, if Hong Kong people like to say "未解決" ("It is not resolved") now, then what do the Japanese say instead?  What is otoko culture? Lolita culture? and so on.

Example 3: (Apple Daily)  This is a traditional supplement column that now carries the title ("Consumer Blog") and is a regular feature on Mondays. The so-called blogger is an OL ("Office Lady") and this post is about the Hungry Ghost Festival discussion at the office.  The inclusion of "blog" in the title is an indication that this is a hot keyword now, more so than just "column."

Person %Satisfied %Dissatisfied %No opinion
Chen Shui-bian 11 74 15
Annette Lu 33 35 32
Su Tseng-chang 38 38 23
Yu Shyi-kun 28 52 20
Frank Hsieh 39 43 18
Lee Teng-hui 25 47 28
James Soong 21 58 21
Lian Chan 48 27 25
Wang Jing-pyng 56 23 20
Ma Ying-jeou 61 26 13

The Southern Weekend, in it's typical straight-faced celebrity freak show style, did an interview with Liu Zhongde, a former Minister of Culture and Director of the Central Propaganda Department. Let's again hope that ESWN will pick this up; I'll just present the freakiest parts of it -- namely, how the quirks of one art-minded Party bureaucrat could affect the tastes of a complete country, a complete generation.

Once I read that, I had no choice but to translate the whole thing at Why Teresa Teng Could Not Visit Mainland China.  Yeah, I've got pressure ... (see "我有壓力,你有壓力,你做乜挑釁我呀?(I've got pressure and you've got pressure.  So why are you provoking me?) from Bus Uncle).

Everyone knows Al Gore stars in the global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." But who created "Al Gore's Penguin Army," a two-minute video now playing on YouTube.com?

In the video, Mr. Gore appears as a sinister figure who brainwashes penguins and bores movie audiences by blaming the Mideast crisis and starlet Lindsay Lohan's shrinking waist size on global warming. Like other videos on the popular YouTube site, it has a home-made, humorous quality. The video's maker is listed as "Toutsmith," a 29-year-old who identifies himself as being from Beverly Hills in an Internet profile.

In an email exchange with The Wall Street Journal, Toutsmith didn't answer when asked who he was or why he made the video, which has just over 59,000 views on YouTube. However, computer routing information contained in an email sent from Toutsmith's Yahoo account indicate it didn't come from an amateur working out of his basement.

Instead, the email originated from a computer registered to DCI Group, a Washington, D.C., public relations and lobbying firm whose clients include oil company Exxon Mobil Corp.

... Yesterday a number of court police attempted without much success to fend off members of the press at the Taipei District Court, as the reporters chased the president's son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming, (趙建銘) as he exited the court building and got into a taxi.  As the press and police officers pushed one another in the chaos, Sanlih Entertainment Television employee Chu Wen-cheng (朱文正) was grabbed by several police officers and forcefully hauled into the court building, where he was taken into custody.  The court police then brought Chu to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office and accused him of interfering with a public function (妨害公務罪).  

Chu, who suffered minor injuries, told the press as he left the prosecutors' office that he neither swung at court police nor assaulted them.  "They got the wrong person," Chu said, adding that several cameramen had recorded the incident from different angles and could prove his innocence. The court police said they arrested Chu because he hit them and kicked a court police officer during the fray.

Since then the media have been playing their videos all day on television to look for Chu assaulting any court police officer.  Nothing has been found yet, but here are photos from the scene of Chu being taken away by force.

Yesterday afternoon, Chu filed a lawsuit against the Taipei District Court police for offenses against personal liberty, causing bodily harm and malfeasance in office. He is asking for NT$1 million (US$30,470) in compensation.  This is the photo of Chu pressing the bell button at the courthouse.

How did this happen?  The court police probably did not figure on the rock-star status of the man with the 45-degree chin tilt.

Extra: Here is the TVBS video.

[in translation]  

... During my visit to Taiwan, I attended a forum organized by Taiwan media scholars.  After listening for a while, I learned that the degeneracy of Taiwan media has two aspects: one, they smear democracy in Taiwan; two, they prettify mainland totalitarianism.  A speaker pointed out that according to exact information from the Taiwan intelligence service, at least 17 media organizations in Taiwan are receiving "black money" from mainland officials who regard democracy and freedom as their enemies.

When I visited Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu, in front of many Taiwan media, I "accused" the Beijing-based Taiwan reports of not caring about the fate of the mainland people, democracy, freedom and human rights.  When I criticized the Central Propaganda Department in 2004, almost of the Beijing-based correspondents from the democratic nations in Europe, America, Australia, Japan, South Korea, etc interviewed me to express their care and concern for freedom of press in mainland China.  But I was not interviewed by the Beijing-based reporters from Taiwan.  Which other areas were there whose reporters did not interview me?  The Islamic, African and South American countries did not.  We don't have to elaborate on the standards of civilization of those countries, but the Taiwan media were as degenerate as those countries and that puts chills in the hearts of mainland citizens.

Later on, a Taiwan media friend told me that the situation with Taiwan media is more complicated.  For example, the two large Taiwan newspapers China Times and United Daily are pliant with the mainland not because they agree with the media control there.  Their reporters have resisted and got into trouble many times.  The Office of Taiwan Affairs is tough and whenever the Taiwan media slip up, their reporters are expelled or the bureau gets shut down.  It is different with western media, because their reporters are backed up by their embassies.  In Beijing, the Taiwan reporters are orphans and nobody cares about them if they get into trouble.  Lots of people mess with them, but nobody loves and cares about them.  I said: "So what if you are closed down or expelled?  Apple Daily cannot establish a bureau in Beijing but it is still red hot.  If you have the will, you can still do good mainland coverage, or even better."  This friend shook his head and said nothing.

Postscript: In response to the question: "Why are you publishing this nonsense?", I state that the opinions expressed in the translations here are not necessarily the same as mine.  The reason that this excerpt is here is this: Mr. Jiao used to teach journalism, so you can decide whether it is standard journalistic practice to make an assertion ("Taiwan media are degenerate") while providing the following supporting evidence: (1) some person at a forum says that Taiwan intelligence servcie has exact information that some Taiwan media organizations are receiving "black money" from mainland officials who regard democracy and freedom as their enemies; (2) the Taiwan media organizations did not interview Mr. Jiao when he was the darling of the media from the western and Asian democracies (with a barb at the lack of civilization in the Middle East, Africa and South America).  I report, you decide.

The Presidential Office came under fire again yesterday, this time for the allegedly improper use of taxpayers' money to pay for domestic help for the family of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) daughter.  The Presidential Office issued a statement yesterday afternoon dismissing the allegation and calling on the media to stop making "unnecessary interpretations" of the matter. (emphasis added) The statement said the president was still the owner of the apartment on Minsheng E Road, where his daughter Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤) and her husband Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘) now reside. The president and first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) relocated to the official Yushan Residence on Chongqing S Road in January 2001.

Lin Hsiu-jen (
林秀貞) -- better known to the public as A-ching Sao (阿卿嫂), or "Auntie A-ching" -- had worked as a housekeeper for the Chen family long before Chen was elected president.  After Chen became president in May 2000, the Presidential Office put Lin on its payroll to serve the president and his wife.  The statement said the Presidential Office continued to pay Lin to work for the president's daughter after he and Wu moved out of the Minsheng apartment because Chen Hsing-yu is considered a member of the first family and Wu also makes frequent visits to the Minsheng residence.

... The Presidential Office did not respond to the calls for the government to be reimbursed for Lin's salary for the past six years. Office Spokesman David Lee (李南陽) said the office did not have anything new to add to its original statement.

Yesterday, there was also the Apple Daily instant poll (July 31, 2006; 511 respondents via automatic telephone dialing):

More importantly, no major political figure was willing to come out to support the position of the Presidential Office.

Then comes today's front page story in Apple Daily:  The Presidential Office issued a press release after office hours that A-Ching Sao has made a verbal resignation which has been approved and she will now be directly employed by Chen Hsing-yu in a private capacity instead.  Chen Hsing-yu will also pay back the government the salary amount of NT$1.6 million from October 2001 up to now.  There has been no public apology from the first family.  A-Ching Sao said: "I do whatever other people want me to.  I am employed by them and I work for them (人家要怎樣,我就聽人家意思,我也是呷人頭路(台語,指受僱於人),幫人做事呀!)."  However, she will be losing her government employee benefits.

And there was no mention in the Taipei Times ... they must be taking pains not to make "unnecessary interpretations" ...

(in translation)

"Aren't you Chinese people beggars?  Why won't you pick it up?"  A foreign man threw out many coins onto the streets of Beijing and waited for the passerbys to pick them up in order to take pictures.  This action aroused the anger of the citizens, who cursed him.  Finally, the foreign man had to pick up the coins himself and leave in a hurry.

According to a report in Beijing Times, a foreign man wearing an old green Chinese military uniform and wearing an army cap was taking photographs with two companions.  Sudden, the man threw out thirty to forty coins and then pointed the money to an old man who scavenging for empty mineral water bottles.  The foreign man then positioned himself five meters away and got read to to film.

The action of the foreign man aroused the anger of the people waiting for the buses because they thought that this was an insult to the Chinese people.  They demanded that the foreign man to pick up the coins himself.  Some of the citiznes had raised their fists and were ready to hand out a lesson to the foreign man.  When the foreign man assessed the situation, he quickly bent down to pick up the coins that he had thrown out and then he left in a hurry.