I really admire Jasper Tsang Yuk-sing for his sophistry.  Nobody in the pro-Beijing camp is as good.  In his Sing Tao column, he ridiculed the pan-democrats' charges about the pro-Beijing camp using a low-profile tactic in the Hong Kong district council elections such that the pan-democrats cannot lift the voter turnout and improve their chances of winning.  Therefore, the pan-democrats have issued an appeal of emergency help.  Former DAB chairman Tsang said that the pan-democrats are mature for democratic ideas and qualified for double universal suffrage.  But if the pan-democrats need the people to turn out through an enthusiastic election atmosphere, are they not saying that the Hong Kong voters are not sufficiently mature?  Aren't the pan-democrats saying that the Hong Kong people are politically immature, to the extent that can be manipulated by politicians?

What former DAB chairman Tsang said is reasonable and cannot be refused.  I cannot help but admit that if the pan-democrats are any better, they would have no fear of the low-profile tactics being employed by the leftists?

But from the other side, does Tsang think that the political judgment of Hong Kong people is mature or not?  If Tsang thinks that the pan-democrats are being inconsistent, then he ought to think that the people of Hong Kong are politically mature!  As such, the DAB candidates should not be afraid of publicly debating the pan-democratic candidates so that the voters can make a comparisons!  I don't know about any other districts, but the DAB candidate Lee Kwok-ying in Taipo (who is also a Legislative Councilor) has refused to public debate the Civic Party candidate in public forums.  So who can it be true about Tsang's assertion that "in any open, fair and just election, it is a victory for democracy no matter who wins"?

In a democratic election, apart from the maturity of the voters, there must be sufficient information for the voters to make a choice.  Without an election forums and without debate among the candidates, how can the voters choose among the candidates?  Without the RTHK debate between Angel Leung and Andrew To (see Comment 200710#21), who would have learned how 'extraordinary' Angle Leung was?  If the voters only read the self-promoting leaflets handed out by the candidates, they would not have seen the true face of Angel Leung.

If Tsang was genuinely not concerned about "heating up the election" and believed that the DAB candidates were superior to the pan-democrats, there ought to be debates at public forums instead of evasions that result in insufficient information.  No matter how mature the voters are, how do they make rational voters?  Sophistry is about criticizing the opponent while concealing one's weakness.

Yet, if the pan-democrats are overwhelmingly defeated in the district council elections, I would still feel that it was the fault of the pan-democrats.  Regardless of the strategies and tactics of their opponents, they ought to have no fear no matter political conspiracies are worked up by their opponents?  But if Jasper Tsang Yuk-sing said he trust the democratic choice of the people of Hong Kong, then why doesn't the DAB believe that the people of Hong Kong should be able to choose their own Chief Executive in 2002?  Could they believe in the people when it is advantageous to them, but not when it is not to their advantage?

No matter what the outcome is today, no matter whether the pan-democrats win or lose, it is the choice made by the people of Hong Kong.  That should be respected and accepted.  Wins or losses are less important than learning the lessons and improving oneself, while avoiding the unnecessary arguments.

Pan-democracy camp
Democratic Party: 59
Civic Party: 9
Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood: 21
League of Socialist Demcrats: 4
Front Line: 2
Neighborhood Workers: 5
Other pan-democrats and allies: 33
Total: 133 (32.8%)
Pan-leftist camp
Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong: 118
Liberal Party: 16
Civic Force: 21
Other pan-leftists and allies: 117
Total: 272 (67.2%)

Actual results (11/19/2007) (Ming Pao) (numbers in parentheses are the results in 2003)

Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong: 115 (62)
Democratic Party: 59 (95)
Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood: 17 (25)
Liberal Party: 14 (12)
Civic Party: 8 (-)
League of Socialist Democrats: 6 (-)
Front Line: 3 (6)

The fight over the veracity of the South China tiger photographs has gone on for more than a month.  On November 16, a netizen posted a wall poster of a tiger that had the same face, pose and stripes as the one in the official photographs.  Through the Internet, netizens were able to locate the same wall poster across China in Guangzhou, Dongguan, Beijing and other cities.  At the same time, the company that printed the wall poster had been located and its manager said that the wall poster had been printed as early as 2002.  There has been no response from the government, but a verdict has effectively been rendered by the public.

... In retrospect, the doubters have cause to celebrate their victory and be proud of themselves.  At first, the doubts were based upon an outlandish choice: either the Shaanxi provincial Forestry Department failed in its verification process or else it was being deliberately deceptive.  Either way, one is casting doubt upon the deeds and trustworthiness of the government.  Many of us tend to think that the government would treasure its credibility and we are often lazy in our thinking. 

Fortunately, there are some serious people who would rather believe in their knowledge and reason and they believe their own eyes even more when they make judgments.  Even if the wall poster never appeared, this debate has already encouraged many people.  The netizens were courageously stating their doubts, they articulated their ideas publicly and they received huge amounts of support.  The era when the people would blindly believe whatever the government told them is over.  The era when the people did not believe the government but were too afraid or unable to speak out and raise questions is also over.

In this long and extended battle, the behavior of the netizens was praiseworthy.  Both sides exhibited a certain degree of Internet violence, but each major point of argument was based upon logic, rationality and scientific discourse.  Whether it is the ratio of the tiger to the tree leaves, or the quality of the tiger's eyes, the proponents look to win over the other side through reasoning.  The people questioned the authorities not with rude comments, unreliable emotions or weak reasoning.  The people lived up to the old saying: the eyes of the masses are snowy brilliant and the wisdom of the masses is infinite.

In the final key stage, the netizens were incredible in what they did: one netizen took a photograph of his wall poster, the photograph was uploaded, a comparison was made between the photographs, wall posters were found in other cities, the producer of the wall posters was located -- the enthusiasm and effectivelyness of the netizens were touching.  This miracle was accomplished because the creativity of the people was unleashed by the openness and trust on the Internet.

The story is simple.  Through the discovery of a wall poster in which the tiger resembled closely the one offered by the Shaanxi provincial Forestry Department.  This wall poster delighted many people because it seemed that victory was achieved and speech rights in this society are now in the hands of the people.  But the people were successful here because this was a minor incident for which discussion was allowed to be totally open.  Meanwhile, the authorities had not used the full power that they control.  While the people have good results (such as the maturing of the people to think independently and the increasing doubts of the people about their government), these may not be applicable when major incidents occurs.

The District Council elections are coming down the wire.  The pro-"democracy" media are reporting that the situation for the pan-democrats is "grim" because the pro-government camp is using low-key tactics to "successfully cool down the election atmosphere."  Even though the pan-democrats are working harder to canvas votes, the atmosphere for the election is "impossible to heat up" and that is why the pan-democrats are getting grimmer and grimmer.

If the pro-government can cause their opponents' situation to become grimmer by being low-keyed, then their election campaign work must be very easy.  The less they do, the better things are.  No matter what their opponents do, they could just stand on the sideline and make no response.  As long as they don't make the election heat up, they can sit and count their solid votes and win the election!  But this is clearly not what the pro-government camp is doing.  Any unbiased observer can go to any vigorously contested area and see how the pro-government candidates are canvassing for votes.  The pro-government camp realizes very well that the "solid votes" are not enough to win.

According to the standard arguments of the opposition parties, the cooler the election atmosphere and the lower the voter turnout, the "solid votes" of the pro-government parties will play a large role to the detriment of the opposition parties.  Conversely, when the election is heated up and the voter turnout is high, many voters will come out to vote for the opposition and give them big wins.  In the 2003 District Council elections, the voter turnout was a historical high at 44% and the opposition won big.  This seems to prove the theory that "high voter turnout is favorable to the opposition."

But when the election atmosphere is cool and the opposition's supporters do not turn out to vote, what does that mean?  Anyone who is genuinely concerned about the development of democracy in Hong Kong must have this question.  In the past, the opposition has always given themselves the label of "democrats": if you support them, you "are supporting democracy"; when they win the election, it proves that "the majority of the citizens support democracy" and the victory is said to be "a win for democracy."  But when the opposition gets fewer votes and lose the election, then what?  Is this a loss for democracy?  Or the majority of the citizens do not support democracy?  Is the citizens' support level for democracy dependent upon "the election atmosphere"?  Anyone who genuinely believes in democracy will obviously disagree with the above theory.

The fact is that when the government is weak and people are unhappy, many citizens will vote for the opposition.  Voter turnout was high in 2003 because many voters wanted to vote against the government.  But these voters are not necessarily voting for the "democratic" candidates and expect them to do anything after they are elected; they voted this way in order to oust the pro-government parties in order to express their discontent.

... Actually the pan-democratic government who keeps talking about "trusting the citizens" and "respecting public opinion" are precisely the people who have no trust in the citizens and are the least respectful of popular opinion.  On one hand they flatter and praise the citizens for being mature and rational; on the other hand, they complain that the citizens are manipulated by the government and the pro-government parties so that the political reform issue remains cool, or the Legislative Council by-election could not be turned into a "referendum" and the District Council elections cannot be politicized.  In the end, they don't really want to see the citizens be mature and rational, because rational citizens will not be fooled by politicians.

In 2003, the DAB was defeated badly but they never criticized the citizens.  In 2000, the Democratic Party lost many votes in the Legislative Council and publicly blamed the voters.  So who are the real "democrats" here?

"Democracy needs emergency help"?  This is a risible slogan.  In an open, fair and just election, it is a victory for democracy no matter who wins.  It is a basic concept in the believe of the people and democracy.  The people who need emergency cannot be democrats, for they can only be those people who wave the flag of "democracy" but are unwilling to do the practical work to gain the support of the voters.

Earlier on November 5th, I gave a talk at the Hong Kong University Library about Eileen Chang under the auspices of the Journalism and Media Studies Center, Hong Kong University.  That day was the final day of the exhibit of items related to Eileen Chang, many of which were provided by me.
There is a difference between an exhibit and a talk.  In the exhibit, I can show entire documents for reading, but the amount of information is limited by the space as well as the difficulty in providing the proper context for the items.  In the talk, I can present items and discuss the context, but not in detail.
At this time, I would like to run a reprise of the talk at my own apartment.  This is largely the same talk, but with some significant differences.
Whereas I was referring abstractly to the letters between Eileen Chang and my parents, her relatives and other friends, you can touch, feel and read those letters right there.  For example, the 800 plus letters between Eileen Chang and my parents from 1955 to 1995 will be there for your viewing.  Whereas I was referring to other physical objects (such as the 'blankets'), you can touch, feel and examine them right there.  You can even view the 'room' in which Eileen Chang stayed in 1961-1962.
In addition, I plan to remove some of the more mundane items among the previous "thirty treasures" and speak on other issues that I did not address previously.  The new items include:
- Whatever happened between Eileen Chang and the woman known as
炎櫻 (aka Fatima Mohideen/Fatima Milstein)?  There are letters from her to Eileen Chang in the 1980's and 1990's.
- Eileen Chang's relationship to her aunt and brother as shown in the letters
- The trace of the history of <Lust, Caution> from its original version in the early 1950's to its final form in 1977.  The letters will show that it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the patriotic heroine Zheng Pingyu.
- The role of politics in the decision to publish (or not) certain stories
- The current copyright lawsuits on mainland China
The details for this private meeting are:
Date: November 25, 2007 (Sunday)
Time: 2pm to whenever
Location: Somewhere in Mongkok/Kowloon City/Kowloon Tong/Ho Man Tin, Kowloon, Hong Kong.  Details will be provided to attendees

Language: Cantonese

Since this event takes place at a residential apartment, space will be limited.  I estimate that I can only accomodate around 20 persons in my living room.  If you are interested in attending, please send an email to: eswn@zonaeuropa.com with the subject title "Eileen Chang talk" and state your name.  Please do so as soon as possible, because I will close the invitation as soon as I reach the number.
Sorry, the capacity has been reached already.  Details of the location will be emailed to the attendees at a later date.

[in translation]

November 11, Haidian Bridge, 50 meters north, Peking University Resources House, Room 3108, the Utopia Book Club.  This particular function was restricted to Utopia members and students, who had to show proof of identity at the door.

... At 12:30pm, they began to show the edited version of <Lust, Caution>.  The quality of the film was so-so and I suspect that this was a pirated copy.  At 2:40pm, the invited guest speakers came in: Huang Jisu (deputy editor at <International Social Sciences>); Zhu Dongli (researcher at the Chinese Academy of Literary Arts); Wang Xiaodong (researcher at the Chinese Youth Research Center); Guo Songmin (freelance critic); Zhou Guojin (movie director); Li Nan (reporter for <Nanfengchuang>).

... Zhou began with an introduction of the background of the movie <Lust, Caution> and concluded that this is a political movie with many hidden political messages.  Huang then made the keynote address by calling <Lust, Caution> "a sexually transmitted skin disease" and repeated the contents of his blog post <Let us stand up, let Ang Lee get down on his knees."  His conclusion was that "<Lust, Caution> is an insult to the good women of China."

Researcher Zhu took over the microphone and went one step further: "<Lust, Caution> is an insult to the Chinese people."  Zhu compared this affair with similar incidents elsewhere in the world and felt deeply pained: "It is hard to imagine what might happen if someone in Israel made such a film."

Commentator Guo and reporter Li then analyzed the information about the line of thought that led from Eileen Chang to Ang Lee.  Guo even invoked an analogy from the Cultural Revolution era by saying that <Lust, Caution> is like a "big poisonous weed."  Director Zhou said that Ang Lee had plotted carefully in order to make this movie.  All of Lee's previous movies had been ruses in order to gain trust and entry into the China market.  But now Lee has made his final strike to achieve his ultimate goal.  Zhou then suggested that this movie should be classified as a "Chinese traitor movie."

Researcher Wang then led things to a climax by saying that <Lust, Caution>'s female character was based upon the patriotic martyr Zheng Pingyu but Eileen Chang wrote this story because she was a Chinese traitor who hated the people's heroine Zheng; furthermore, Eileen Chang was ugly and therefore she was jealous of the beautiful Zheng.  Wang concluded emphatically: "The ugly female Chinese traitor Eileen Chang wrote a story filled with dark and vile imagination in order to express her hatred against the beautiful heroine Zheng."  So that was how <Lust, Caution> was created!

Wang questioned why this movie could be shown everywhere in China even though mainstream American movie houses won't show it.  "What were all the supervisory departments in China doing?"  Wang won a round of warm applause for his rousing speech.

Reporter Li said that the government should not use the same method against the bastard Chinese traitors Ang Lee and Zhu Xuejin as they had against Yuan Weishi's essay, because "that bastard Chinese traitor Yuan Weishi became a famous hero overnight!"  Instead, "after the movie <Lust, Caution> has finished its run at the cinemas, <Guangming Daily> and <People's Daily> should organize a big criticism campaign against it."

Reporter Li's words caused some disagreement among the guest speakers.  Research Zhu thought that the movie should be banned immediately "in order to make sure that Ang Lee suffer severely in terms of personal reputation as well as box office receipts."

Researcher Wang said that he was angry because he could not see any objection and criticism of <Lust, Caution> in the mainstream media.  Reporter Li comforted the perturbed Researcher Wang by saying, "It's alright because we still have the Internet, even though it is not as symbolically significant as traditional media."

The criticism session ended around 5pm. 

Once upon a time, there was a married couple: the husband is "77" and the wife is "L."  Eventually, "77" fell in love with a third party "Candy" and got a divorce.  The settlement included "L" getting the apartment while "77" got the bank savings and the car.

However, "Candy" was not pleased that "L" got the apartment while she had to live in a rented apartment now.  Therefore, she began to heap abuse on "L" on her blog.

A friend of "L" named "Amazon mermaid" posted how "Candy" was abusing "L."  Some netizens began to make comments at "Candy"'s blog.  In reply, she said: "What right do you hags have to condemn me?  What is this to you?"  This started an Internet flame war.  "Candy" insisted that she was the legal wife, not some third party.  She wrote: "You don't understand the reality, so what are your ranting about?  He should have left that ugly bitch a long ago.  She got that house when my husband paid for most of it ... I am not an unreasonable woman.  I've received good education.  I hope that you won't mind my family affairs."  

Meanwhile "77" also joined the battle: "So what if I got married after I got the divorce.  Isn't this natural?  How can you say that I wronged my ex-wife? ... My wife had the right to say what she wants on her blog.  So what if a woman wants to release some tension on her private space?"

This only stirred up the storm even more.  On November 10, netizens began to run a "human flesh search engine" on "Candy."  Based upon the information on her blog, they uncovered the real names, IDs, mobile telephone numbers, work addresses and automobile license numbers of "Candy" and "77."  All that was published on the Internet within a couple of days.

"Candy" deleted her entire blog, but netizens had already made a cache and posted everything onto the Tianya forum.

On November 12, netizens began calling the Beijing company at which "77" works.  Their ultimate goal was to get "77" dismissed from his job.  According to a company worker, they have been receiving many calls which were disrupting business.  However, the company could not meddle in the personal affairs of an employee.

While this case appears to be similar to the "Bronze Moustache" affair a couple of years ago, the netizens here do not believe that they are using "Internet violence."  Netizens are saying that "Candy" has gone beyond being tolerable.

Nickname: KEPP (supposedly a Beijing girl born in the 1990's)
Name of post: <Those people who don't like the generation born in the 1990's: How are you qualified to criticize us?>
Date of post: November 6, 2007

I don't care what you say, what you think and how you curse!
You will understand this 20 years later!
I ask you, who are white-collar workers who work everyday to earn that meagre salary!
Are you qualified?  You have less money in your bank account than what I am holding in my hand?

You keep struggling slowly!
Every morning, you wake up at 6am and eat a couple of flatbreads with chives!
You jam yourself into the packed public bus!
You suffer the curses of your boss and the laughter from your hypocritical colleagues!
Then you give birth to a child even more selfish than you are!
This is how you will live out your life slowly!

By last count, this post has drawn 31456 page views (559 comments) at MOP and 9246 page views (404 comments) at MSN.  Almost all of the comments were negative.

Apple Daily got the Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme to conduct public opinion polls.  The latest results show that Chan leads Ip by 16%?!  This result is no doubt encouraging the optimists among the pan-democrats, because Chan has finally shaken off Ip!  But for the more cautious people among the pan-democrats, the polls are "not right."  They are doubting that the HKU POP is fudging the numbers.  Rather, they are worried that the leftist voters all say that they support Chan when they are interviewed.  This caused the numbers to be artificially biased.  This particular technique was used effectively by the Democratic Progressive Party against the Kuomintang in Taiwan.
Are these polls reliable?  According to Ming Pao, their own polling showed that the difference between the two women was smaller.  This time, I would rather have the pan-democrats trusting the Ming Pao poll.  The pan-democrats may not realize that polls not only reflect public opinion trends, but they can also be election tools against the opposition!

(Ming Pao)  The Ming Pao poll included 464 persons interviewed by telephone between November 5 and 10.  The results are:
41.38%: Anson Chan
37.28%: Regina Ip
  2.37%: Lee Wing-kin
  1.94%: Ho Loy
  1.29%: Lau Yuk-shing
  0.86%: Siu See-kong
  0.65%: Stanley Tandon Lal Chiang
  0.43%: Cecilia Ling Wai-wan
13.79%: No opinion
ESWN blogger: Please note that there is a difference in survey methodology, because the HKU POP uses people to conduct interviews, whereas Ming Pao uses an automated recorded voice that requires respondents to push buttons to select the right answers.  The biggest with the latter methodology is that there is no control over respondent selection (e.g. in my household, I am always the person to pick up the telephone and my views do not represent every household member), but it is impossible to quantify the bias.