Day Four Of The
"Sexy Photo Gate" (01/31/2008) This story
is still holding the front pages of the major Chinese-language newspapers in
The story today has shifted its emphasis to law enforcement.
(SCMP; no link)
Hong Kong police on Thursday said they had arrested the unemployed 29-year-old in connection with nude pictures purportedly taken of celebrities. These had been posted online earlier this week – a day after an investigation was launched on Wednesday. Police Commissioner Tang King-shing said during a briefing with legislators on Thursday that an arrest had been made. The suspect was detained at his New Territories home. Investigators were trying to determine his role in the case.
Deputy-Commissioner for Operations Peter Yam Tat-wing said there was a substantial amount of evidence connected with the unemployed man. “The service provider handed us the IP address of the individual whose computer contained some of the photographs,” he said. Mr Yam also cautioned the public that circulating the photographs was a criminal offence.
Publishing obscene articles on the internet is an offence under the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance. This also includes the act of reposting the obscene articles or internet hyper-linking to obscene articles, whether for profit or otherwise. Anyone convicted of this offence is liable to a fine of HK$1 million and imprisonment for three years.
(Those Were The Days blog)
So the police "made an arrest." Does this mean that the affair is over? Will the female stars no longer have to live in fear? Sorry, no. Deputy-Commissioner for Operations Peter Yam said yesterday that "the individual may not be the first person who posted the photographs." There are certain difficulties in trying to find the source, but he emphasized that the police have the ability to find those who are circulating those photographs ... the police be able to arrest a hundred or a thousand people who are forwarding the photographs, but that does not solve the case. The culprit is still out there and may continue to post more photographs. The war against the circulators only creates a White Terror in Hong Kong, where netizens are afraid of posting. Meanwhile, these photographs continue to be freely available for downloading at any number of overseas websites. So what good is arresting one or two circulators? Can the Hong Kong police make Google forbid the search for those photographs? Or prevent people from using Foxy to forward the photographs?
The police only know to take some minor action and create the impression that "an arrest" seems to imply that the case has been solved. But they are completely different things. They have only managed to intimidate the ordinary citizens from circulating or distributing those photographs. Even they have admitted that until the person responsible for releasing the photographs, then those articles won't even be forwarded to the Obscene Articles Tribunal. ...
Mandatory reading: A tale of two storms: mainland emergency reporting and the Hong Kong media freeze David Bandurski and Joseph Cheng, China Media Project
 Day Three
Of The "Sexy Photo Gate" (01/31/2008)
Part 1: It is 1am in the morning. The so-called photos #13 and #14 have surfaced. These show a naked woman who resembles Cecilia Cheung spreading her legs. These are high-resolution photographs, and therefore susceptible to technical analysis for computer modification. Previously, the photographs of Gillian Chung were suspect because of the noisy background -- people wondered if the noise had been deliberately added after the first computer modification was made. The details of these new photos should leave nothing to doubt (especially for her husband Nicholas Tse, who must be familiar with the private parts of his wife). Photos #15 and #16 appeared to be higher resolution photos of the initial Gillian Chung series. What else is going to show up tonight? The netizens of the world are staying up and waiting ... You ask: Where are those photographs? Hint: Go to the overseas BBS's -- the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese BBS's have all been "harmonized."
Part 2: Here are today's newspaper front pages:
From the 1-555-CONFIDE blog, here are some statistics on the front page headline stories in the newspapers on January 29 and 30.
Column B=Number of times "transplant" was used on January 29
Column C=Number of times "composite" was used on January 29
Column E=Number of times "transplant" was used on January 30
Column F=Number of times "composite"was used on January 30
Row 2=Ming Pao
Row 4=The Sun
Row 5=Oriental Daily
Row 6=Sing Pao
Row 7=Apple Daily
Row 8=Headline Daily
The shift is probably due to the appearance of more and more photographs that makes the "transplant"/"composite" hypothesis from the Emperor Entertainment Group spokespeople less and less tenable.
Apple Daily said that more than 100 detectives from the Hong Kong police's commercial crime division in the investigation of Hong Kong netizens who have been involved in disseminating those photographs. At this point, more than 30 IP addresses have been locked onto and the respective Internet Service Providers have been asked to provide the user information.
Here is a list of criminal liabilities (via Ronny Tong):
Action: Viewing the photographs
Action: Storing the photographs
Action: Posting the photographs online
Punishment: See the ordinance on the control of obscene and indecent articles
Action: Forwarding the photographs by email or mobile telephone
Legality: Possibly illegal
Punishment: See the ordinance on the control of obscene and indecent articles
Day Two Of The"Sexy Photo Gate" (01/30/2008) Day two of this serial drama continued with a photograph of
a female who resembles actress Cecilia Cheung appearing at 12:30am. The
female appeared to be masturbating. Then at around 3:30pm, someone using
the email email@example.com posted at free.photo.girls.hk a series of
four more photographs of a male who resembles Edison Chen and a female who
resembles Gillian Chung engaging in cunnilingus. The attached message
was "You people want to see more of me and Gillian in action? ENJOY."
These four photographs plus the first one seemed to have been captured from a
video film. At around 6pm, there appeared a photograph of a female who
resembles Cecilia Cheung standing nude in a bathroom.
The pre-release rumors and the phased rollout of these photographs meant that eager netizens were waiting all night and all day at the various bulletin board systems in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. That led to significant slowdowns at some systems, and even total breakdowns for hours (Hong Kong Golden Forum was unreachable in the late afternoon). In mainland China, a netizen posted this story at the Tianya forum and drew the highest comment rate in history over there. By the time the post was "harmonized" at 7:48am January 30, it had drawn more than 2,500,000 page views and more than 13,000 comments covering 72 pages. Meanwhile, the lights kept burning in Hong Kong last night as many people stayed up to wait for the announced soon-to-be-released video clip.
This story continued to be featured on the front pages of the Hong kong newspapers (plus Taiwan's Sharp). When the story first broke open yesterday, it was on the front pages of Oriental Daily, The Sun, Apple Daily, AM 730, Headline Daily, Ming Pao and Sing Pao. Of these, Oriental Daily, The Sun and Ming Pao showed cropped versions of the photographs. AM 730, Headline News, Apple Daily, Metro Daily and Sing Pao provided written descriptions of the photographs without showing them. On January 30, Oriental Daily, The Sun, Apple Daily, Sing Pao and Headline News continued to feature this story on their front pages.
Sing Tao and Headline News are adamant that these photographs were computer modifications, but the other newspapers are no longer insisting on that position. The newspapers are talking less about apprehending the mastermind criminal and emphasizing on the crime of distributing these photographs under Hong Kong law about obscene/indecent articles. Notwithstanding the intense scrutiny, there has been no convincing conclusive that these photographs have been modified. In the fraud detection process, more instances out there means greater opportunity to detect the flaws. But the new photographs only make it clear how good the job was. If these photographs were modified, then the person behind this has amazing skills.
The keyword right now is 'original material.' In the usual computer modification jobs, the head of someone is taken from one photograph and attached to the body of another person in another photograph. So a great deal of scrutiny is made on the unnatural lines, awkward body positions, etc. So far, nobody has spotted any technical manipulations. But where are the original photographs of these celebrities? They must exist somewhere out there and the whole affair would be over in an instant if just one of those original photographs can be found.
Here are two candidates:
Taiwan By The Numbers (01/30/2008) (TVBS) (1,073 Taiwan
residents age 20+ interviewed by telephone on the evening of January 29, 2008
about Ma Ying-jeou's "green card" and other major political issues)
Q1. It is less than 2 months from the presidential election. Will you cast a ballot?
8%: Not sure
12%: Definitely not
Q2. On March 22, the presidential election will be between the Hsieh-Su team (DPP) and Ma-Siew team (KMT). If the election were to be held tomorrow, whom would you vote for?
26%: Hsieh-Su (DPP) (compared to 26% on January 15 right after the parliamentary elections)
53%: Ma-Siew (KMT) (compared to 56% on January 15 right after the parliamentary elections)
Q3. Do you think that the ''green card" affair will impact Ma Ying-jeou's candidacy?
7%: A lot of impact
27%: Some impact
45%: No impact
21%: Don't know
Q4. Overall, do you think Ma Ying-jeou is trustworthy? Do you think Frank Hsieh is trustworthy?
52%: Ma Ying-jeou is trustworthy
22%: Ma Ying-jeou is untrustworthy
27%: Don't know
32%: Frank Hsieh is trustworthy
32%: Frank Hsieh is untrustworthy
36%: Don't know
Q5. KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's daughter has American citizenship. Do you think that she needs to abandon her American citizenship?
26%: Don't know
['No' answers by political party affiliation:
Day 1 of The "Sexy Photo Gate" (01/29/2008) As predicted
yesterday, the so-called Edison Chen/Gillian Chung/Bobo Chan "photographs"
made the front pages of some of the Hong Kong newspapers.
(Apple Daily; Apple Daily) The storm broke at around 8pm on the evening before yesterday. A netizen posted a photograph of a man and a woman in bed at the Hong Kong Discussion Forum. These two bore some resemblance to Edison Chen and Gillian Chung. Other netizens began to spread that photograph to their friends and other forums. At the Hong Kong Golden Forum, more than 2,000 people posted comments within a period of five hours. At around 3pm, another photograph appeared showing a man and a woman engaged in a sexual act. The two bore some resemblance to Edison Chen and Bobo Chan. There is now a third photograph showing a woman who bore some resemblance to Cecilia Chung.
(SCMP) Police are investigating the case of an allegedly obscene photo of singer-actress Gillian Chung Yan-tung circulating on the internet. Emperor Entertainment (Hong Kong) Limited issued a statement yesterday saying it had found a photo of Chung, which was computer-modified to put her face on a half-naked girl, on the Web. "We are chasing the source of the circulation, the circulator and the downloader," Emperor Entertainment said. "Any distribution, downloading, transference or publication of the image is illegal. "We have already passed the case to lawyers to follow up. If the distributor or upload person [of the image] is confirmed, we will seek court action." Lawyer Wong Kwok-tung said uploading a computerised photo that degraded Chung could be criminal defamation. "Gillian Chung's image is that of a decent celebrity, and this act obviously is meant to degrade her. It can be a criminal offence," he said. Mr Wong said it was not difficult to trace the source of the distribution of the image, but downloaders of the image should bear no responsibility. "The Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance penalises only the people who publicise the image, but there is no penalty for [obtaining it]," he said.
The photographs purportedly first appeared
at an overseas website (bcoms.net). Therefore, the Hong Kong police
would have to go through Interpol to obtain the information on the uploader.
However, the Hong Kong police should be able to find the person who posed the
photographs at the Hong Kong Discussion Forum (discuss.com.hk).
Here are the Taiwan newspapers that had this story on their front pages:
Here are the cropped sections of the two photographs as published in the Hong Kong/Taiwan newspapers. The cropping was done in order to adhere to the laws regarding obscene materials.
For mainland China coverage, see NetEase. Where does this fit in the campaign against "pornographic and illegal" websites?
Recently, people have been posting a simulated photograph of Emperor Entertainment Group artistes Gillian Chung and Edison Chen in bed. Emperor Entertainment Group has filed a police report. According to the Emperor Entertainment Group spokesman, that photograph had been manipulated and the person in the photograph was not Gillian Chung. Therefore, they have filed a report with the police as well as asked their lawyer to seek legal redress. The spokesperson also said that they have begun an investigation. When they find the source, they will take legal action. The spokesperson also reminded people that it is illegal to publicly show pornographic photographs. The spokesperson called on everybody to cease showing or forwarding the relevant photograph to avoid legal trouble.
This story has already gone through several stages. At first, someone posted a fuzzy photograph of two persons: a man who looks like Edison Chen and a woman who looks like Gillian Chung. The woman in the photograph showed her right nipple as well as her vagina. So was it really those two? Netizens began a debate over the authenticity of the photograph. Some Photoshop experts thought that it was nearly impossible to fake a fuzzy photograph because of the difficulty to reproduce the noise in the background in a consistent way. Other people thought that the photograph sounded fake.
Then there were other netizens who chose to do detective work on the background shown in the photograph. Was this the bedroom of Edison Chen? There was a bed, some stuffed animals, a bed post, a wall poster, etc. Does anyone have a photograph of the bedroom of Edison Chen? Someone went to YouTube and pulled down an Edison Chen video with a brief shot of a bedroom (which may or may not be his bedroom). A comparison showed some similarities, but it is far from identical (e.g. there is a wall poster, but it is a different one; there are stuffed animals but they aren't the same ones; etc). Another netizen looked at the bottom of the woman's foot and compared it against known photographs of Gillian Chung, and determined the calluses and toes were different.
Later in the day, another photograph emerged. This one is of a woman who looks like female singer Bobo Chan fellating a man who looks like Edison Chan. Now you see why the Hong Kong discussion forums have imploded today.
Are you one of the few people in Hong Kong who hasn't seen those photographs yet? Well, you will have to look elsewhere because I am not posting them here. I am telling you about this story so that you can prepare yourself for tomorrow's newspaper coverage. Will you see this as the front page story due to the insatiable, unrestrainable appetite for lurid sensationalism? Or will you see nothing at all due to self-censorship and/or fear at offending the Emperor Entertainment Group?
Government Website Sells Date Rape Drug (01/27/2008) (IT.com.cn)
On the afternoon of January 25, a netizen made the claim that the Wanning city
(Hainan province) government website was carrying an advertisement for date
rape drug. Indeed, in the section on product supply information, there
was an item titled: "Knockout drug 13082**905 (supplied)." (Note: the **
has been added by the website). The item itself provided detailed
descriptions of the Hong Kong GHB powder, knockout drugs delivered by
cigarettes or spray devices together with compositions, prices, methods of
applications and possible adverse effects. "Honest trading, real
merchandise, solid prices, refund if ineffective!!! Our company values
out reputation and we guarantee our product. If you really want these
products, then stay away from the cheaters who sell fake merchandise to those
who urgently need these products. Please do not lose out because you
want to save a few yuan. If their products are so good then why are they
willing to sell them for only 300 or 400 yuan? You know that even though
our merchandise is slightly more expensive, but the effectiveness of our
products is guaranteed by our company name ... If you are interested in also
selling these products and have no access, you can contact us. The price
is negotiable if your order is big. Please call." The telephone
number 13082**905 is not working at this time.
(Southern Metropolis Daily) A couple days ago, a netizen exposed the fact that someone was selling knockout drugs at the Wanning city government website. While such advertisements appear all over the place, it is rare to see one showing up at a government website. No wonder the Chinese netizens are sneering at the government for this slip. Recently, the Ministry of Science and Technology website became suddenly popular because a bunch of netizens posed frivolous questions which were addressed seriously. That website ended up deleting all those questions.
These two somewhat funny incidents brought out a unified theme when considered together -- the issue of how the government and the citizens connect with each other. It is said that billions of yuan are spent in each year on government websites but nobody has actually evaluated the communication effectiveness.
When the website administrators fall asleep on the watch and let advertisements for illegal products (such as date rate drugs) slip through, people think this is funny. When the website workers get too serious and formal, people think this is funny too. So who can a government website provide "what the people want to see" and "avoid showing poor taste" at the same time? Well, they are going to have to take a few steps forward and set up some very smart and meticulous standards; they are going to have to use their authoritativeness to increase information content which meets the needs of the public. For example, they can keep a formal pose but they also have to show some sense of humor; more importantly, they must not storm into a rage and start deleting comments and banning netizens. More generally speaking, they must follow the logic of existence on the Internet.
Jimmy Lai's House Got Fire-bombed (01/27/2008) (Apple
Pao) Jimmy Lai is the chairman of the Next Media Group, which
includes Apple Daily and Next Magazine among its media properties. Jimmy
Lai lives at 81 Kadoorie Avenue. Last night at 10:30pm, the security
guard at St. George's Court next door spotted a fire by the side entrance to
Jimmy Lai's house and immediately called the police. Jimmy Lai's maids
came out and used the car-washing hose to put out the fire. There were
no serious damage or injury, as only part of a tree was singed. At the
scene, the firemen found a nylon bag with several plastic bottles containing
combustible fluid inside.
Now I happen to live on Kadoorie Avenue, and I did not notice this incident last night (there were no sirens, flashing lights, or anything). This is not an easy locale to toss a fire-bomb since Jimmy Lai's house is at the end of a cul de sac with no passer-by traffic). The area also has its own private team of Nepalese security patrol. It is highly likely that someone on the street has security cameras installed and will therefore capture the very few people who went up the street at around that time of night.
Ming Pao also attached a map of the location of Jimmy Lai's house. The labelling of the green area as Mongkok Stadium is wrong, as that is the Diocesan Boys School.
At many Chinese government department websites, there is a "public question/answer" section, and the Ministry of Science and Technology is no exception. In fact, the MOST website has become tremendously popular on account of these Q&A's. Here is a sample:
Question: My little doggie has fallen ill and not eaten for several days. Can the uncles/aunties at the Ministry of Science and Technology tell me how I can make my little dog better?
Answer: We recommend that you take your little doggie to the veterinary hospital for treatment.
The key feature here is that most of the recent questions have been deliberately frivolous, and the answers were delivered in deadpan earnestness that conveys a cool humor. Other examples are about how to apply for rights to a perpetual motion machine and the future of the Chinese soccer. When asked about what to do about a "very yellow and very violent" pop-up web page, the answer was to install anti-virus software on the computer.
These Q&A's have delighted netizens on account of the fact that a central government department website is apparently willing to answer every and any frivolous question. For them, the spirit of MOST is something that all other government departments should emulate.
But there are unexpected consequences. The appreciate netizens began to cross-post these Q&A's elsewhere, and this drew more visitors to the MOST website to post more frivolous questions. As a result, the staff has been overloaded with questions. The proliferation of frivolous questions has actually made it very difficult for the MOST staff to identify and reply to the serious questions that pertain to the mission of the website.
So MOST has taken the drastic action of purging all those spoof questions (and their answers) from the website. So isn't this strange? When netizens come to the MOST website to express their appreciation of the spirit and energy of the staff to deal with the most frivolous questions, those questions and their answers have been completely purged.
 Taiwan By The Numbers (01/24/2008) (TVBS) (1,017 persons age 20 or over interviewed on January 14-15, 2008. The numbers were randomly selected from the telephone directory and then the last four digits were randomized.)
Q1. On March 22, the presidential election will be held with the candidates being Ma-Siew (KMT) and Hsieh-Su (DPP). If the voting was to take place tomorrow, which team would you vote for?
By political party identification:
(Note: The major shift is this -- in September 2007, the TSU went 79% for Hsieh-Su and 8% for Ma-Siew. After the Legislative Yuan elections, the TSU is now 34% for Hsieh-Su and 51% for Ma-Siew.)
Q2. On March 22 when the presidential election will be held, there will also be the referenda to join the United Nations? Will you be picking up those ballots? If so, are you picking up the DPP ballot to join the UN or the KMT ballot to re-enter the UN?
25%: the DPP ballot only
9%: the KMT ballot only
8%: both ballots
16%: Don't know
(Note: So 25%+8%=33% will pick up the DPP UN for Taiwan ballot, while 9%+8%=17% will pick up the KMT version. If the voter turnout is 80%, then 33%x80% = 27% of all registered voters will pick up the DPP UN for Taiwan ballot, which is a lot less than the 50% threshold needed to pass. The KMT version is in even worse shape at 17%x80%=14%. If these referenda do not get passed, it means that ... the Taiwan people are not interested in entering/re-joining the United Nations! Yet poll after poll have consistently shown that the percentage is 80% or higher. The problem here is that the people resent the fact that this issue has been hijacked as a campaign tool for political parties, and the debacle must be laid firmly at the feet of the two political parties. How to reverse the situation? The presidential candidates cannot be seen to push these two referenda because the people clearly treat these as cynical manipulations and the candidates.)
The first major blow of his political career came in 1996, when he ran as Peng Ming-min'srunning mate under the DPP banner for the nation's first presidential election. At that time, Hsieh was alleged to have taken inappropriate political donations from sect leader Sung Chi-li (宋七力) who claimed he had supernatural powers. Hsieh suffered fierce criticism from the public then because he and his wife were followers of Sung. Sung was charged with fraud in 1997 due to supernatural powers claims and for encouraging his followers to donate money to him. Hsieh temporarily disappeared from the political scene following the scandal.
Yesterday, the Taiwan High Court held the re-trial of Sung Chi-li. The 1997 trial for fraud had seventeen defendants including Yu Fang-chih, the wife of DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh, who was charged for helping Sung publish the book <Universal Light Body> to attract followers. Yu and others were found not guilty, but Sung and his assistant Cheng Chen-tung were found guilty and given seven years sentences. The second trial and the re-trial ended up with acquittals.
At issue in the court trials was that the believers believed in Sung and the non-believers did not believe in him. This was a matter of personal faith and the law cannot decide on who is right or wrong. Objectively, the court could not compel Sung Chi-li to demonstrate that his spirit could leave his body and move around as he claims. It was true that Sung had his photographer use computer enhancement to produce photographs of himself with a ring of light around his head. But the believers testify that they gave Sung their money out of joy and gratitude and not solely on the basis of those doctored photographs.
The court proceedings yesterday were about a re-trial after the Supreme Court returned the last two acquittal findings for a re-trial. In the 2002 court trial, Frank Hsieh's wife Yu Fang-chih testified: "Both my husband and I still believe in Sung's divine powers to this day. I witnessed his divinity with my own eyes." That was why the press mobbed Sung Chi-li when he showed up with an entourage of followers yesterday. Ordinarily, people cannot get near him because of that entourage. But yesterday, Sung stopped to speak to the media.
Q: Do you support Frank Hsieh?
A: I am glad to see him succeed. I obviously support him. I wish him success.
Q: You once said that Frank Hsieh has the look of a president? Do you still think so?
A: I think that he's got it.
Q: Will you get on stage to campaign for Frank Hsieh?
A: (bitter smile) How can I get on stage with him! If I get on stage with him, I will be cursed to death!
Lee Yuan-tseh, Nobel laureate and former president of the Academia Sinica, spoke on Taiwan politics again in an interview with Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun on Jan. 22. Lee expressed support for Frank Hsieh, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ...
During the interview, when recalling his pivotal support for helping the DPP gain power, Lee criticized President Chen, saying "he has shortcomings, he is not an ideal president." He further commented on the course pursued by the president by pointing out that many corruption scandals committed by his aides have discredited his administration. Therefore, he added, Hsieh must part company with him and walk a different road.
People have their own definitions and standards for intellectuals, but there seems to be some common characteristics. ... Some people think that true intellectuals ought to have 5 qualities:
1. Intellectuals are mental laborers
2. Intellectuals are experts in cultural matters
3. Intellectuals do not constitute an independent social stratum
4. Intellectuals are detached from politics
5. Intellectuals are the conscience of society
I call those who satisfy 1 through 5 reflective intellectuals. I call those who satisfy only 1 through 3 but not 4 nor 5 cynical intellectual thugs.
When Taiwan became democraticized, there emerged an intellectual thug -- Lee Yuan-tseh. A reflective intellectual needs to have a sense of social responsibility even if he is detached from politics. This sense of social responsibility does not imply that he has to jump into the political maelstrom. It is about making observations from the outside and then offering social insights and critical comments. Samuel P. Huntington pointed out that intellectuals are detached from politics -- they are natural oppositionists because they are never part of the existing order. When they appear on the social stage, they will play the role of revolutionaries. This means that the intellectuals will always reflect on society. Only by being detached from the political maelstrom can the intellectual observe society objectively.
In the 2000 presidential election, Lee Yuan-tseh supported the Democratic Progressive Party. We give Lee the benefit of doubt that he did so in order to achieve the transfer of power between political parties. In the 2004 presidential election, we give Lee the benefit of doubt again that he wanted to give the Democratic Progressive Party another chance to gain more experience and correct their mistakes. But here we are in 2008 and we see no plausible reason why Lee Yuan-tseh continues to support the DPP.
I have thought about this for a long time. The only explanation is this: Lee Yuan-tseh's conscience has been eaten by a dog. His actions showed that he never cared about transfer of power and he was not bothered by the economic incompetence of the DPP or the disappointment of the people of Taiwan. He had willingly become a running dog intellectual for the DPP.
It is one thing for Lee Yuan-tseh to become a running dog intellectual for the DPP. This is his personal decision and outsiders cannot be picky. But when someone with the aura of "Nobel prize" hanging over this head keeps misleading people, there are bad effects. In so doing, Lee Yuan-tseh has not shown even a minimal sense of social responsibility. It is therefore appropriate that we label him an cynical intellectual thug.
But did Lee Yuan-tseh really endorse Frank Hsieh as president? On January 18, Lee was interviewed by TVBS and asked directly, "Who do you choose?" Lee Yuan-tseh declined to provide an answer. He said: "That is because I have still not heard about the political views of the two candidates. I will have to look at them in detail." More generally, he said: "I have not said at this time which political party I am supporting. The KMT party has a super majority in the Legislative Yuan. Some people think that checks and balances are important in a democratic society, and therefore they say that it would be better to have a DPP president. This is what many people are thinking."
Regardless, the problem with Lee Yuan-tseh is as follows. In 2000, he said that Chen Shui-bian would make a good president and that endorsement might have tipped the election in Chen's favor. In 2008, Lee may yet come out to say directly that Frank Hsieh would make a good president. But given the track record, is this going to be a helpful endorsement for Frank Hsieh? Whatever else, it has not been helpful to the reputation of Lee Yuan-tseh.
Estimating The Number of Chinese Internet Users (01/23/2008)
The 21st CNNIC report issued in January 2008 says that there are 210 million
Internet users in China. A Chinese Internet user is defined as a person
six years or older who has used the Internet within the past six months.
The population of all persons six years or older is divided into the following strata:
Sub-population A: People with residential telephones
Sub-population B: Students living in dormitories of the tertiary educational institutions
Sub-population C: People without residential telephones, who are sub-divided as follows:
Sub-population C1: People who own Personal Handy-phone Systems (Xiaolingtong or "Little Smart")
Sub-population C2: People who own mobile telephone systems
Sub-population C3: People who have neither Personal Handy-phone Systems nor mobile telephones
The CNNIC survey was directed conducts solely within the A, B, C1 and C2 sub-populations. Sub-population C3 was ignored on the grounds that Internet usage among them would be relatively small.
Sub-populations A and C1 are sampled together, because they are basically indistinguishable. The sample was drawn as a multi-stage stratified sample based upon the estimated number of residential telephones in various cities within various provinces. The residential telephone banks in the selected locations were listed and randomly sampled. The response rate was 36.5%. The resident picking up the telephone becomes the interviewee. The resulting sample is then weighted by age, gender and education.
The sub-population B sample design was also a multi-stage stratified sample of students within dormitories within tertiary educational institutions. 200 institutions were selected. The fixed line telephone banks at the institution are listed and then numbers are randomly dialed. If the number belongs to a dormitory room, then the student who picked up the telephone becomes the interviewee. Thus, there was no random selection of respondents within a dormitory. This was done as a matter of convenience and the rationale is that the students in the same dormitory tend to be similar. The total sample was 4,000, with 20 interviews per institution.
The sub-population C2 was allocated at first in proportion to the number of mobile telephone numbers within the province. Any province allocated fewer than 150 cases has its quota raised to 150 cases. The total sample size was 10,498. Random mobile telephone numbers were generated and called until the C2 quota is reached for each province. When a call is connected, the respondent is checked for sub-population C2 status (actually, what happens if the person also has a residential telephone at home?). There is no description as to what happens if there is no answer (did they call back multiple times? or did they just move ahead to a new number?).
This above section of the study pertains to the estimation of the number of Chinese Internet users and their characteristics. Other parts of the survey use website intercept surveys, website spider-crawlers and domain registration information.
Technically speaking, the study contains flaws that do not meet the highest professional standards (e.g. no respondent selection within household or dormitory). This was forced as a matter of convenience as this is already a very costly project and it would cost a lot more to do it right.
Chen Shui-bian's Toilet Bowl (01/23/2008) (Apple
Daily) On November 14, 2007, Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian
visited a temple in Tainan city. For the security and convenience of the
president, the temple administrators constructed a simple toilet bowl within
the temple for a cost of around NT$20,000. Chen was the only person who
used the toilet bowl, which was un-installed immediately afterwards. The
temple administrators then came up with the idea that they could sell this
presidential toilet bowl to raise money. So they named it the 龍液貯
(the storage device for the dragon's fluid). They were about to set up
an Internet auction when a DPP supporter heard about it and paid NT$100,000
for it. The temple administrators are delighted with this outcome.
"The temple god is must be working his miracle!"
Ying-jeou's Revenge (01/22/2008) (Apple
Daily) On day three of the Ken Yu parking incident, his father
Yu Tien has suddenly reversed course. Previously, he had asserted that
his son was beaten up because of KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's
inflammatory about taking 'revenge.' Yesterday Yu Tien said: "Upon
further thought, Ma Ying-jeou's revenge talk is not likely to be directed
against me. Sometimes Mr. Ma talks hastily. I can understand
that." Yu Tien said that "this is a minor matter" that the police is
still investigating, and he hopes that it will blow over soon. He said
that his son had not been seriously injured and will not be filing charges
against the other party.
Yu Tien commented that a political figure is different from an entertainment worker, "because I am now in a situation in which I cannot say things carelessly. My son has improved a lot, because he knows that he should not create trouble given the circumstances of his father. He is considerate on my behalf. The media should not have blown this up!" Yu Tien complained that the media reporting was unfair and unbalanced because all the eyewitnesses that were interviewed were the relatives of the other party. "The media did not understand the situation and they were just speculating."
Why did Yu Tien make this sudden reversal? The public opinion over the past two days had been almost universally negative against Yu Tien and Ken Yu. It is well-known that Yu Tien and his wife doted on their only son Ken Yu. "Every time that the son gets into trouble, they always blame someone else!" This time, the public reacted negatively. The saying was that this caused DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh 100,000 votes in southern Taiwan.
Ken Yu Shed Tears (01/22/2008) (Apple
TVBS) Yesterday, Ken Yu, his professional model girlfriend Penny
and his mother held a press conference. Ken Yu said: "When I get
bullied, I can do nothing else other than touch my nose and say that it does
not matter. So I have been beaten up. Could it that even if I get
beaten to death that it would still be my fault?" Concerning the
allegation that Ken Yu was the first to hit someone during the dispute over
car parking, he said: "How can they lie like that? If I really had a
fight with him or if I had hit him, then where do my injuries come from?
I did not even make any move. I did not even fight back." He said:
"I was about to get out of the car when he reversed his car suddenly and
almost hit me. That was all there is. I never identified myself or
who my father is. I did not say anything. But after the many
people finished beating me and my face was covered with blood, he was the one
who said: 'Do not think that you are big deal just because your father is a
legislator!'" As Ken Yu spoke, he got emotionally distressed and started
crying. His mother held him in her arms and wiped away his tears with
tissue paper. Meanwhile the girlfriend was also crying as she explained
that there were seven people in the other party and three of them were
attacking Ken Yu. Then the three of them embraced each other and cried
loudly. Elsewhere, his father Yu Tien who is a newly elected DPP
Legislator continues to insist that this was a beating incited by KMT
presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's revenge talk.
When apprised of this press conference, the Tsai family was outraged. Tsai's wife said that her husband was smaller in stature and much older than Ken Yu. "He beats my husband up, he refuses to apologize and now he wants to sue us. What kind of world are we living in?"
(Apple Daily) In the evening of January 21, 2008, Apple Daily polled 582 persons. The survey question was: "Ken Yu said as he cried that he did not hit anyone. Do you believe him?"
66.2%: No, he must be the person who did the hitting
9.5%: Yes, he really did not hit anyone
24.4%: Don't know/no opinion
Why does the public lack sympathy for Ken Yu? That is because he has a bad history, including a marijuana case in Canada; a mental breakdown (manic/depression) when he was harshly made fun of by the "poisoness tongues" (i.e. the panel of judges) on an entertainment show; an ex-girlfriend who charged that he beat her violently on a regular basis, including whipping her with a leather belt; etc. Therefore, the public may be tired of this farce. They are also wondering if this is about politics or his entertainment career.
 Ma Ying-jeou Takes Revenge (01/21/2008)
Well-known former entertainer and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator-elect Yu Tien said yesterday that a man had attacked his son for political reasons. Yu Tien's son, Ken Yu , 24, told police he was in Wufenpu, Taipei, with his girlfriend on Saturday night when he got into an argument with a driver surnamed Tsai who had almost hit his girlfriend with his car in a parking lot. Ken Yu said he asked Tsai to apologize, but the man became angry and attacked him. Ken Yu said two of Tsai's friends joined in the assault. Ken Yu told police the trio had said: "So this is the son of a legislator?" Police said Ken Yu visited a hospital for treatment after the incident. Afterwards, accompanied by his father, he went to a police station to file charges against his alleged attackers.
Yu Tien said he suspected his narrow defeat of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) opponent Chu Chun-hsiao in the Jan. 12 legislative elections might have prompted the attack on his son. Tsai, 60, told police yesterday that Ken Yu had struck him and his car before he retaliated. Tsai, who showed his injuries to police, filed charges against Ken Yu. Noting that KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou had said earlier last week that he would avenge Chu, Yu Tien said "the revenge has now taken place."
(Apple Daily) According to Ken Yu, the other party said: "So you are the son of Yu Tien? What is so big deal about having a Legislator as your father?" He said that there seven people on the other side, and three of them pushed him onto the ground and beat him with their hands and elbows. According to Tsai, Ken Yu kicked his car and then hit him first. He also said: "I had no idea that he is the son of Yu Tien." The police heard both sides of the story and decided that it was a dispute over a parking space.
When Yu Tien stepped out of the police station, he told the press that he believes this has to do with Ma Ying-jeou's talk about revenge on behalf of Chu Chun-hsiao. "I believe that Ma's words were provocative." The provocation deepened ethnic hatred, and thus caused his son to be beaten.
(Apple Daily) According to neighbors, the scene of the incident is right in front of a convenience store owned by a son of Tsai. According to relatives, "Ken Yu is built like a bull and he has the nerve to complain after beating up an old man!" As for Yu Tien's charge that this was a pan-blue revenge tactic, the relatives sneered: "Tsai has no political affiliation. His brother-in-law is deep green!" This source said that the brother-in-law knows Yu Tien and made telephone calls on behalf of Yu Tien during the Legislative Yuan election.
(Apple Daily) Frank Hsieh: 國民黨搞仇恨，把民主競爭當成民主戰爭，未來就不只是誰的兒子被打而已，社會無法和解共生，台灣人民將被迫回到街頭抗爭。(The KMT stirs up hatred. They treat democratic competition as democratic warfare. In the future, it is not just about whose son gets beats up. Society will not be able to resolve peacefully and co-exist. The people of Taiwan will be forced to fight back in the streets.).
(Apple Daily) 580 persons interviewed on January 20, 2008.
Question: Yu Tien's son claims to have been assaulted and Frank Hsieh says that it is due to the hatred that Ma Ying-jeou caused. Do you agree?
74.7%: Disagree -- this has nothing to do with Ma Ying-jeou
14.0%: Agree -- Ma Ying-jeou should be held responsible for this incident
11.4%: Don't know/no opinion
The Virtual Stock Market In Taiwan (01/21/2008) (UDN)
It is two months before the presidential election. A gambling syndicate
has appeared in Tainan county, with the initial betting odds of Ma Ying-jeou
to win by 500,000 votes over Frank Hsieh with 1:1 payout. Already, a
group of pan-green supporters have already raised NT$2 million on Ma will have
at most 500,000 votes than Hsieh.
According to the DPP person named Tsai who raised the the NT$2 million from twenty people, a head-on election will not be won or lost by huge margins. Although the DPP lost in the Legislative Yuan elections, the voter turnout was only 58% compared to the 80% plus in the last two presidential elections. Thus, the independent voters will be crucial and he thinks that the idea that the KMT must not allowed to dominate is brewing among the minds of the people.
The gambling syndicate head named Chen said that no pan-blue supporters have placed bets in Tainan as yet. Based upon previous experience, the two sides will place about the same amount of money. It is also noted that the gambling odds may shift over time. In 2004, the initial odds were Lian-Soong over Chen-Lu by 800,000 votes. After the <228 holding hands to defend Taiwan> rally, the odds were changed to 300,000. After the March 19 shooting incident, the odds were changed to even.
Relevant Link: Virtual Stock Markets in Taiwan March 3, 2004.
The Ilan Prosecutors' Office is dealing with a case involving the illegal entry of a Chinese dissident, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman Tung Chen-yuan said on Friday. Tung was referring to Cai Lujun (
蔡陸軍), who entered the country last Sunday using his younger brother's name and disguised as a fisherman.
After arriving in a Chinese fishery workers' reception center in Nanfangao in Ilan County, Cai told a local human-rights association that he wanted to seek political asylum, Tung said. The Fisheries Administration and the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) have handled the case in accordance with regulations, Tung said.
As Tsai violated the National Security Law and Criminal Code by committing forgery, the CGA transferred the case to the Ilan Prosecutors' Office for investigation, Tung said. He added that government agencies were checking Cai's background, adding that if his identity and testimony check out, he would not be indicted.
After the conclusion of the judicial process, the MAC would call an interagency meeting, including officials from the Ministry of the Interior, to review the case, ascertain Cai's true aspirations and assist in arranging for him to travel to a third country and help with his application for international refugee status with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Tung said. He added that the government will see to Cai's care during his stay in Taiwan.
What was the "care" that Cai Lujun would receive? See Apple Daily:
Last month, Cai Lujun was released and he received a temporary residence card from the Mainland Affairs Council. He said that he was sent to the Ilan Number One Detention Center. At the time, administrator Lin Qingbao (badge number 5199) brought him to the cell, where he was promptly assaulted by seven to eight other inmates. When he called to Lin for help, he was told: "You need to obey the order of the cell leader." Cai Lujun found out that the "cell leader" was a "veteran" inmate who led a group of other mainland Chinese inmates. During the 136 days of detention, Cai Lujun witnesses twenty to thirty beatings ordered by the cell leader, administered by other inmates and allowed by the administrators (who are either guards or military draftees). He said that some inmates were physically tortured (see illustrations):
When Cai Lujun was released, he wrote a letter of complaint to the Director of the Immigration Department and was told that: "We will investigate." The Detention Center director came to see him and said: "We will improve" and then asked him not to have any contacts with the media. Cai Lujun said: "This is even worse than a Communist jail."