Georg Blume is a veteran reporter with Die Zeit (Germany), and his interests are in human rights and environmental protection issues in China.  When the disturbances took place in Tibet, he went to Tibet immediately and reported live from there.  On this day, he and his colleague Kristin Kupfer were expelled from Tibet.  Before that, he was interviewed by Spiegel Online via telephone.

Concerning the general situation in Tibet, Blume said that there are troops everywhere, the Potala Palace is sealed off and most shops are closed; the streets are filled with debris because the sanitation system had been paralyzed a few days ago.  But gradually, citizens are venturing out onto the streets.

Do the local residents dare to speak with foreigners?  Blume's personal experience was that the Lhasa residents had no inhibitions of talking to foreigners.  On this very day, a Tibetan related observations on the disturbance to him and explained how the Han people have oppressed the Tibetan in economic and religious terms.

Blume said that these conversations revealed the hatred of this Tibetan had towards China.  Nevertheless, this Tibetan said that during the entire disturbance on Friday, the Chinese armed police did not fire a single shot.  According to his guess, the people who perished were mainly the Han people who were burned inside the shops that they owned.

Blume was then asked about the bloody and realistic photographs that were broadly circulated on the Internet.  "For example, one can see the bloody bullet entry on the head of a young monk."  Blume replied that one cannot make a rash judgment on the Chinese army because there is no way to establish responsibility for the disturbances last Friday.

He said that when the disturbances began, he thought that it was instigated by the Chinese armed police opening fire.  In Lhasa, there are uniformed PLA soldiers everywhere and it is easy to come to that conclusion.  But after speaking to more and more Tibetans, he thought that such a conclusion was rash.

Recently, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said at a press conference that the Chinese government and its army were "extremely restrained" in putting down the disturbances in Tibet.  But the Tibetan government in exile claimed that at least 80 Tibetans have died.  Blume was asked which side is more credible.

Blume thought that he cannot personally determine how many people have died.  He can only believe what eyewitnesses tell him.  Of course, these eyewitnesses saw only parts of the disturbance some of the time whereas the area of the disturbance extended for several kilometers.  But Blume can say that the current Tibetan disturbance is not a bloody suppression by the Chinese government in the manner of the Tiananmen incident of 1989.  He believes that the government is sending a large number of troops to Tibet as a show of force.

Finally, Blume was asked about the reports that the Chinese police are sweeping through Lhasa and arresting Tibetan "suspects".  Blume said that he had witnessed the sweeps.  But he said that it was difficult to judge these mass sweeps, because a foreign reporter cannot know what happens inside the police stations.  Finally he said that there was a reason why information is being sealed, but one has to be worried that more terrible things will happen next.

March 11, TVBS: Ma-Siew 54%; Hsieh-Su 29%
March 10, TVBS: Ma-Siew 53%; Hsieh-Su 29%
March 9, TVBS: Ma-Siew 50%; Hsieh-Su 31%
March 7, TVBS: Ma-Siew 54%; Hsieh-Su 28%
February 29, TVBS: Ma-Siew 54%; Hsieh-Su 30%
February 24, TVBS: Ma-Siew 49%; Hsieh-Su 29%
February 22, TVBS: Ma-Siew 53%; Hsieh-Su 31%
February 15, TVBS: Ma-Siew 53%; Hsieh-Su 29%
January 31, TVBS: Ma-Siew 56%; Hsieh-Su 30%
January 29, TVBS: Ma-Siew 53%; Hsieh-Su 26%
January 26, TVBS: Ma-Siew 54%; Hsieh-Su 23%
January 15, TVBS: Ma-Siew 56%; Hsieh-Su 26%
September 19, TVBS: Ma-Siew 53%; Hsieh-Su 30%
August 28, TVBS: Ma-Siew 54%; Hsieh-Su 32%
August 15, TVBS: Ma-Siew 51%; Hsieh-Su 30%
August 2, TVBS: Ma-Siew 47%; Hsieh 28%
July 11, TVBS: Ma-Siew 49%; Hsieh 25%
June 24, TVBS: Ma-Siew 51%; Hsieh 27%
May 22, TVBS: Ma 50%; Hsieh 25%
May 4, TVBS: Ma 50%; Hsieh 29%
January 29, TVBS: Ma 60%; Hsieh 20%

March 10, China Times: Ma-Siew, 49%; Hsieh-Su 22%
March 5, China TImes: Ma-Siew 53%; Hsieh-Su 21%
February 24, China TImes: Ma-Siew 49%; Hsieh-Su 23%
February 21, China Times: Ma-Siew 47%; Hsieh-Su 22%
January 25, China TImes: Ma-Siew 46%; Hsieh-Su 23%
January 16, China TImes: Ma-Siew 53%; Hsieh-Su 21%
January 13. China Times: Ma-Siew 52%; Hsieh-Su 20%
January 9, China Times: Ma-Siew 48%; Hsieh-Su 25%
January 3, China Times: Ma-Siew 48%; Hsieh-Su 23%
December 28, China Times: Ma-Siew 45%; Hsieh-Su 24%
November 20, China Times: Ma-Siew 37%; Hsieh-Su 21%
November 16, China Times: Ma-Siew 37%; Hsieh-Su 22%
November 8, China Times: Ma-Siew 36%; Hsieh-Su 25%
August 14, China Times: Ma-Siew 37%; Hsieh-Su 25%
June 24, China Times: Ma-Siew 40%; Hsieh-Su 20%

March 10, United Daily News: Ma-Siew, 52%; Hsieh-Su 22%
March 9, United Daily News: Ma-Siew 49%; Hsieh-Su 21%
February 29, United Daily News: Ma-Siew 55%: Hsieh-Su 18%
February 24, United Daily News: Ma-Siew: 49%; Hsieh-Su 21%
February 14, United Daily Press: Ma-Siew 56%; Hsieh-Su 18%
January 13, United Daily News: Ma-Siew 60%; Hsieh-Su 18%
December 28, United Daily News: Ma-Siew 52%; Hsieh-Su 23%
October 24, United Daily News: Ma-Siew 50%; Hsieh-Su 25%
September 22, United Daily News: Ma-Siew 51%; Hsieh-Su 27%
August 14, United Daily: Ma-Siew 52%; Hsieh-Su 22%
June 24, United Daily News: Ma-Siew 50%; Hsieh 23%
June 4, United Daily News: Ma 58%; Hsieh 17%
May 6, United Daily News: Ma 43%; Hsieh 28%
April 29, United Daily News: Ma 52%; Hsieh 21%

March 7, Apple Daily: Ma-Siew 41%; Hsieh-Su 20%
February 13, Apple Daily: Ma-Siew 36%; Hsieh-Su 20%

Augsut 14, ERA: Ma-Siew 46%; Hsieh-Su 22%

[Note: Global View Magazine applies a formula to allocate the Undecideds/Refusals based upon historical patterns, and therefore their number add up to 100%]
March 10, Global View: Ma-Siew 62%; Hsieh-Su 38%
February 20, Global View: Ma-Siew 63%; Hsieh-Su 37%
January 18, Global View: Ma-Siew 62%; Hsieh-Su 38%
December 19, Global View: Ma-Siew 61%; Hsieh-Su 39%
November 19, Global View: Ma-Siew 59%; Hsieh-Su 41%
October 18, Global View: Ma-Siew 59%; Hsieh-Su 41%
September 20, Global View: Ma-Siew 61%; Hsieh-Su 39%
August 21, Global View: Ma-Siew 62%; Hsieh 38%
July 20, Global View: Ma-Siew 62%; Hsieh 38%
June 20, Global View: Ma 57%; Hsieh 43%
May 20, Global View: Ma 57%; Hsieh 43%
March 3, Global View: Ma-Siew 62%; Hsieh-Su 38%

March 9, South Society: Ma-Siew 41%; Hsieh-Su 38%
August 9, Kuomintang: Ma-Siew 58%; Hsieh-Su 42%

Most of the public opinion polls have been stable without fluctuating too much.  New and significant revelations such as the extramarital affair of Ma Ying-jeou's father, his sister cheating on examinations on behalf of others, his wife stealing newspapers from the Harvard-Yenching University Library and Ma's American 'green card' seemed to have failed to impress the public.

The lone exception against the comfortable lead by Ma-Siew is the poll conducted by the South Society with the statement: "South Society believes that the media reports, commentaries and public opinion polls have always been highly not credible.  Therefore, it has decided to publish these poll results for a fair and balanced consideration."  The South Society contains no description of sample size, response rate and methodology as the other polls have disclosed.

On election day, reality will show who was right and who was wrong here.  By law, poll results cannot be disclosed as of ten days before election day.  So things may have changed since the last polls (e.g. the March 14 Lhasa 'oppression').

Opinions towards Taiwan

Taiwan Independence:
80%: oppose
12%: support

Confidence in cross-strait reunification
56%: confident
33%: not confident

Taiwan rejoining the United Nations
58%: oppose
25%: support

Believe "one country, two systems" applicable to Taiwan
61%: yes
27%: no

Chinese leaders from 1989:

Deng Xiaoping
77%: had accrued more merits
  3%: had accrued more faults

Zhao Ziyang
48%: had accrued more merits
  4%: had accrued more faults

Yang Shangkun
14%: had accrued more merits
16%: had accrued more faults

Riot in Tibet: True face of western media

(China Matters)  Black Days for the Dalai Lamma.  March 18, 2008.


The Chinese have seized on the riots to discredit the Dalai Lama.

By linking the Dalai Lama to the unrestwhich he opposes (and the Chinese know he opposes)the Chinese are forcing the Dalai Lama either to repudiate the Tibetan militants and split the emigre Tibetan movement, or endorse the insurrection and permit the Chinese to portray him as an impotent captive of extremist forces.

For those unfamiliar with the Chinese pattern of denunciation, polarization, division, and destruction this is a classic tactic--call it Police State 101--intended to isolate the target of a purge by forcing him to denounce his associatesor force the target to incriminate himself by not forswearing alliance with a vulnerable, isolated, and discredited element that the Chinese government is about to land on like a ton of bricks.

What does the Dalai Lama do? Support the militants? Or denounce them?

What he does is searchdesperately--for the third or middle way out :

"I say to China and the Tibetans don't commit violence," the Nobel Peace laureate told reporters. ...

He said that "if things become out of control," his "only option is to completely resign."
"If the Tibetans were to choose the path of violence, he would have to resign because he is completely committed to nonviolence," Tenzin Taklha said. "He would resign as the political leader and head of state, but not as the Dalai Lama. He will always be the Dalai Lama."

In case the point needs to be driven home with a 50-pound sledge, the Dalai Lamas threat to resign is not meant to intimidate the Chinese. Theres nothing the PRC would like better than to see their Nobel Peace Prize-winner adversary sideline himself from Tibet's political struggle.

Its a statement to Tibetan militants that the Dalai Lama refuses to be stampeded from his advocacy of non-violence and engagement with the Chinese government on an autonomy platform.

Interestingly and I might say somewhat pathetically, the Dalai Lama is still trying to define Tibetan dissent as a non-violent movement and create political space for himself by questioning whether the undeniable violence is being stirred up by outside agitatorsthe Chinese:

It's possible some Chinese agents are involved there," he said. "Sometimes totalitarian regimes are very clever, so it is important to investigate."

Given understandable Tibetan anger against the occupation being manifested in dozens if not hundreds of outbursts, the Chinese will have no shortage of atrocity tales and photographs to brandish without fomenting incidents or generating forgeries .

In fact, theyve probably already got enough material.

Meanwhile, here are some more photos from China (via Wen Wei Po) to force the issue:

(Xinhua News Agency, Lhasa office)


It began with an Internet post around noon: Several minutes ago, a Tibetan person murdered two young men on Telecommunication Road in Chengdu city.  One of the victims was standing at a bus stop, and the other was hailing a taxi.  Right now, the police have roped off Telecommunication Road.

Then more photographs were added on other Internet posts, including one about an explosion on a Number 78 bus.

The story was amplified into:

On March 18, extremely terrifying events took place in Chengdu.  At around the same time, Tibetan terrorist actions occurred on the east, west and south sides of Chengdu.  At Huashi Hospital in the south side, five Tibetans suddenly used knives to attack and killed a patient waiting in the front, a pedestrian and a man waiting for a taxi.  Two other attackers injured other members of the public as well.  On a Number 78 bus on the websies, a Tibetan suddenly poured gasoline on a backpack.  Then he sprayed the remaining gasoline onto the passengers.  A fire was set off, but fortunately no one caught fire.  When the fire was put out, it was discovered that there were five kilograms of dynamite in the bag.  On the east side, several Tibetans suddenly assaulted pedestrians including small children.  Two Han youth were also killed by a knife-wielding Tibetan at Telecommunications Road.

At 10:30pm on March 18, the deputy director of the Chengdu public security bureau held an emergency press conference to deal with the Internet-fueled rumors.  Here are the facts as he presented them.  At around 10:30am, a man visitor to Chengdu attempted to flag down a Number 78 bus.  As the spot was not a bus stop, the driver did not open the door.  So the man took out a knife and and smash the glass on the door.  Aftewards, the man vented his fury by vandalizing two parked cars.  During the process, he wounded a man who was waiting for a taxi.  The police arrived quickly, put the man under control and took him away.  So far, it has been established that the man is from the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan province.

(Boxun)  According to an eyewitness account: "I was coming out from Huahi hospital and ready to take the Number 45 bus home.  As soon as I came out, I saw a Tibetan man swinging a machete.  I was walking towards the bus stop and I went past a parked white car.  The Tibetan smashed the car window with his machete because he wanted to go after the people inside.  The driver started the car and sped away in terror.  The Tibetan turned around and saw a young man coming down on a bicycle.  With a few swings, he knocked the young man down on the ground.  Someone called the police.  The police cars came and more than a dozen of them cornered him by the iron fence in front of a garage.  He kept swinging his machete and he even stabbed himself.  Many more anti-riot and armed police officers arrived.  The standoff lasted about 30 minutes.  Finally, several armed police officers knocked his machete down and everybody rushed up to subdue him.

A lot of the Internet posts and photographs on this case is just sheer nonsense.  The photograph of the bus that was said to have exploded on Chushi Road came from the Fuzhou incident of August 8, 2005.  

I recognized this photograph because the memorable linked post that I did.  Some of the other photographs from the Internet posts are likely to come from other incidents as well.

It is sometimes said that rumors stop with the intelligent people.  But sometimes intelligence is overwhelmed by basic instincts of fear.  The Tibetan angle here worked only because of what happened on March 14, 2008 in Lhasa.

Theory #1

The Dalai Lama clique knew all along that now was the time to take advantage of the Olympic moment.  Had they done the same thing a year ago, the impact would be less because the Olympics was still far away.  If they tried it next year, the Olympics card would no longer work.  Earlier in the year, Dalai Lama visited Europe and United States where he tested support for his planned action.  The decisive moment would be March 10, on the 49th anniversary of the first Tibetan uprising and eventual exile.  On that day, lamas and Tibetan civilians were ordered to hold demonstrations.  When the Chinese public security personnel and armed police officers failed to react aggressively, the provocative actions had to be escalated over the next few days.  On March 14, the order was given to conduct a widespread race riot and ethnic cleansing against all Han Chinese people.  In this CCTV video clip below (around 0:15), a lama dressed in the crimson garb dealt a flying kick to knock open the front door of a Han Chinese shop.


Still, the Chinese public security personnel and armed police officers were nowhere to be seen even though Lhasa was covered by thick black smoke.  Where did they go?  The Chinese government knew that they were being provoked into taken forceful action and that would be presented as "forced suppression of a peaceful demonstration."  Therefore, the Chinese police were under a 'stand down' order; furthermore, if attacked personally, they were not to fight back.  The riots only stopped when the Dalai Lama clique saw that the media coverage was now shifting to the incident as a "race riot" and "ethnic cleansing" instead of a peaceful demonstration.  For example, see the men with the knife, the chain, the stick and the burning Chinese flag in the photograph below.

And then there is that famous 40-second video clip of the Han motorcyclist being assaulted by Tibetans.


But even after all, the Dalai Lama refused to acknowledge much less condemn the race riot perpetrated by followers and instead urged the western world to prevent the cultural genocide of Tibet.  By this time, the credibility of the Dalai Lama is totally shot, for the Chinese government has won out by being passive and patient.

Theory #2

In Chinese, the term for "crisis" consists of two component words: "Danger" and "Opportunity."  While there was a danger posed to the Beijing Olympics by the Tibetan separatists, it was also an "opportunity" to deal with them.  Everybody knows and expects the Tibetan separatists to cause trouble in the lead-up to the Olympics.  In terms of timing, now is the moment when the strike should be made to leave room for public pressure to build and work.  The Dalai Lama had no intention of starting any violent uprising.  In fact, he has stated that he supported the Beijing Olympics.  If the followers of the Dalai Lama will not demonstrate, then the Chinese government would do it for them.  On March 14, Chinese government agents would stage an apparent riot.

In this CCTV video clip below (around 0:15), a lama dressed in the crimson garb dealt a flying kick to knock open the front door of a Han Chinese shop.  But you must not be deceived by this video, because videos can lie.  This monk and the other civilians around him were transported to this location in a military truck to play out a scene according to a pre-written script.  Conveniently, a CCTV camera was positioned from a vantage point to record all the action.


Similarly, the men with the knife, the chain, the stick and the burning flag were all hired hands.  After all, why did they need any weapons when the security forces were nowhere to be seen?  Conveniently, a photographer was present to film this magnificently composed shot.

As for that famous 40-second video clip of the so-called Han motorcyclist being assaulted by Tibetans, this is completely in reverse of the facts.  Through mass migration, there are now more Han Chinese in Lhasa than Tibetans.  The motorcyclist was a Tibetan and his attackers were Han Chinese hooligans roaming the streets looking to assault any ethnic Tibetan unfortunate enough to cross their paths.


Through a series of staging and lies, the Chinese Communists have cleverly created the impression that there had been a race riot.  Their next step is to expel all foreigners and reporters from Lhasa.  Once the potential eyewitnesses have left the scene, they are now free to make mass arrests based upon the list of targets that they had compiled previously.  The western governments have been totally hoodwinked by these staged videos and photographs.  Instead of defending freedom of speech and assembly in Tibet, they are only asking the Chinese government to "act with restraint" (that is, "Don't kill them! Just throw them in jail and let them rot there for twenty years!").  Although the Chinese government appears to have lost face from the March 14 incident, they have actually succeeded beyond expectations in their campaign to eradicate the Tibet separatists with the assent of the rest of the world.

There is no way to tell whether these theories are true or false, because they are not falsifiable.  They are matters of faith -- you choose one position and all facts (such as photos and videos) can be rationalized to support and reinforce that position.

Relevant Links: China plays victim for its audience  Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times; Tibet witnesses describe 'mayhem everywhere'  Ching-ching Ni, Los Angeles Times

Tibet has just seen the worst disturbances since 1989 and the world is watching how China is coping with this incident.  The latest developments are: The Tibetan authorities have temporarily stopped allowing foreigners to enter Tibet and those already in Tibet are advised to depart.  Five Hong Kong electronic media reporters have also been "arranged" to depart.  They had their recordings of armed police officers and public security personnel deleted or confiscated, and the photographs on their computers were also deleted.  This close-minded and untransparent action meant that China has lost a powerful opportunity to rebut the outside charge that it had suppressed peaceful demonstrations.  Instead, it created the impression that the Chinese are "shutting the door to beat the dog."

After the disturbances last Friday, the official Xinhua agency and CCTV quickly reported on the situation . Although their reports were incomplete, it was at least an improvement over the delayed (or even completely missing) reports in the past.  The Tibetan official attending the two Congresses in Beijing answered press questions.  Yesterday Tibet Autonomous Region Chairman Qiangba Puncog held a press conference and described the disturbances in detail.  So one can say that at this time, the outside world has some information that is relatively open and transparent coming through the official channels about events in Tibet and even Tibetans in Gansu province.  As in any other country where similar disturbances occur, the government is more credible if its official version is "verified" by the civilian media.  The Chinese government had such an opportunity this time, but it failed to make use of it.

The Dalai Lama held a press conference in India and said that the Tibet incident was a case in which the Chinese government used force to suppress peaceful demonstrations.  Such a tone was also basically presented by the western media.  But what kind of force did the Chinese government use to suppress these disturbance?  From the reports, we did not see any public security personnel or armed police officers acting against or attacking the rioters.  If such videos or photographs exist, the western media would have surely given blanket coverage and the Chinese government would be under a lot more pressure than now.  Instead, people watch the videos out there and they saw scenes in which the mobsters wield knives and sticks to assault, smash, loot and burn and also set fire to schools, private homes and shops on the main streets.  Even an ordinary citizen passing by on a motorcycle was stopped and assaulted.

Therefore, these scenes showed that this disturbance was not a peaceful demonstration.  These scenes do not support the conclusion that the public security personnel and the armed police used force to suppress a peaceful demonstration.  The facts are the most powerful force to dispel misperceptions.  But just as the authorities began to emphasize that peace and stability have returned to Lhasa and the schools are re-opened, they also began to "expel" outsiders, including the Hong Kong reporters.  The authorities had also asked the rioters to surrender before midnight in order to gain leniency for their crimes.  The timing of these actions gives the impression that the authorities want to "shut the door to beat the dog."  This impression could have been altogether avoided if only the matter was handled properly.  In fact, some foreigners could have been convinced to switch their views, especially the prejudiced western media.

There has been no evidence so far to support the rumors that there was suppression by armed force, shootings or tank deployments.  If there is nothing to hide in the process, the authorities should have permitted the reporters to gather news on their own.  When the facts get out through the civilian media to the world, they will gain more agreement and understanding.  But there are no more foreigners or reporters left in Tibet.  So even if the authorities had nothing to hide, there is bound to be speculations and conjectures that the "suppression" is about to begin.  In truth, the scenes in the videos show mob activities that should be pursued in accordance to the law.  Politically sensitive disturbances like the ones in Tibet ought to be happened openly and fairly, or else it becomes "secret suppression."  Thus, the expulsion of "outsiders" is inappropriate as well as unnecessary ...

Then there is the unique photograph below.  The question is whether you use it or not.  Apple Daily made a blow-up of that photograph.  Would you use it at all?

(Those Were The Days blog)

During my vacation, I was catching up on the news.  Yes, I say "catching up" as I watched the cable television news reports on the Tibet disturbances.  I saw the news clip from CCTV and this was obviously a riot.  You can say this was resistance but the theme has to be peace.  I saw these Tibetans wielding knives and iron rods and chasing after Han and Muslim people.  They were vandalizing and looting Han shops.  You will feel that that this was a riot and it was a reasonable thing for the Chinese government to send troops in to protect the people.

Of course, the same thing in the BBC and CNN reports has the emphasis on the Chinese government sending troops in to suppress Tibetan demonstrators, firing, killing and injuring many Tibetans.  Ming Pao quoted The Times: "If the Chinese behaves the same way as the Myanmar military regime, people will detest them to the point of overcoming their Olympic spirit."

Unless you were there to see what was happening, the same event may be "manufactured" into completely different "news" by different "media."  On the basis of the official Chinese video clips, or the western media reports, one cannot understand the matter better.  You must read all of the reports and then you get a better picture.  So people who only read one newspaper ought to read more newspapers.  In Hong Kong, you should definitely read Apple Daily and Oriental Daily.  You should also read Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao because if you don't know what Beijing and the leftists are thinking, you won't see the other side of the "news."

(TVBS)  Previously, Chuang Kuo-jung has impressed with some famous sayings.  With respect to KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou, Chuang once said: "Ma Ying-jeou gave me the feelign that he is a sissy.  He may never ever learn the meaning of courage in his lifetime."  With respect to Taipei mayor Hau Hailong, Chuang said: "Hau Hailong seems to love Chiang Kai-shek a lot.  I see that they are embracing each other so closely together that people think that they must be gay."  On this particular day, Chuang Kuo-jung said: "Ma Ying-jeou's dad talks about morality every day, but he was fooling around with women every day.  His goddaughter became the daughter that he fucked instead.  For someone like that, his whole family are liars!" 「馬英九的爸爸每天滿口仁義道德,卻跑去開查某(台語,嫖妓玩女人),乾女兒變成幹女兒啦!這種人全家都在騙人。」  Chuang Kuo-jung has offered his resignation this evening.

Chuang Kuo-jung also said today: "When he faces up to the Chinese Communists, his knees will weak and he will kneel down.  So if Taiwan elects Ma Ying-jeou, then everybody can wait and get what has been happening during the last two days in Tibet.  We can expect to be massacred and suppressed.  This is why we oppose sissy weaklings such as Ma Ying-jeou."

P.S.  This incident was reported in Taipei Times as follows: "In related news, Ministry of Education Secretary-General Chuang Kuo-jung (莊國榮) submitted his resignation last night because of remarks he made at a DPP rally yesterday morning insinuating Ma's father, Ma Ho-ling (馬鶴凌), had affairs with several women."  No, the insinuation was not the issue here.  The real problem is the use of obscene language by a Ministry of Education Secretary-General during a political campaign speech. 

Apple Daily: Lockdown in Tibet

Oriental Daily: Lhasa Riot, More Than 100 Dead

Sing Tao: Lhasa Riot, At Least 10 Dead

What does one paper say "More than 100 Dead" and the other says "At Least 10 Dead"?  It depends on whom they choose to believe.

Not all newspapers featured Tibet on the front page.  The Sun had the story of the 35-year-old prostitute who was murdered during a robbery.  This woman came to Hong Kong as a mainland bride married to a man in his 70's.  She worked as a prostitute to support her husband and 8-year-old son.

YouTube is blocked inside China (see Danwei).  If it were available, it would have been even more of a battlefield.  In YouTube, you enter the keyword "Tibet" and you get a listing of videos with that keyword.  You can sort on "relevance" which could return stories that are interesting but unrelated to the current events.  You can sort on "date" and  you can a listing by chronological order of posting.  There is a propaganda war going on YouTube because this is clearly one of the top video news sites.  In a propaganda war,  you win the share of voice and then you can win the share of hearts and minds.  Therefore, you want the videos that favor your narrative to dominate.  You also want unfavorable videos to be drowned out.  Therefore, you mobilize your people to post as often and as much as possible.

A case in point is this video: Free Tibet! The real truth!  If you want to drown this out, you make many more posts so that it gets way down on the "date" sort.  The countermeasure is to get someone else to re-post that video again.  Thus, this video has been posted many times already, with each post accumulating a small number of views.  The point here is that using YouTube to track Tibet developments is low-yield, high-maintenance work.

51-year-old Hong Kong resident Ma Chiu-sing went to jail once for threatening to poison supermarket beverages in 2001 unless his demand for certain government officials to resign was met.  He had signed his letters "Hong Kong Bin Laden."  In 2006, Ma was out of jail and he sent five threatening letters to Oriental Daily for which he was sentenced to serve nine months in prison.

Yesterday at around 9am, Ma Chiu-sing was released from Stanley prison after serving his time.  Ma began to walk down Tungtauwan Road towards the bus station.  When he reached Stanley Village Road just across the Stanley police station, a 39-year-old Vietnamese illegal alien named Bui suddenly leaped out of a parked car and attacked Ma with a two-feet-long, two-inch-diameter wooden stick.  Ma was hit in his right foot first.  When Bui swung the stick at Ma's head, but Ma ducked in time.  Bui lost his balance as well as his stick.  Ma charged forward, subdued Bui and called the police (note: the police station was just across the street).  The car from which Bui came out sped away with several unidentified men.

According to the police, Bui said that he was trying to settle a personal grudge with Ma.  The police think that this is disingenous because there were mulitiple doubts:
(1) Bui is an illegal alien, so why would he risk exposing himself?
(2) Why would Bui attack someone right across the street from a police station?
(3) How did Bui find out that Ma would be released from prison at that specific time?
(4) Ma has no idea who Bui is -- Bui speaks only Vietnamese and Ma does not understand a word of that.
(5) Who are the pepole in the car that got away?

So what is this about?

This is otherwise an ordinary crime story, but for the fact that Oriental Daily figures in the case.  For example, there is a discrepancy between Oriental Daily and Ming Pao in describing Ma Chiu-sing's crime.  Oriental Daily said: "After Ma Chiu-sing was released from jail the first time, he sent threatening letters to the Oriental Press Group on five occasions.  Ma was arrested by the poilce again.  Last June, Ma was found guilty on two counts of criminal threat and sentenced to nine months in prison."  Ming Pao said: "In 2006, Ma got out of jail and he sent letters to the Oriental Press Group.  In the letters, he pointed out that the two founders of Oriental Daily had used profits from heroin smuggling to found the newspaper.  He wanted the police to extradite the two founders to stand trial in Hong Kong.  Last year, he was found guilty of criminal threats and sentenced to nine months in prison."

Today, information on Tibet is duopolized by two different political propaganda machines.  One machine is located in Beijing, and the other in Dharamsala.  Since Tibet is to a large extent still under a state of blockade, other individuals or organizations find it very difficult to obtain independent information (especially at the macroscopic level).  Like it or not, people who are concerned about Tibet are getting most of their information from these two propaganda machines.

The bad thing is that the information from these two sources is almost surely conflicting with and even completely opposite to each other.  Faced with this absurd situation, the solution is to choose your position first and decide which side you want to stand with, and then you treat the information from that side as true and everything from the other side as false.

This formula is not adopted by everybody, and yet there is no alternate way to make assessments based upon data.  The western world is suspicious and disgusted with the propaganda machines of communist countries, so the western world and its media tend to believe in the Dalai Lama.  Meanwhile, the "patriotic" (nationalistic) Chinese, even though they may object to the Chinese government on other issues, stand with the Communist Party on the Tibet issue.

If you have any level of understanding about Tibet, you will realize that the determination of truth from lies is not that easy.  Both Beijing and Dharamsala have elements of truth in what each say, but they also tell many lies.  Even if the Dalai Lama is respected by everybody, his propaganda machine still issues propaganda for political purposes that are as removed from the truth as the Beijing propaganda.

Whereas ordinary lies are deliberate attempts to deceive people, some of the lies about Tibet are often sincere.  As far as Communist China is concerned, they honestly believe that they have cause to boast about their rule in Tibet and the many resources and money that they have invested there, and so they are aggrieved and angered when they are accused of oppressing Tibet.  As for the accusations from the Dalai Lama side, no matter how removed from the facts they might be, the basic sincerity should not be in doubt.

YouTube is currently not available in China (see Danwei).  If you can get on YouTube, you will find contesting versions of what is happening in Tibet.

There is also the print media.  Here is an eyewitness account at The Guardian:

Oh my God. Oh no. That's crazy. One hundred people are trying to stone one man. A man was trying to cross the street with his motorcycle - they were trying to stone him but it's so crowded I can't see whether they got him or not.  

We came out for a walk about at about five today. I knew something was happening because there were a lot of people on the street. We were on Sera Street, which goes to the [Klukang] monastery. It sounds like the noise came from there; it sounds like at first they had been fighting in the temple.  We saw people running and people in this hotel told us to get in quickly as the crowd was coming. They seem OK here, maybe the owner is Tibetan. All the other hotels have smashed windows.  

The residents are very angry. They are throwing stones at anyone who is Han [Chinese] or from other minorities like the Hui, who are Muslims. It seems like it's ethnic - like they want to kill anyone not Tibetan.  

I would say it's a riot here but I think in the centre it's worse. There's a lot of smoke - we can see it where there have been burnings. I heard people saying the authorities were firing, using guns. We don't know.  Here we have seen people trying to stone anyone they can - Han and other minorities, not foreigners. The Tibetans had stones and knives. I saw Chinese people running away - there was nothing they could do.  We don't see any police around here. Maybe they're all in the centre and are too busy. It's very violent.

Oh my God. Someone has a gun in front of me. There's a group of about 20 people - two of them have handguns. They are walking the street.They're shooting. They didn't have uniforms, but the way they were in a group I thought maybe they were police. They went down the street and the first one fired, that's for sure - I think the others did; there was so much noise I can't be sure. Then some of the citizens threw stones, but not at them - in the other direction. So I don't know if they were police or maybe Tibetans.

I have just been out to get my things. We are staying at the hotel tonight. There are still people on the streets but only Tibetans - if they see anyone Chinese they throw stones.  Three times people raised their arms and then when they saw I was white they stopped it. 

The thing that surprised me most was that I saw no police or soldiers.  I saw three people assaulting a man - I was 50 metres away, but I think he was Chinese. They kicked him and then one man had a knife and used it. He was lying on the floor and the man put the knife in his back, like he wanted to see he was dead.  "I had to get away, there were people throwing stones.  When I came back he was gone - I don't know if he's dead. 

Then I saw people who had obviously been beaten or stoned. There wasn't blood on them but they were so shocked.  This area used to be a place where Tibetans and the Chinese were friendly.  I think this is going to get worse. One person told me 300 people have died in the city centre [the Guardian has no information to substantiate this claim]. I just don't know.

From the Chinese blogosphere, there is little that can escape the censorship on this most sensitive topic of this moment (see Washington Post).  Here is a translation of a section of blog post (Ireland, Tibet and Obama by Drunkpiano) which mirrors the same frustrations of Wang Lixiong:

Over the past two days, it seems that a small group of people in the southwestern part of China ... (three hundred words are omitted here).  Frankly speaking, I have read some books about the disturbances in Tibet during the late 1980's, and I felt that those lamas were really neither as Tibetan, monkish nor blue-sky-white-clouds as we might think.  I watched the BBC news today.  Even the liberal Economist reporter who supported Kosovo independence so fervently reported that the Tibetan "rebels" were smashing, vandalizing and torching all vehicles and buildings connected to China ... the same things if they were not perpetrated by persons wearing lama garbs would be described as 'mob action' anywhere else in the world.

On the issue of Tibet, we are accustomed to listening to one set of lies in China.  Today from there, we are listening to the set of lies from the other side.  Actually, if they want to go independent, they can just invoke their natural rights.  There is no need to go through the hysterical shouting and tragic lying.

To refuse to provide electricity, water and roads is racial discrimination.  To provide electricity, water and roads is to destroy the purity of a culture.  The Communists have really gotten themselves into a Catch 22 situation.

I am reminded that Barack Obama keeps telling us that "we can change."

Then I remembered that a friend got annoyed and said: "Change?  Change what?  Please define what is to be changed first!"

Amidst all that noise, I have translated a post by an anonymous blogger (see March 14, 2008, Lhasa).  This is written by a Han Chinese from Lhasa, and there is no way to authenticate this.  If this is Chinese propaganda, then it is also true that the post has been "harmonized" within China (that is, nobody can read it) because the blogger expressed dismay at a comment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Qin Gang.  The copy of the post that I translated from was cross-posted to an MSN Spaces blog.

This case was first reported under the title "The Largest Mobile Phone Pornography Case in China" but netizens are calling it the "Beijing Sexy Photo Gate."

In May 2007, several workers at a certain mobile-phone value-added services company were arrested by the police for suspicion of dissemination of pornographic information.  During the subsequent investigation, it was discovered that the company had disseminated 28 sexy photos a total of 253,000 times.

In February 28, the Beijing Xicheng district procuratorate filed charges against four employees.  The defendants were charged with distribution of pornography for profit.  The procuratorate also cited the law that more than 250,000 hits result in a prison term from ten years up to life.

The trial occurred at a time when the Edison Chen Sexy Photo Gate was right in the public eye.  Therefore, the fates of these four young people also received public attention.  Some people were concerned that they were being sentenced too heavily for warning purposes under the prevailing social conditions.

A critical point in the case is whether the number of actual viewings exceeds 250,000 or not.  According to one of the lawyers for the defendants, "Based upon hidden rules within the industry, the 250,000 hits is not equal to the actual number of photos delivered to users."  For one thing, more than 10% of the hits were directed within the company itself and therefore these hits sh ould be excluded.  The mobile telephone company does not want to deal with all the value-added services companies.  So they might drop the ten with the lowest hits while offering special favors to the ten with the highest hits.  Such practices motivates companies to pad their  hits.

Within the tallying of transactions in the WAP industry, the most basic unit is the page views.  Every time that a page is viewed, all the photos on that page are counted as hits.  In practice, when a page is clicked, not all the photos get downloaded.  For example, the network might be busy and the user lost patience and interrupted the downloading.  Or the network connection may have been dropped due to noise.  When the user clicks again to ask for the same page, this is counted as a brand new page view (with all the hits) when in fact it is the same unique user.  If all these factors are accounted for, the total hits for those 28 photos was only 33,700.  The corresponding penalty is under three years of jail time.  The procuratorate has replied by saying that this was hypothetical analysis, which does not constitute evidence." 

The word "scapegoat" has been mentioned frequently on the Internet, because the public does not understand why the company has not been sued.  After the incident, the company's business license was revoked.  Among the four defendants, the most senior person was the head of the WAP department.  No other senior officials stood trial.  The defendants' lawyers argue that it required the collaboration of multiple departments within the company to implement the distribution of the 28 photos.  Furthermore, the four defendants were clearly not profiteering for themselves.  Instead, they were employees who merely followed orders from their superiors.

The procuratorate replied that the law only mentions profiteering, which could therefore be taken to mean either for oneself or others.

According to industry insiders, the four defendants are paying a price for the general practice.  "WAP businesses will often encroach on erotica, but very few companies have ever been penalized so far.  This was the operating environment."  When the authorities finally decide to crack down, someone is going end up paying a price.

Early yesterday morning, a two-minute-long video clip began to be circulated on the Internet.  The clip is divided into three segments.  The first clip was taken inside a Heng Seng bank branch office with female workers dressed in uniforms.  This served to identify the principal female character as a worker there.  The second clip was taken in a hourly-rate motel room, in which the principal female character appeared in a nurse's uniform.  The third clip was an act of sexual intercourse in a bedroom.

According to information, the principal female character took her mobile telephone for maintenance at a mobile operator shop.  She did not remove her files before doing so.  The technician found many video clips, including some erotic content featuring the attractive female principal character.  For the past month, these video clips have been circulated among a small circle.  Someone even looked up the personal information of the principal female character, went to the Heng Seng bank branch office to check her out and came to report: "It's really her!"  Yesterday, three of the segments were posted on the Internet.

This case is identical to the Sex Photos Gate in the process.  That is, a piece of high-technology equipment was taken to a shop for maintenance and a technician downloaded and distributed private material stored on the equipment.

The difference is that the Edison Chen, Gillian Chung, Cecilia Cheung and friends are celebrities, whereas the principal female character here is an ordinary citizen.  The focus now switches to the police.  Will the 19 members of the Commercial Crime Bureau be put on this case?  Will the technician be hunted down?  Will the uploader(s) be pursued via the FBI, InterPol, whatever?  Will the citizens think that there are two sets of rules: one set of rules for the rich and powerful, and another set of rules for the common citizens (known colloquially in Hong Kong nowadays as "we can just go and suck dick!").

The man explained that the drug is to be used on women, one package at a time.  The cost of a package was 10 RMB.  He tipped the reporter to mix the powder with beverage or liquor, but not mineral water.  When the reporter asked why it does not mix with mineral water, the man was unable to come up with an answer.

The reporter wondered if the drug was effective.  The man took out the other package in the black box and said, "Each box contains four packages.  I have already sold the others.  So how can it not work?"  As the reporter left, the man reminded him: "Make sure that you apply it 30 minutes beforehand."

The reporter then proceeded to complain to the city Department of Industry and Commerce.  The person in charge said that snack stores are not allowed to sell medicine such as Triazolam.  Concerning the sale of date rape drugs there, he promised to send someone over on the same day to investigate. 


Professor Chang Chi-tien with a Harvard University-affiliated hospital in Boston showed up at a press conference to the substantiate the charge that KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's wife Christine Chou stole periodicals related to Taiwan independence from the Harvard-Yenching Library.

There was a discrepancy from what the press had understood that he actually witnessed the theft to this statement that he had seen a school police report with the Anglicized name of Christine Chou and a check mark on the box marked "theft."

Press: "Doctor, your charge is unfair.  How do you know that this was Christine Chou?  What evidence do you have?"
Chang: "..."

Press: "This is the election for the president of the Republic of China.   Your charge is not based upon adequate proof according to that of an eyewitness.  No?"
Chang: "..."

Press: "According to what ordinary people understand as witnessing, you observed the entire happening.  But you just said that you only saw a recorded note."
Chang: "I was not there when the theft occurred.  I came in at 5 o'clock."

Press: "Yes.  So if they describe you as an eyewitness, would you say that it is wrong?"
Chang: "I read the school police report the next day.  Her name was written down that she stole."

Organizer: "Doctor Chang has come out.  Thanks everybody."

Press: "If you are going to hold a press conference, you should let us ask the questions to get to the bottom of it."
Organizer: "Dr. Chang will be meeting other press tonight and he will address the questions in detail."

Press: "So why bother with this press conference?"
Organizer: "You people asked him to come out."

(China Times)

Previously, Chin Heng-wei, publisher of Dandai (Modern Times) and vice president of the North Society, had accused Christine Chou (wife of KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou) of stealing periodicals from the Harvard-Yenching University.  Today, Chin Heng-wei asked the eyewitness Chang Chi-tien to explain to the press.

Chang said that he got a part-time job at the Harvard-Yenching Library through the introduction of a Hong Kong student named Cheung.  On the day of the incident, he went to work and Cheung told him that someone stole some periodicals from the library.  When Chang did an inventory of the periocals after 9pm that night, he found some were missing.  On the next day, he went down to the Harvard University Police District and he read on the police blotter that a female named Chou Mei-ching (female, with date of birthday and address) was written in with the column "theft" checked.  "This was the official school record and there was no way that Christine Chou did not know."

Wu Wen-ching, the curator of the Harvard Yenching Library at the time, has denied that this happened.  Chang said that the curator sits in his office and would not know that he himself did not come to work.  Chin Heng-wei said that the curator was good friends with the Ma couple.  If this matter did not happen, Wu would have said "absolutely not."  Instead, Wu only said that he has "no recollection."  So why won't Wu say so directly?

For the record, here is the policy of the Harvard University Police Department with respect to incident reports:

Does the Harvard University Police Department disseminate incident reports to the general public?

No. In the interest of maintaining community members' privacy the HUPD does not disseminate incident reports to the general public. Because the HUPD is a private police agency it is not required under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Public Record Law to disseminate police reports to the public. The University's Office of the General Counsel has authorized the HUPD to provide theft victims copies of incident reports in order to submit them to their insurance companies when making a claim for reimbursement.

The Harvard University Police Department publishes a public police log which does not list any names.

For more about Doctor Chang Chi-tien, see Taipei Times (November 30, 2002):

Former dissidents at the public hearing also targeted incumbent Taipei city mayor Ma Ying-jeou, accusing him of once acting as a KMT spy who investigated into overseas Taiwanese students during their anti-government demonstrations in Boston.

"Although he has denied taking photos of demonstrators in a street protest back in 1978, I witnessed it myself," said Chang Chi-tien (張啟典), associate professor at the department of pathology in Beth Israel Hospital, a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.  Chang at the time was pursuing his degree in medicine, while Ma was studying law in Harvard.

Ma has always denied any accusation about to his alleged role as a KMT spy during his studies overseas

This website also has a photograph (last photograph in black-and-white) of the KMT student-spy Ma Ying-jeou taking photographs of Taiwanese students  (including Professor Chang Chi-tien wearing a mask) demonstrating against the Kuomintang totalitarian regime on January 28, 1978.

Comment:  This is going to be a media circus if allowed to continue.  There is an eyewitness whose account contains huge holes.  Nevertheless, he is trying to hold onto the limelight by being evasive.  What does it mean for the election coverage to revolve around Dr. Chang Chi-tien?  The public has indicated in no uncertain terms that they are not interested in Ma Ying-jeou's green card, or Christine Chou's reading habits, or Ma Ying-jeou's father's extramarital affair with a married woman.  More attacks along these directions will only cement Ma Ying-jeou's apparent lead in the polls.  It can be said that Chin Heng-wei and Chang Chi-tien are playing the press to the hilt on this.  Or is the press playing them to the hilt, because the press knows that policy discussions will not sell more newspaper copies. 

While The South China Tiger Photographs case began on the Internet, it is no longer allowed to be discussed at many places on the Internet.

On March 7, we reported that the South China tiger forum at was shut down.  In its place is the "Huashi Miscellaneous Talk" section.  Many South China tiger forum denizens stayed behind to talk about the South China tiger as well as new topic -- the shutdown of the South China tiger forum.

Yesterday, the "Huashi Miscellaneous Talk" forum issued new rules to the effect that one cannot talk either about the shutdown of the South China tiger forum or the South China tiger photos themselves.

The formerly popular South China tiger forum at was shut down on March 7.  Afterwards, the administrators emphasized to the press repeatedly that this was a business decision that had nothing to do any political pressure from pressure.  After the shutdown, netizens continued to discuss the South China tiger.  When interviewed by Southern Metropolis Daily, the administrators said that any subject was acceptable except about the tiger.  Over the past few days, the tiger-related posts were deleted heavily but some survived.

The famous netizens "Real Name Li Xuefei" and "My Ancestors Were Peasants" from the South China tiger forum were recruited to become administrators at the new "Huashi Miscellaneous Talk" forum.  This reassured many netizens.  But those two resigned within a day.  "Real Name Li Xuefei" explained: "An essay is an essay when it is complete.  But we are no longer able to understand what netizens are saying because they have to speak in riddles.  I realized today that my ability to understand what people are saying is too small.  I cannot be a fool of an administrator.  What choice do I have except to resign?"

Elsewhere "Real Name Li Xuefei" explained: "We are the voiceless soldiers left in the propaganda army.  Everybody speaks in secret codes like triad gangsters!  This is too tiresome, too annoying!  This is scary!  Worse yet, you can't even scream for help!"

Yesterday, "Real Name Li Xuefei" asked the forum to be more explicit about the rules: "The point about Miscellaneous Talk is that anything is permitted, no?  So how come the South China tiger is verboten?  ... I ask the webmaster not to delete the posts and waste people's time and effort.  It is a crime!  Whose time is not money?  Miscellaneous Talk should make it clear to everybody.  This is the time that everybody should get it clear."

At 9pm last evening, Huashi Miscellaneous Talk published the "Trial rules for Huashi Miscellaneous Talk."  The temporary rules contained article 2: "No more discussion on the subject of the shutdown of the South China tiger forum."  Article 3 was "Avoid any postings of material related to the South China tiger photos."

"Real Name Li Xuefe" wrote: "No matter what, we will stand here and watch ... there will be an outcome somehow!"

Many netizens understood the dilemma of the website and they are sorry about the loss of the exchange platform due to the ban.  Some want to stay and continue to post using guerilla tactics from the periphery, while others choose to walk away.

The South China tiger photo story began on the Internet and ended there.  At various times, the big forums have suppressed the related posts.  At the famous Cat's Eye forum at KDNet, this reporter found out that the posts related to the South China tiger photos were locked down (that is, the comment function was suspended).  This made it seemed as if people no longer care about this affair.  When the Southern Metropolis Daily editorial <The South China tiger photo gate: Accepting the truth was even harder than discovering the truth> was posted there, eight pages of comments were posted within several hours.  On the same day, that post was locked down.

If won't allow it, neither will Tianya forum.  That famous forum also collected many people concerned with the case, but it is no longer possible to see any related posts.  In practice, there has been no new posts except for some cross-posts from elsewhere since February.  Everything is either deleted or hidden.  Even the posts made by the Tianya Miscellaneous Talk administrator himself have been locked down.  At one point, he thought that this was just a technical issue but he has seen the light since.

Tianya Forum refused to comment to Southern Metropolis Daily about this.

The death of Guo Shizhong had a tremendous impact on the Population Planning Department in Xinyuan county (Xunyang city), of which he had been the leader.  Guo died in the early morning of February 27.  On February 28, the Xinyuan county party committee praised him for being an "excellent Communist Party member."  On the same day, the Xinyuan county government awarded with a Grade Three Merit.  The citation said: "Comrade Guo Shizhong continued to give himself to work until he was suddenly overtaken by disease.  He passed away at 1:45am on the morning of February 27, 2008.  He was only 46 years old."  On February 29, the Xunyang city Population Planning Department issued a notice within its system to ask everyone to learn and imitate Guo Shizhong.  On February 30, Xinyuan held a memorial service with him with almost 400 officials in attendance.

Then the bomb exploded: Guo Shizhong had died from alcohol poisoning from a drinking binge on the night of February 26!  And the Xunyang city officials are left with the task of defending the indefensible.  Ironically, on January 4, 2007, the Xunyang government had issued an order to ban public servants from drinking.  On January 27, 2008, CCTV even had a 30-minute program to show how the ban was coming along (with 269 public servants having been punished for violations).

But is the story about alcohol poisoning true?  Or just malicious slander?  The reporter went to the Xinyuan People's Hospital and the doctor on duty named Zhang showed him the medical record.  Name: Guo Shizhong; telephone call time: 00:00am, February 27; problem: intoxication; location: Jinchuan Hotel.  Dr. Zhang went out with the ambulance that night: "We went to the sixth floor.  The patient was in the room at the end of the corridor.  The stretcher did not fit into the elevator.  By the time we carried the stretcher down to the third floor, the patient was dead.  He reeked of alcohol all over.  He was bleeding from the nose and mouth.  He was not breathing.  I tried cardiovascular resuscitation to restore a slow heartbeat."  The ambulance record stated his condition: "Unconscious, dilated pupils."  "The resuscitation effort failed and the patient was formally pronounced dead at 1:45am."

According to the Xinyuan party committee publicity department head Xia Zhongming: "Guo Shizhong had high blood pressure before he died.  He kept working without taking any rest.  On the day before his death, he was planning a work meeting about population planning for the county.  On that evening, he met with the cadres from the rural villages to discuss work.  Due to overwork, he suffered a brain hemorrhage."  Xia Zhongming did not deny that Guo was invited to dine at the hotel and then went to the KTV afterwards.

A local netizen wrote: According to the government, Guo Shizhong was dedicated to his job and worked selflessly.  But in the final analysis, he died from alcohol poisoning at a KTV, which is a public entertainment place that cannot conceivably be linked to any work-related matter.  So how can the county government and party committee say that Guo Shizhong died in the line of duty and then give him praises?  This is incredible.

China's War on Terror
12 March 2008
The Wall Street Journal Europe

In democratic states, officials fighting terrorism are held accountable by a watching public for the choices they make between national security and transparency. In China, however, where a terrorist plot against the Beijing Olympics and an attempted airplane bombing made international news this weekend, everything is more murky.

On Sunday, the governor of Xinjiang, a western province of China, announced that a China Southern Airlines plane had been forced to divert its flight after passengers attempted to crash the aircraft. At the same press conference, another Party official said that a January police raid -- in the same province -- had killed and nabbed terrorists targeting the Olympics.

Scary stuff, and yet given the way China operates, it's hard to judge these claims or the seriousness of a threat they may represent. The identity of the attackers, their methods and the potential victims' names were all kept under wraps. No local media -- or we -- have been able to confirm details of the airplane story by speaking with airplane passengers, airline authorities or police, although a plane apparently was diverted from Beijing. Xinjiang's Communist Party chief, Wang Lequan, is the only person to have mentioned the Olympics plot -- which is unrelated to the plane incident -- and as we went to press no other government official had confirmed his claims.

China's Communist Party also has a troubled history in Xinjiang, home to Muslim Uighurs, a minority ethnic group. The government there has routinely rounded up peaceful dissidents and conducted closed trials. Beijing has subsidized the mass migration of ethnic Hans into Xinjiang to sinify the region, and has banned some public expressions of religion -- including fasting during Ramadan for students.

It is true that Xinjiang separatists have resorted to violence in the past, if rarely. And in the war on terror, it is important for governments to exercise discretion over information they disclose about counterterrorism activities. But given China's opaque and unaccountable justice system, were this weekend's roundups crackdowns on violent militants or just more cases where the government uses the fear of terrorism to justify arresting peaceful dissidents? We may never know. 

The Wall Street Journal and the case of Jose Padilla
By John Andrews and Barry Grey
1 December 2005

World Socialist Web Site

On November 25 the Wall Street Journal, following the Justice Departments announcement of a criminal indictment against Jose Padilla, published an editorial supporting the Bush administrations assertion of virtual police-state powers to seize US citizens and detain them indefinitely in military jails, stripping them of all legal recourse to contest their imprisonment.

The editorial exemplified the cynicism and dishonesty that are the stock in trade of the Journals editorial page. Dripping with contempt for the bedrock issues of democratic rights involved in the Padilla case, the editorial began: Its hard to pinpoint the precise moment when Jose Padilla became a liberal icon in the war on terror.

The summary imprisonment of Padilla is a high-water mark in the Bush administrations assault on democratic rights. One month after the arrest of Brooklyn-born Padilla by civilian authorities in Chicagos OHare Airport, Bush issued a one-page order declaring Padilla to be an enemy combatant. Based on no other legal process, Padilla was transferred to a naval brig in South Carolina where he spent 42 months, the first 22 of which he was held incommunicado.

Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft went on national television to announce that the action was taken because Padilla was involved in a terrorist operation to detonate a radioactive dirty bomb in the United States. Two years later, however, a deputy United States attorney claimed that the plot was actually to fill New York apartments with natural gas and explode them. There has never been an evidentiary hearing in any court on either accusation.

The governments issuing of a criminal indictment last week meant that Padilla would no longer be held in military detention, but would instead be prosecuted in the civilian court system. The indictment announced by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales accused Padilla of conspiring to wage jihad overseas. It made no mention of the domestic terrorism allegations used to justify his being declared an enemy combatant and thrown into the black hole of indefinite military detention.

This glaring omission alone makes clear the contrived, if not entirely invented, character of those charges, and the fact that the case was motivated by reactionary political considerations from the outset. Ashcrofts sensational announcement of Padillas alleged terror plot was part and parcel of a systematic effort by the Bush administration to frighten the American people in order to justify unprecedented attacks on democratic rights at home and the buildup for war overseas, all in the name of the global war on terrorism.

(Chongqing Commercial News)

On February 19, Enwei Group (Chengdu) announced that Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung will become their spokeswoman for the Jie'eryin solution for gynecological applications.  Shortly afterwards, a 15-second television commercial (see Tudou or Youku) began to be shown across China.

Immediately, complaints gegin to come in based upon the fact that Cecilia Cheung was involved in Sex Photos Gate and therefore her appearance is creating harmful effect on children and society at large.  "Children all know about Ceclia Cheung and Sex Photos Gate.  Now they see her looking wonderful on the television screen.  The influence on the children is bad!"


The complaints from the viewers seemed to have gained the attention of the relevant government departments and certain television stations.  According to information, Chongqing TV and Sichuan TV have both stopped airing this commercial.  Allegedly, a Chongqing TV spokesperson said: "We received a notice from the relevant department a few days ago.  We stopped airing the commercial after that."  Sichuan TV has conformed that it has stopped airing that commercial too.

Internet opinion is mixed.  Some netizens said that this is the right thing to do and, as such, it contributes to the "purification of the television screen."  Other netizens thought that the commercial was too vulgar and blatant.  When Cecilia Cheung suggested that "you can wash away all your unspeakable secrets," it was bound to make people "connect with other ideas."  Thus, this was not the right moment for Cecilia Cheung to act as spokesperson for a female hygiene product.

Still other netizens questioned why Enwei would hire Cecilia Cheung to act as a spokesperson for a female hygiene product.  If the company wanted to leverage Sex Photos Gate to attract eyeballs, then it has now achieved the complete opposite effect as the public is turning against both Cecilia Cheung and the product.

Meanwhile other netizens think that Cecilia Cheung is a victim in Sex Photos Gate.  Dropping the commercial is like rubbing salt into the wound.

(Southern Metropolis Daily)

... It is regrettable that Cecilia Cheung's commercial was removed from the air by certain television stations.  This ban order was reportedly issued after viewer complaints caused the relevant departments to take action.  The reason was that some audience members thought that "the indecent photos had affected the reputation of Cecilia Cheung and therefore the commercial should be removed to avoid causing bad influence among children."

I have seen things happened quickly, but not this quickly.  The rapid reaction to public opinion by the relevant department surprised and puzzled me.  In my view, what is shown on television is important but they should have made careful consideration.  Their hasty action was an irresponsible act of violence that was far removed from the expectations of the Party and the people.  I mean to say that banning Cecilia Cheung or any other person requires a logically perfect reason.

It is encouraging to see viewers file complaints out of social responsibility.  But the basis of the complaints must be examined to see if they are appropriate.  I feel that the complainants are treating morality like hard liquor.  With a few swigs, they get high on moral sentiments and they cannot avoid the temptation of immorality themselves.  Why else would they refuse to go after the people who caused the harm and prefer instead to rub salt in the wounds of the victims?  Without doubt, the reputation of Cecilia Cheung had suffered as a result.  But we are willing to give even the repentant criminal a chance and restore their civil rights.  I cannot help but ask, Which law did Cecilia Cheung break?  What crime did she commit?

Even the so-called assertion of bad influence on children is untenable, in my view.  Cecilia Cheung is representing a product not used by children.  It is the responsibility for the television station not to show such commercials for children to watch.  Besides, have the parents really explained to their children what the sexy photos were about?  I was led to think that the relevant departments had worked hard to prevent those photos from reaching children.

I have another immature idea.  This affair may have been created when some bad media inflated a logically inconsistent complaint into public opniion presseure to force a ban order that hurts innocent people.  Now that is the true bad influence on children.

According to a colleague of Zhang Liguo, Zhang had been working at a large corporation in Shenzhen.  Before leaving that job, Zhang had the idea of starting his own business.  But Zhang Liguo went instead to work at Huawei last November.

In May 2007, Zhang Liguo began a blog using the ID "长风随意" (Follow The Long Breeze At Will).  On May 21, Zhang Liguo wrote a post to celebrate the fact that his daughter is three months old.  On October 7, Zhang Liguo wrote that he has returned to Shenzhen again.  On the blog, Zhang Liguo did not disguise the difficulty in starting a business.  He even wrote that he felt "tired, very tired inside."

"With tears in my eyes, I left behind my wife and 7-month-old daughter.  My thoughts are confused.  I need to continue to fight, I need to establish my own business and I need to earn enough every month to feed my family.  So I have no choice but to return to Shenzhen ... I still have to rent a place, I have to ride the crowded public bus each day (sometimes even taking the bus for free even though I have to endure the looks of contempt from the bus drivers).  Nevertheless I came back here to the familiar and beloved Shenzhen.  No matter how hard this will be, I must endure.  I must finish every assignment well, I must earn every cent, I must persist and fight on."

"... I am a somewhat boring person.  I have the typical personality of a technician.  I am steady and organized and I am more rational than emotional.  I don't know if this type of personality is good for starting a business.  But I have chosen this path.  No matter how hard the things become, I will have to continue ... I walk alone on the path to build a business.  I receive no assistance, I receive no support, I receive no care.  I walk alone firmly.  I don't know if flowers and applause await me.  I only know that the brief flicker of light from the Northern Pole Star indicates the direction towards which I shall head.  On this road, I live for dignity; on this road, I do everything for the ones that I love; on this road, I do it only for my beloved baby ..."

I have been attending the Two Congresses for two years during which I have frequently heard stories about senior officials being blocked inside restrooms by the press.  Today, I scored my first Minister a the restroom.  Come to think of it, the job of department head is really not so easy because one cannot even go to use the restroom easily.

I was lucky today.  In the morning, I was in Chaoyang and I "scored" Qi Faren, one of the pioneers of the Shenzhou spacecraft series.  Qi is 75 years old, but he is still mentally alert and responsive.  Most importantly, he does not usually decline interviews.  He is a genuinely nice person, but he says what can be said and he won't say what cannot be said.

In the afternoon, I went to the faraway Railway Department with the target being the Minister of Science and Technology, Wang Gang.  I failed to intercept Minister Wan at the Congress hall yesterday, so I promised that I would "nail" him today.  When I arrived at the Railway Building, a dozen Chinese and foreign photojournalists had already set up their long-range cameras.  Without doubt, they have also set their sights on Wan Gang.

The meeting began at 3pm.  All was calm before the meeting started.  Minister Wan Gang was already seated on the podium.  When reporters approached him, they were stopped by the workers in a friendly manner.  One hour passed by and it was time for a rest break.  As soon as Wan Gang got up, the reporters rushed up.  First, a scientific research expert chatted with Wan Gang.  As soon as Wan Gang started to speak, astonishing words came out of his mouth: There are good consequences behind the climate change, such as the high loess plains becoming moistened enough to plant trees.  This was a refreshing idea.  The brief exchange was over and Wan Gang went to use the restroom with the reporters circling him.  Wan Gang entered the restroom, he closed the door, the female reporters could not proceed any further and the male reporters seemed to have a tacit understanding not to disturb the Minister.  So everybody waited outside.

A couple minutes later, I refused to procrastinate anymore and I went in.  Wan Gang was washing his hands at the washbasin.  What a great opportunity!  I turned on the microphone and I said, "Minster Wan!"  So the interview began.  Outside, the other reporters saw what was going on.  The men rushed in immediately and circled the Minister.  Meanwhile, the women could only pace outside.

The restroom blockade could only work so long.  Shortly afterwards, Wan Gang "rushed" out of the restroom with the press corps in tow.  The Minister appeared to be in a good mood and answered even sensitive question such as the division between the government and the Party.  The rest period came to an end and the reporters were persuaded to let the Minister go back.

Thirty minutes later, the meeting was adjourned and Minister Wan got up to leave.  There was another mad pursuit by the reporters.  Under the protection of the workers, Wan Gang left quickly and entered the vehicle waiting in front of the entrance.  One female reporter kept up with the Minister step by step until they reached the vehicle, causing even the Minister to smile.

When I got back to the office and listened to the audio tape, I knew that I had many news points including some that had never been brought up before.  But the Minister was very precise and economical.  I must say that the Minister is very experienced in handling the media because his comments were well-measured.

Actually, reporters do not like to lay siege to senior officials inside restrooms.  If the senior officials could squeeze some time for the reporters instead of being secretive and elusive, the reporters would surely not take up the restroom time.