Here is another photo of the same individual, who is now the target of the Chinese "human flesh search engine."
And could it be true that this individual was arrested in London on the previous day?
In Zhennan village, Lubu town, Gaoyao city, Guangdong province, the preliminary round of the village mayoral election was to be held on March 17. A run-off between the two leading vote-getters would take place on March 16.
On March 16, the day before the preliminaries, the younger brother of candidate Liu Zhibo received two SMS: "Cousin! I want to remind you! You like to gamble and you also violated family planning quota. If you want to run for village mayor, someone might denounce you. You'd have to spend several tens of thousands of RMB to get out. Don't you feel like being a pawn? Why get into this mess!" and "Cousin! It's up to you! I am just trying to remind you not to be used by others. You think about yourself! I hope that you won't show this is SMS to anyone else because I don't want to get into trouble!"
On March 17, the voting began. At around 1pm, Cuibu village voting monitor Du Xiangyang heard that the ballot box at Cuibu village had been incinerated. He hurried over and found a pile of ashes being swept out.
According to the Lubu town party committee member and Zhennan village election committee workgroup director Lai Zhaoguang, someone complained at just after 11am that the election was unfair and demanded the ballot box be incinerated. He "immediately convened the committee members to discuss the request. The unanimous decision was to incinerate the ballot box. All the committee members signed their names for the record." At past noon, Lai Zhaoguang and another committee member Liang Yejuan ordered the ballot box put to flames.
Here was what happened: At around 11am, Cuibu village voter Liao Hongmei came to pick up her ballot and then asked her neighbor Du Xiangyang to fill out the ballot. Liao asked Du for a recommendation, and Du said that he personally chose Liu Zhibo. Liu said, "I'll vote for whoever you like." Du filled out the ballot and handed it over to Liao to put in the box. Meanwhile, Cuibu village election committee deputy director Liao Jianqiang thought that Du Xiangyang was "stealing votes."
Afterwards, Liao Hongmei told the town cadre/village electoral workgroup member Jiang Jiayi that her two sons and daughters-in-law had not received their ballots. Liao Jianqiang said that their names did not appear on the voter registry. Jiang Jiayi said, "You go back to your home and fetch the household registration book. You will get the number of votes according to the number of persons in your household." Upon hearing this, Liao Jianqiang pounded on the desk angrily and said: "Why did you use the household registration book from the very start and not just now? This is unfair! I'm not running in this election anymore!" When the Cuibu village ballot box was delivered to the village committee office, Liao Jianqiang's cousin Liao Zhiliang who was also a election committee deputy director said: "There is a problem with the ballots from Cuibu. They must be incinerated.
"Later, another villege election committee member Lin Mushen told the reporter that he was not present when the ballot box was incinerated and he refsued to sign his name. Two other election committee members said that there was no meeting to discuss the ballot box and that the signatures were added afterwards.
At around 3pm that afternoon, Zhennan town workgroup director Lai Zhaoguang, Cuibu village workgroup deputy director Liao Zhiliang and vote monitor Du Xiangyang took a new ballot box to the Cuibu elementary school and asked the villagers to vote again. The villagers refused. One villager said: "Why did you incinerate the ballot box without consulting us? We can vote again but what happens if you incinerate the ballot box again?" Lai Zhaoguang said that the decision was reported "to the superior party committee." Cuibu village workgroup director Du Gu immediately called the Lubu town party secretary He Guanwei for confirmation. Secretary He said "I am in Zhaoqing city and I am not aware of this matter." The crowd got angrier.
To mollify the people and complete the voting, Lubu town party committee deputy secretary Zhang Decai arrived at 6pm to the Cuibu elementary school together with more than twenty policemen. At 8pm, Zhang held a village meeting. Zhang Decai and Liao Zhaoguang apologized to the villagers and implored them to vote again.
At past noon on March 18, the election results for Zhennan village was announced. Liu Zhibo and the current mayor Zhang Dao led with 980 and 400+ votes respectively. Surprisingly, Zhang Dao withdrew from the election on March 23. Therefore, the third-place vote-getter Liao Zhiliang was now in the run-off.
On March 27, Liu Zhibo found that the more than fifty tangerine trees in his orchard had been vandalized. Some of these trees had been stripped of the bark, others were cut with knives. The estimated loss in income is over 10,000 RMB.
On March 30, Liu Zhibo won the Zhennan village mayoral election by 1,800+ votes compared to the 1,300+ votes by Liao Zhiliang.
On April 3, Zhang Liang was still a photojournalist with the Harbin Daily News group. On that day, the China Photojournalism Association announced that the experts have determined Zhang Liang's award-winning photo of pigeons being immunized in a plaza had been faked. The Association then announced that its has rescinded the award to Zhang Liang. The fakery had to do with the same pigeon appearing in two different places.
Zhang Liang finally spoke out, "I admit that I altered the photo with PhotoShop." Previously, he had insisted that the photo was genuine. Until April 5, he continued to insist on his personal blog and defended himself.
He recalled what happened on February 19, 2004. "This was the first and only time that I altered a photo. At the time, I did not feel that I was doing anything wrong." He said that the saw that there was a gap in the sky on the left. In order to make the photo perfect, he used photo to copy the pigeon on the right and pasted it in the space. I did not think that this affected the authenticity of the news story. This sort of alteration is just a small detail." Zhang Liang said that he was not skilled in PhotoShop, "otherwise I would not have copied over a pigeon from the same photo."
Zhang Liang said that he did not do this to win any awards. He did not even care if the newspaper used that photo. When the newspaper submitted the photo in a competition in early 2005, he had already forgotten about the duplicated pigeon.
In April 2007, China Photojournalism Association's Xu Lin and other netizens challenged the authenticity of his photo. When asked, Zhang Liang did not admit fault. He was going to gamble: "I loved photojournalism too much. If I admitted it, I would be finished; if I did not admit it, there could be a chance." Through the competition's organizing committee, he published <My Solemn Statement>: He promised "in the name of a Communist Party member and the conscience of a photojournalist" that the photo had not been altered. He stated that he would accept full legal responsibility.
After the interview on April 6, the reporter went to check Zhang Liang's blog. He found that the blog post of April 5 had been deleted. The reporter phoned Zhang, who said that those published words were shameful. Zhang was going to start a new life.
When Xu Lin found out that Zhang Liang had confessed, he said, "That is good thing! It was change and progress to go from concealment to acknowledgement. It means that he has reflected on his actions. He should be encouraged if he can admit and correct his mistakes."
Is this possible five years ago? ten years ago? twenty years ago? thirty years ago? The only thing for certain is that nobody thinks that this is anything unusual today.
On March 16, 2008, a photograph was posted at the Tiexie forum under the title: <Unbelievable sight in a government vehicle; hard not to wonder>. The key point to note is that prefix "SichuanO" in the license plate "SichuanO 71775> corresponds to a government vehicle. Two days later, the post was carried by a local Chengdu forum where it drew some debate. However, the discussions subsided quickly.
In April, another netizen posted this same photo under a different title: <The most awesome government vehicle in history: Bras hanging out in a Chengdu government vehicle>. This time, the post became red-hot popular and it was propagated across the major forums and portals.
Concerning those two bras, netizens offered many speculations, including some not suitable for reading by children. Here are some reasonable possibilities: (1) the license plate number is faked by the owner who wants to exercise the special privileges for government vehicles; (2) the license plate number was added by PhotoShop; (3) the bras were added by PhotoShop; (4) the government vehicle was on official duty carrying some actresses who changed inside the vehicle ... Of course, many netizens thought that this was real and they criticized government workers for misusing a government vehicle.
Southern Metropolis Daily contacted the relevant government departments and found out that SichuanO-71775 would be a provincial-level government license number and not a Chengdu city-level license number.
Netizen comment"s: "From today on, I will not drink Coca-Cola. I will mobilize all my friends and classmates to refuse to drink Coca-Cola too." "We will organize spontaneously to make sure that companies that support Tibetan independence will lose their China market. No more Coca-cola from now on, and it is an unhealthy drink anyway."
Here is how the negative news spread. On March 28, 2008, a netizen at the Zhangjiajie public discussion forum uploaded a photograph of the newly opened Jintikang Footbathing Recreational Club. The photo was then unloaded to the SonicBBS. The photo showed the congratulatory banners from various Zhangjiajie city government departments. Netizens began to wonder: "This has to be real because these departments would seek legal redress!" and "The boss must be really influential -- are the key officials from those government departments under his control?" This post then spread quickly from the local forum across the national web portals (such as NetEase and Rednet).
Here is now the positive news did not spread. Within several hours when the original post appeared, a comment was made by someone under the ID "zjjjsj" (which is shorthand for the Zhangjiajie Department of Construction): First, we clarify that the Labor Protection Office and Pricing Office under our department had never delivered any congratulations to the footbathing club; secondly, our department reserves the right to seek legal regress; thirdly, our department adheres to the self-disciplinary rules for clean government and we welcome netizens to act as watchdogs. This comment was later set up as a separate statement with the additional sentence: "Our department had no idea that they were erecting the banners. They did it themselves without the permission of our department." Unfortunately, this post never spread from the local forum. The broad masses of the netizens only saw the original post and not the response.
Southern Metropolis Daily checked with the relevant government departments in Zhangjiajie. By telephone, the newspaper was informed that the Wulingyuan district mayor and the party secretary were seriously concerned and will investigate and take action immediately. The various department heads all said that they had never sent any banners to this footbathing club.
If you proceed to the BBS at China.com and you check out the posts listed at the top, you are going to think that the Cultural Revolution has just exploded once more. A political campaign against Southern Metropolis Daily and its deputy chief-editor Chang Ping is flourishing. Concerning the details of this affair, you can consult How To Find The Truth About Lhasa?, where you can read Chang Ping's essay which caused all the troubles.
Exactly as I was worried about, the unprofessional conduct by CNN and other western media on the March 14 incident has triggered off an outburst of fervent nationalism in China. China.com provides a specific instance. Its editor took advantage of these feelings and made the stupid effort to magnify these nationalistic sentiments. In the process, China.com has been converted into a pile of stupidity-reeking feces which attracted countless number of green-headed flies.
Once upon a time, Lu Xun was accused for accepting rubles. Today, China.com is accusing Southern Metropolis Daily of accepting American dollars. This only goes to show that the Chinese people are slow developers whose method is so monolithic and boring. The massive China.com campaign may seem enough to topple mountains and overturn the seas, but people are not convinced that it has any power. Instead, this is more like a mass defecation session. Although it lacks entertainment value, it is a grand sight. Just visualize a 10 km by 10 km shit ditch! Isn't that a grand sight? You can probably locate it on Google Earth.
The manipulative tactics of China.com are actually fucking stupid. The times have moved on, and the netizens have moved on as well. Three years ago, we see people at many forums accusing others of being cold-blooded because they didn't donate money. This year, CCTV demanded that people must thank their helper, but it was met with a hail of curses from the netizens. The nationalistic card is old hat, so there is no chance that it will be anywhere as effective as before. If the traffic volume to a website is based upon the number of angry youth, then that website does not have much of a future. The angry youth only know how to inflame but they never create content. Just take a took at the top posts at China.com. Those posts are so boring and antiquated that you have to put vaseline on your eyes in order to read them.
I appreciate the effort of the Canadian young man Huang Jinxiao (which was the basis of the www.anti-cnn.com site) because he communicated a certain authentic sentiment and voice that were directed towards the English-speaking netizens of the world. But I cannot comprehend China.com's game of catching Chinese traitors inside China. Even if their ridiculous goal is attained -- the closing of Southern Metropolis Daily -- what are the Chinese people getting as a result? Of course, China.com is going to get the traffic volume as well as a grand reputation, or it may even become publicly listed/traded. I like the term "patriotic robber" because it describes clearly how certain people steal for their own benefits in the name of patriotism. There is an endless number of people who make a living out of patriotism.
Update: This is shocking -- I just found out that China.com was listed on NASDAQ eight years ago!
At around 9:00am on April 1, 2008, more than 1,000 security guards and more than 20 men in police uniforms minus their police badge numbers proceeded to the local basketball court and set up a simple wall. Two yellow earth movers then began digging up the basketball court furiously. In under one hour, this area was reduced to wasteland.
Later that evening at 8pm, about 40 persons in police uniform went back into the neighborhood 'to teach the owners a lesson.' Five civilians were injured and three were arrested. There was no point in calling 110 to report to the police because these were the police. After the incident, the owners contacted Chongqing Daily, Chongqing Times, Chongqing Real Estate Magazine, Chongqing TV and other media outlets, and they got the response: "We have orders from above not to report on this case" if the media outlet bothered to respond at all. Only the reporter from a web portal bothered to show up and a 7-minute video was posted on the Internet.
Zhao Jingtian is a fourth-year law student at the Northern Industrial University. Each time that she passed by the Xinhua Gate of the Zhongnanhai compound (where the central government leaders are housed), she was struck by the slogans on the two sides of the wall. One slogan says, "Long live the great Chinese Communist Party!" and the other slogan says, "Long live the invincible thoughts of Mao Zedong!"
Zhao Jingtian has written to the central government leaders including Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao to propose the updating of the slogans to reflect the spirit of the times. She believed that "Long live the invincible thoughts of Mao Zedong!" is a remnant from the Cultural Revolution eras and fits neither science nor today's times. She pointed out that saying "Long live ..." is part of the boot-licking language used by the feudal servants to please the emperor. Furthermore, the thoughts of Mao Zedong had not been "invincible" given that his famous statements such as "Let us carry the Cultural Revolution all the way through," "Long live the People's Commune" and "Never forget class struggle" were shown by history to be erroneous.
Zhao Jingtian proposed two alternatives: "Raise high the great flags of Deng Xiaoping's philosophy and the Three Represents concept, continue to liberate our thinking expand the the reforms and the opening!" and "We must put people first, govern to serve the people, stay with the scientific viewpoint and create the harmonious society in China!"
The police version:
At 1am, February 13, 2007, Nanchang city public security bureau special police squad captain Xi Zhibo led three militia police officers to conduct inspections at the Mayflower bar on Minde Road, Nanchang city. These four undercover police officers were chosen specially by the public security bureau director Hu Chao for this assignment. The four entered the bar and looked for drug abuse in the suites near the ladies' restroom. During the process, they were stopped by the security guard Ren Lijun. A clash ensued during which the four policemen were attcked by a dozen or so unidentified men. These men wielded knives and beer bottles. Xi Zhibo and his companions identified themselves repeatedly as police officers, but the attackers did not stop. Xi Zhibo was stabbed multiple times and lapsed into unconsciousness. At the hospital, Xi Zhibo was found to have been stabbed four times. When Xi Zhibo recovered, he was interviewed on CCTV's Law Channel which described the Mayflower was the biggest drug abuse location in the city of Nanchang.
The Internet post:
At past 10pm on February 12, 2007, Xi Zhibo was drinking in seat 801 in party of two men and two women. The woman named Wenwen then needed to use the restroom, and Xi Zhibo went with her. 27-year-old Ren Lijun is a student from the Nanchang City University working part-time as a security guard. Ren's assignment was to prevent men from entering the ladies' restroom. When Ren stopped Xi, the latter said that he was friends with the bar's senior manager named Gao. But Ren was just a security guard who did not know Gao. Ren used his telephone to summon Gao, who came and apologized. Xi summoned three more subordinates to beat up Ren. The other security guards came over and a brawl resulted. Ren used a small pair of scissors that he carried to stab Xi four times. At the hospital, Ren claimed that he had been investigating drug abuse at the Mayflower bar when he was assaulted by the security guards. Afterwards, all the security guards were arrested. The bar owner wanted to petition in Beijing but she was arrested and charged with allowing drug abuse in her bar. The other three shareholders were also arrested.
When interviewed by Xi Zhibo said that he had seen the Internet post. "The person who made the post had an ulterior motive." Xi Zhibo said that he had to go undercover at bars while carrying out his official duties. Nanchang city public security bureau director Hu Chao said, "The Mayflower case entered the court trial phase a few days ago. The person who made that Internet post is attempting to change public opinion." Xi and Hu said that they will investigate and pursue those who are making the Internet posts.
The Civil Human Rights Front held a press conference yesterday to point out that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive Donald Tsang's rule "over the past year was a dark period for human rights of the people of Hong Kong." The Front listed "nine crimes" by the HK SAR government with respect to human rights. They recommended Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Donald Tsang and the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Lam Shui-lung might as well as quit their jobs.
(Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong) (814 Hong Kong adults age 18 or over interviewed on March 25-27, 2008 by telephone)
Q. How satisfied are you with the HK SAR government?
50%: Half dissatisfied/half satisfied
Q. What is your rating (-of the performance of H K SAR CE Donald Tsang?
Q. What is your rating of the three Secretaries?
62.2: Henry Tang (Chief Secretary)
65.0: Tsang Chun-wah
61.0: Wong Yan-lung
Q. How satisfied are you with the Central Government's policies towards Hong Kong?
45%: Half dissatisfied/half satisfied
On April 1, if you enter Google.cn, you will note this brand new page:
Underneath Google, it sayss "Human flesh search." Underneath the search box, it says "New: Google hiring human flesh search engine volunteers." If you click through, you will find this description: "Phase One of the project seeks to recruit 25 million human flesh search engine volunteers, in order to build the biggest human flshe search engine in the Asia-Pacific region"; "average search response time of 32 seconds"; "during testing, the first automatically flushing toilet was successfully implemented at an average time of 128 seconds."
The recruitment ad for the the human search engine workers states that the administrators needs to have "doctorate degrees or higher" with command of at least five different languages. In addition, the persons must be interested in gossip as well as being of rebellious spirit.
The requirements for the 25 million volunteers are less stringent -- no academic qualifications and no professional requirements. The sole requirements are a strong sense of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge, as well as an extraordinary need to get to the bottom of an affair. The volunteers are required to furnish a computer of their own, a telephone of their own, a number of chalks, a box of napkins as well as the 40-vollume set of the <Famous People in Gossip Circles>,
But if you were enter any term into the search box, you will get this message: "Dear respected user, we are sorry to inform you that due to a delay in the arrival information, your Google human search engine query cannot be completed normally. In truth, Google had offered this April Fool's human flesh search engine for the amusement of the public. So we wish you a merry April Fool's day ..."
When this photo was handed off to the human flesh search engines, what did they find? Here are the empirical facts that they uncovered:
(1) The individuals in the photo are not Chinese military soldiers (i.e. members of the People's Liberation Army). Rather, their uniforms identify them as members of the Chinese armed police force.
(2) On January 1, 2005, the armed police force was issued new uniform regulations that included shoulder patches (see bottom right-hand corner photo below). Since the armed policemen in the original photo did not have shoulder patches, that photo was dated before January 1, 2005.
(3) Before October 13, 2004, the tricycle cabs in Lhasa were multi-colorered without restrictions (such as the blue top as shown in the original photo). As of October 13, 2004, all tricycle cabs in Lhasa are required to have the standardized green, red, blue and yellow colors. Therefore, this photo was dated before October 13, 2004.
The following photo show the winter uniforms of the Chinese armed police. The original photo showed the summer uniforms that were first instituted in 1987. In March 2008, it was still cold in Lhasa and the citizens in the background of the original photo could not be wearing so little clothes.
Liu Pengbo is an assistant instructor of an armed police squadron in Lhasa. He said: "I am the officer in this photo. This photo was taken in mid-September 2001. We were extra actors on the set of the movie The Touch. In this photo, we had just been issued our costumes. At the time, we wore the 1987-style cloth-material uniforms. As of May 1, 2006, we have new imitation-cotton uniforms. Back then, we did not have chest lapels. We now have chest lapels as well as shoulder badges.
Shao Hong retired from the armed police in December 2004 and he is now working in Lhasa. He said: "In September 2001, we were filming The Touch. At the time, it was relatively hot and so we wore our 1987-issue summer uniforms. The crowd around us also wore thin clothes.
Q. Why did you mastermind the Pingjiang South China tiger?
A. I felt that the Pingjiang tourism industry really needed a South China tiger. In Pingjiang, it was 70% about the mountains, 20% about the waters and 10% about the fields. This was very obvious in Shiniuzhai. Pingjiang deserves its reputation as one of the most impoverished counties in China. But it also has rich tourist resources and cultural histories. The issue is about transforming these resources into practical advantages. Such is the strategic decision of the Pingjiang county government.
To develop tourism in Pingjiang requires investment, but it is not just a matter of capital. More important is the concept of Pingjiang which is going to trigger off interest. The South China tiger can be such a trigger point. This time, the South China tiger story has been shot through. But I feel that there ought to be similar concepts. This does not have to be the South China tiger, but it could be the South China leopard or the South China cat which serves as a point of attraction, such that the people of Pingjiang will try their best to protect and care about it.
Q. Do you think that the Pingjiang South China tiger was faked? You can plan it, you can give it exposure, but you cannot fake it.
A. Fiction is not equivalent to fakery. Tourism products are different in nature from other types of product. At a certain tourism conference, a mayor said: "What is tourism? It is creating something from nothing." He provided many examples of tourism inside and outside of China in which the theme was created out of nowhere to develop tourism.
Each scenic area contains many stories, such as those about gods, ancestors, historical figures, burial places, histories and legends. Every place is seeking some basis to steal a piece of the pie. We know that some of these have some real basis, but many others are fictional. In fact, many real ones are unknown whereas fictional ones are well-known and influential. So what are we supposed to think? What is the truth? Actually, we all know that tourism requires the creation of legend, attraction and concern.
Q. So you mean to say that the Pingjiang South China tiger affair cannot be simply characterized as fakery. So why are you apologizing to the public?
A. There is no basic difference between the Pingjiang Shiniuzhai South China affair and various other kinds of other planned stories. Before this affair, there had been the Shaanxi paper South China tiger affair to which the public was paying a great deal of attention. This Pingjiang South China tiger affair went past the public tolerance.
Consumers are the revenue source for corporations. None of our activities should exceed the moral bottom line of the public and hurt them. That is why this is different from the usual stories in tourism. As responsible corporate citizens, we sincerely accept the criticisms and opinions of the public. Our apology is needed, and it is sincere.
Q. Will you come up with similar plans in the future?
A. "Life is about being active, tourism is about being active." In tourism, we have to keep planning. But we need to learn from this lesson. When we communicate with the public, we need to establish corporate trust. We will be providing more tourism products that the people can accept. After this affair, we should make more investments in protecting the South China tiger in order to repay the public. This is something that you will all be able to see.
On March 17, Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Berliner Morgenpost and other Germany mainstream newspapers showed a photo of the Chinese police rescuing a civïlian as "arresting a protestor." Süddeutsche Zeitung even went so far as to say: "The Chinese policemen would not even let a boy monk go." The various German television stations did the same thing that day. So far, only Berliner Morgenpost has responded with a statement: "The photo from Reuters/Agence France Presse was accompanied by text that was unclear about whether the person was brought out against his will or not."
Here is the Berliner Morgenpost page where the term Aufständischer (insurgent, insurrectionist, agitator, rebel, mutineer) is used to describe
(Xinhua via Wenxue City) This Aufständischer has been located by a reporter and told his story on March 14. When he opened his mouth, one can see the front tooth half of which was missing because it was knocked down on March 14.
"In 2004, my parents and I moved from Zigong city (Sichuan province) to Lhasa. We live in the dormitory for workers of the Agricultural Bank by the Ramoche Monastery. My father ran a newspaper kiosk at Beijing Middle Road. We live a tranquil life.
"At past 2pm on March 14, I was riding my electric bike with my puppy Bebe. When I got to the Ramoche Monastery, I observed a group of people vandalizing the shops by the roadside. I was terrified and I wanted to return home as quickly as possible. At that instant, a rock hit me on my head. Then four or five young men came out of nowhere and they dragged me down from my electric bike. They began to hit me with rocks, sticks and fists. I tried to get up from the ground and run, but they kept knocking me down. Just as I was about to pass out, I suddenly felt someone picking up me up my shoulders. I began to stumble and run. I opened my blood soaked eyes to peek and saw that it was three or four armed policemen. As we ran, the rocks continued to fall on the policemen who did not stop. Finally they got me out and put me into an 120 ambulance. At the hospital, I felt a lot safer after I saw my father."
According to Luo Jie's father, "After March 14, my son recovered from his injury and we felt better. Over the past few days, friends and relatives told us that our son has become famous through television and newspapers. We checked and we found out that someone had filmed the scene in which Luo Jie was rescued by the armed policemen. But what is infuriating is that overseas media and websites were saying that the film was for the armed policemen arresting a young Tibetan. Therefore, we felt that we had to contact the media and let them know what happened. We cannot have the rescue of our son become the counter-educational material for others."