Between the day when the mainland university entrance exam results were released and June 30, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong Science and Technology University, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Lingnan University and the Hong Kong Institute of Education have been conducting interviews in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. About 500 students have participated in these interviews.
On June 30, the Hong Kong Science and Technology University held interviews at the Intercontinental Hotel in Guangzhou, with the following minimum scores from the mainland university entrance exam: 625 for the School of Physics, 630 for the School of Engineering, 624 for the School of Business, 624 for double major and 655 for the School of Humanities.
Here are some of the questions that were asked of the students:
- What is your view on the "Runner Fan" issue?
- If you were the Premier of China, how would you handle the pollution problem?
- What are the direct and indirect effects of the Olympics on China?
- Does CNN's Jack Cafferty have the right to criticize China over the Tibet issue?
- What roles did the reporters play in the Wenchuan earthquake?
- Mass Incident in Weng'an
- Yet Another Version of the Weng'an Mass Incident
- More 'Facts' About The Weng'an Mass Incident
- Yet Another Another Version of the Weng'an Mass Incident
There is plenty more versions, variations and recombinations out there. Out of these versions arise two interesting phenomena. They are not necessarily new, but they are quite apparent this time.
The first phenomenon has to do with hydrological engineering. Yes, HYDROLOGICAL ENGINEERING! Many of the current crop of central government leaders are technocrats with engineering background. As such, they must understand that public opinion is water that can carry the ship as well as turn it over. The point about hydrological engineering is not to build dams to hold the water back because there will be a catastrophic dam break one day that might bring down the entire system. Instead, the point should be about controlling and redirecting the awesome power of nature in less harmful ways down selected channels.
In the case of the Weng'an mass incident, the major portals were deleting the related posts as quickly as possible. At Tianya Forum, it was estimated that a Weng'an-related post has an average lifetime of 15 seconds before being deleted by the administrators. That was supposed to be a record speed. The same thing was happening at Sina.com, Sohu.com, Baidu, etc. So this was building massive dams all over the map which builds up a tremendous pressure. Where was the pressure release point? You may be amazed that it was over at the Xinhua Forum. The webmasters posted the official Xinhua news story on the forum. That does not help in itself because Chinese netizens think that this Xinhua story was vague and misleading. However, the webmasters allowed the comments to run freely. This meant that the Xinhua posts became the meeting points of all those who want to talk about the Weng'an incident but could not do so elsewhere. Although that post did not contain any news information (such as photos and videos), it was a place for people to vent their outrage. As a result, Xinhua got a record-setting number of visitors who were very appreciative. Is this the plan for the future? You'll find out at the next mass incident (and there will be many).
The second phenomenon was the amount of noisy chaff released. On one hand, there is the legendary "50-cent gang." These are supposed to be professional Internet writers who get paid 0.50 RMB for every post favorable to the government position. When yet another version of the Weng'an mass incident gets published as being the ultimate truth, the author is accused of being a member of the "50-cent gang" who is trying to confuse the public. Indeed, if you read through enough versions, you will probably throw up your hands and decide that you don't know what the truth is anymore. Instead, you change your investigation to questioning the motives of the people who are producing these versions.
On the other hand, there is the legendary "Internet special agent (网特)." These are supposed to be professional spies who are paid by anti-China hostile forces to publish unfavorable information about China. For example, some of the posts mentioned that the People's Liberation Army has been dispatched to Weng'an with tanks and artillery, with the hint of a Tiananmen-like massacre to follow. Immediately, the other netizens reacted by pointing that these posts are coming from "Internet special agents." The netizens want to draw a very clear line: they may be protesting against what is happening in Weng'an but they will not serve the purpose of the anti-China hostile forces. This is very clear.
Today, I read a Xinhua report which was vague and misleading. I have heard the story from a fellow student who was an eyewitness.
The dead female students was a Form 3 student attending the Weng'an County Number Three Middle School in Yuhua town, Weng'an county, Guizhou province. To study at the school, she rented a room near the gas station on the north side of the county city.
This female student took her middle school exams this year with excellent results. She died for a reason that you may find it unimaginable -- during the exams, she refused to let three male students copy her answers. In revenge, the three male students raped her and then pushed her into the Simen river where she drowned.
That night, people tried to locate her body but they were unsuccessful. The next day, the police retrieved the body and arrested the three murderers. But one of them has family connections. When the body was brought out of the river, there were many spectators. The parents of the murderer called a certain department head at the Guizhou provincial level, and this person then issued an order. The next day, the Weng'an county police released the three murderers. This was how the mass incident got started, so that the police had to scramble on top of the roof while the masses aimed firecrackers at them. My fellow students asw more than two dozen police vehicles vandalized and set on fire. Even the fire truck got vandalized.
An additional point was that the female student was not murdered by another female student. The three male murderers asked another female student to get the victim to come out. The parents of the murderer addressed the department heard as "Department head Jiang."
My fellow student said that the police did not do anything wrong in terms of how they handled the matter. The main issue was with "Department head Jiang." Such was the immediate assessment by my fellow student based upon his personal experience. But since then, the police had taken the wrong actions during the long confrontation.
So far, family elders have been assaulted. It is not true that family relatives were beaten to death. Also, it is not true that the victim was murdered by another female student named Wang Jiao. It is not true that the victim was gang-raped by the son of the deputy county mayor and associates. If someone has to be investigated, it is "department head Jiang."
Yesterday morning, the Shaanxi provincial government held a press conference to announce the results of the investigation about the South China tiger photos. For the first time, the authorities acknowledged that the tiger photos were faked by filming the tiger from a wall calendar. It was also announced that the photographer Zhou Zhenglong has been arrested for fraud and that thirteen government officials from the provincial forestry department and Zhenping town have been disciplined. Among those officials were the stalwart "pro-tiger" characters Zhu Julong, Guan Ke and Li Qian who were either relieved, demoted or dismissed from their jobs. Once again, public discussion about the tiger photos has been re-ignited, and these officials had no compunction about reacting immediately. But their latest words were not apologies, for they showed no humility or shame. This showed the other disturbing aspect of this affair.
The public responses from the officials involved in the tiger photo forgery case carried a tone of absurdity. Shortly after the press conference was concluded, the press caught up with Zhu Julong. This former deputy director of the Shaanxi provincial forestry department was driving to lunch and his reaction to his punishment was: "I am now going to live a happy life which I will happily enjoy." The former forestry department information minister Guan Ke was a stalwart "pro-tiger" point man who blogged many times to rebut the critics. This time, he only said mildly: "My passion exceeded my rationality." Zhenping town forestry department director Jia Dapeng was given an administrative demerit and will be referred to the county people's congress for dismissal. His reaction was: "I will obey the decision of the Party and the people."
The good thing is that the words and actions of these officials over the past eight months are on record. Their boastfulness and hypocrisy cannot be glossed over lightly today. They accepted the fake tiger photos, they backed up Zhou Zhenglong in the face of public doubt and they even offered guarantees with their jobs. Zhu Julong was certainly an important player. Guan Ke was still defending the faked photos on the day before yesterday and accused people of smearing a photographer-hero. Other officials also joined to establish the "legend" of the tiger photo through their roles in the scientific investigation, field inspection, verification and award-giving.
This affair was a shameful matter known inside and outside of China. A small number of officials ignored science, commonsense and broiling public opinion to toy with the public trust. When the collective wisdom of the people stripped away the new clothes of the emperor, they persisted with their lies and used the power of the bureaucracy to prevent the truth from coming out. But now the authorities have followed what the public has already done and easily determined that the tiger photos were fake. Strangely enough, now that the tiger photos have been discredited, these officials are not showing any uneasiness and they are apparently indifferent to the sanctions imposed on them. It is certainly a strange phenomenon when public servants make no apologies for creating scandals or otherwise excuse their lies as professional zeal.
The Shaanxi government has posited that the tiger photos were faked by Zhou Zhenglong on his own without the participation of any public servants. This positioning separates Zhou from the government officials. In other words, the officials may be incompetent, but they were not co-conspirators. The question is just how this daring and sly citizen can get away with the poorly forged photos and obtained the endorsement of so-called professional experts and government officials? Against the calls from society, the officials in the forestry department went their own way. In retrospect, it was clear that they did so because the penalty is limited. So as long as you defend the interests of your department, you will be protected.
We don't know the full inside story behind the forgery, but we can see the hidden rules in action. Among the officials involved in the tiger photo affair, Zhenping country wildlife preservation station director Li Ping believed that the South China tiger is extinct and refused to participate in this farce of the "South China tiger economy." As a result, he received a completely different cold treatment: he was kept away from officialdom and stayed idle at home. Li Ping and the lying officials belong to the same system, and the truth-teller gets ostracized. So it is easy to imagine how the lying arrogant bureaucratic culture proliferate.
To a certain extent, the investigative results of the Shaanxi provincial government have corrected the wrong tendencies among certain officials. Regrettably, this is just half the story. The other half of the story may never be known and can only be filled in by imagination. The Shaanxi government interpreted the case as fraud, but the affair is really revealing the problems in officialdom and the public's worries about those problems.
(1) The uncle of the female student was alleged to have been beaten by the police and later died at the hospital. He is still alive, but in critical condition. He is interviewed by Hong Kong Cable in this YouTube Video: 香港有线电视台29号贵州瓮安
(2) There were reportedly four attempts by unidentified men to snatch the body of the female student. Alternately, the body of the female student was given a quick autopsy in which her internal organs were removed to destroy the evidence. In fact, the body is still resting in a refrigerated coffin by the river awaiting an autopsy.
The name of the female student victim was Li Shufen. She was 15 years old and she was a resident of Yuhua town. At around 6pm on June 21, Li Shufen was asked to go out by her classmate Wang Jiao. Li was raped by two young men who killed her and tossed her body into the Simen river. At some time past 11pm that night, some people heard cries for help. At around 12:30am, Wang Jiao called the elder brother of Li Shufen to report that Li Shufen "had committed suicide by jumping into the river."
Li Shufen's elder brother and others went down by the river and saw Wang Jiao standing by the bridge with two men. They found that there was no water in Li's stomach. Given that Li had given no indication of suicidal tendency, they took the three people down to the police station. But at 10am the next morning, the three people were released unconditionally without any interrogation or statement-taking. The police also said that the victim had died by "suicide."
The next day, someone told the relatives of Li Shufen that she had been raped, killed and thrown into the river. The police did not conduct an autopsy and ignored the request from the family to do so. Based upon information provided by local citizens, the Li family found out that Wang Jiao and the two young men were related to the leaders of the county public security bureau, county party committee and provincial party committee. That was why they were released after being detained only eight hours.
On Monday, the forensic doctor said that the cause of death was 'suicide.' The family went to petition at the country party committee office. Li Shufen's uncle who is a teacher at the Yuhua Middle School was assaulted by six plainclothes security guards and subsequently died from the injuries. Li Shufen's aunt was also beaten unconscious. Meanwhile, the parents of Li Shufen guarded the coffin by the Simen river.
According to the godfather of Li Shufen, "The public security bureau sent out people to try to steal the corpse to force a quick interment. When the family relatives refused, they were assaulted. The country mayor and the public security bureau all wanted a quick interment. Many people are on the site ready to defend the corpse. The corpse had been retrieved from the water by the family, but the public security bureau wanted them to say that the fire department retrieved it."
This tragic incident has aroused the anger of the local residents. The students from four Weng'an middle schools went down to the public security office to petition. The police used force to suppress them, which caused the students and other citizens to set fire to the public security bureau office and more than a dozen police vehicles. The police officers were trapped in the office building, and police reinforcements had to be summoned from elsewhere.
According to Mrs. Liu: "The students went to the government office with protest banners but nobody paid them any attention. Then they went down to the public security bureau building, where the police attacked them with electric prods. The students and the supporting citizens set fire to the dozens of police vehicles as well as the offices."
On this day, several tens of thousand of citizens assembled and protested in front of the public security bureau office, the county government building and the Civic Affairs Bureau building. They set fire to the public security, county government and county party committee buildings.
Mr. Wang who participated in the action said, "The county mayor and the public security bureau director were all in hiding. Several hundred anti-riot policemen were stuck in the building and did not dare to come out. The fire department people were blocked by the people from going in to put out the fires. This time, they saw the power of the people. They learned that when people are not afraid to die, then death cannot be used to threaten them!"
[ESWN Comment: The story above is unverified. Nevertheless this is the most popular story spread around the Internet. A competitive alternative with the rape angle has Wang Jiao taking revenge because Li Shufen refused to pass tips to her during an exam. The big problem here is this.
First, it is known from the photos and videos that a mass incident had occurred in Weng'an county.
Secondly, all mainstream media have been ordered to carry the Xinhua story:
According to the local police, on the afternoon of June 28, certain people were dissatisfied with the inquest on the cause of death for a female students and congregated at the county government and public security bureau offices. During the process of reception by the relevant government officials, certain people instigated the masses who did not know the truth to attack the county public security bureau, county government and county party offices. A small number of criminal elements vandalized the offices and set fire to many offices and vehicles.
Afterwards, the principal leaders of the Guiyang provincial party committee and government issued orders for the matter to be quickly and properly handled. Guiyang provincial Party Standing Committee member, Politics and Law Committee secretary and Public Security Bureau director Cui Yadong arrived at the scene to direct the local party committee and government to calm things down. At around 2am on June 29, the spectators slowly dispersed and the incident did not become bigger. Calm has basically been restored in Weng'an county.
The Xinhua story does not satisfy the need to know the truth. It only created many more doubts. This opened up the space for all sorts of rumors to dominate public opinion which cannot be fully blocked anymore at this time.
The photos of the Hainan Normal University female students were posted on June 24, but the user ID was locked and the photos were deleted quickly before they spread. The police then came in to investigate. A certain reporter named Zhao at Hainan Net published this as headline news which was then carried by the big portals together with some alleged photos.
As Hainan Normal University students, we were puzzled by the photos. In the photo below, the color of the door is wrong. There are also wooden desks and chairs in the room.
But the furniture in our dormitories consists of a bed on top of the desk.
We called up the reporter named Zhao who said that this was a file photo. We found this unacceptable. When anyone sees the news photo, they would think that this was one of the secretly taken photo from Hainan Normal University. But the truth was that the real photos never leaked out. In order to meet people's desire for titillation, the reporter found some other photo. This hurts the innocent female student victims, and it also misleads the readers.
At 10pm on June 29, the Shaanxi provincial government held a press conference to announce that the South China tiger photos taken by Zhou Zhenglong were forgeries based upon a photo that appeared in a calendar. The photos were actually taken from a distance between 3.9 meters and 10.5 meters, which confirmed the challenge from a botanist about the size of the 'tiger' relative to the tree leaves. Last September, Zhou Zhenglong asked a fellow villager to find a photo of a tiger. On September 27, he went into the mountains to take photos. But the quality of the photographs were poor. On October 3, he borrowed two high-end cameras from the town's director of the Economy and Trade Department and went out to take photos at around 4:30pm.
In April of this year, Zhou Zhenglong continued his confidence game by taking photos of tiger tracks which were based upon a wooden mould that he created himself. Zhou was recently summoned for interrogation. At first, he insisted that the tiger was real. When confronted by the physical evidence, he finally confessed.
Left: Zhou Zhenglong's photo.
Right: Police's photo at the site using the confiscated portrait
Zhou Zhenglong had received 20,000 RMB in reward money. As such, he will be charged with fraud. Along with him, 13 government officials received administrative sanctions including warnings and dismissals. Most prominent were two defenders of the South China tiger.
Guan Ke was the director of the Shaanxi provincial Forestry Department Information Center. Based upon his personal experience with photography, he made a simple study of the photos and hastily declared the tiger and the photos to be authentic. During the period of social debate over the issue, Guan Ke violated organizational discipline and established a personal blog to participate in the debate. This was a serious violation of discipline. As a result, Guan Ke has been administratively removed from his job.
Zhu Julong was the deputy director of the Shaanxi provincial Forestry Department in charge of wildlife care. He received the report and failed to order a scientific evaluation of the photos or dispatch technicians to the field. As such, he has direct responsibility as the supervisor in charge. As a result, he has been given an administrative demerit. The Shaanxi provincial government has also decided to relieve him as deputy director of the Shaanxi provincial Forestry Department.
Rioters torched a police building and vehicles in southwest China on Saturday, in unrest triggered by allegations of a cover-up over a girl's death, according to Chinese accounts on the Internet. The reports of the clash in Weng'an County, Guizhou province, could not be immediately verified and government and police did not answer phone calls in the early hours of Sunday. But the accounts spreading on the Internet, despite China's state censorship, depicted a violent outburst involving thousands of people and lasting several hours.
Residents were enraged by allegations that police had ignored a family's claim that their 15-year old daughter, whose body was found in a river a week ago, appeared to have been raped and possibly murdered, the accounts said. Blogs linked to the popular Sina.com Chinese website (www.sina.com.cn) showed pictures of thousands of people surrounding a police headquarters, riot police guarding the burning shell of the building, and burnt and overturned police vehicles.
The reports come as China seeks to quell any unrest ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games in August. President Hu Jintao has said ensuring stability is a top priority ahead of the Games.
The accounts said a youth alleged to have attacked the girl may have been the son of a senior county official or police officer. "Without conducting a full autopsy, the police believed the girl committed suicide by jumping in a river, and they did not take mandatory measures against the suspect and ignored the family's call for a full autopsy," said one account. "This drew the anger of the family and public and later sparked this conflict."
Repeated calls to the Weng'an County Public Security Bureau were not answered or did not connect, and calls to the county government were not answered after midnight on Saturday. State media carried no reports of the incident. Some Internet reports said school students were at the forefront of the unrest in the poor, mountainous region.
Chinese websites quickly removed many messages about the incident, but others remained accessible. "I hope that the Internet will be able to swiftly oversee the government in uncovering the truth as soon as possible and delivering justice to the family," said one message.
A police station and a county government office building in southwest China's Guizhou Province were assaulted and torched by local people Saturday night, official sources said. The chaos started in Weng'an county seat Saturday afternoon when people who were dissatisfied with the medicolegal expertise on the death of a local girl student gathered at the county government and public security bureau, police said. When officials were handling the case, some people who did not know about the exact context of what had happened were instigated to mob the police station and the office buildings of the county government and Communist Party committee. They smashed and torched many offices and some cars, police said. Provincial public security chief Cui Yadong, who is also member of the standing committee of the provincial Communist Party committee, rushed to the scene to help quiet down the incident. By 2 a.m. Sunday, the county seat was gradually resuming order while lookers-on began to disperse.
(Ming Pao; anti-CNN.com; Qbar) (Warning: Unconfirmed, conflicting stories are being circulated on the Internet, but those photos do not lie)
The son of the Weng'an county deputy mayor and another youth raped and killed a 15-year-old female middle school student named Li Shufei (李树菲) and then tossed her body into the Ximen river aferwards. The police detained the suspects for five hours and released them without charge. The police said that the girl had committed suicide by leaping into the river. The relatives of the girl went to complain to the police. Instead of getting justice, the relatives were assaulted. An uncle of the girl was beaten unconscious and eventually died. The uncle was a teacher himself, and his students went to demonstrate down at the police station. It seems as if the entire population of the county are outside the public security bureau office building.
CNN's designated Olympic torch relay runner made a sudden U-turn yesterday by announcing he would not run in the Beijing leg after all. Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz said he would give up his place and offer it to "any member" of the Sichuan earthquake rescue and relief operations. The pullout comes just a week after he said he was honoured to have been chosen to carry the torch when it returns to the capital on August 6.
"My daughter Michelle and I are happy and honoured to have been selected as torch-bearers in the ongoing Olympic relay," he said. "However, only Michelle will be running in the relay. I wish to offer my slot to someone who has made extraordinary contributions during the earthquake rescue and relief operations, in any field."
The veteran China journalist, a Philippine national, bore the brunt of China's wrath after commentator Jack Cafferty's now infamous "goons and thugs" remark made on a political programme on April 9. FlorCruz was summoned by the Foreign Ministry for an angry dressing down after CNN's initial apology failed to appease. It finally accepted an apology after a letter was presented last month by CNN president Jim Walton to China's ambassador to the United States.
Q: Thousands of media reporters rushed from inside and outside of China to cover the Wenchuan earthquake. You are the deputy chief editor at Hong Kong's <Ming Pao> in charge mainland China reporting. Please tell us about how <Ming Pao> and other Hong Kong media covered the earthquake.
Zhang Xu: The first of our colleagues departed from the office to the disaster area at around 3pm on May 12 (note: the earthquake occurred at 2:28pm). My colleagues went via separate routes. Some headed towards the Hong Kong International Airport, while others went to the Shenzhen Airport. All of them went to Chongqing and then they traveled overnight to Chengdu. When my colleagues left the office, they had never heard of Wenchuan yet. They only knew that they were supposed to go to Sichuan province. On the way, we spelled out the name of Wenchuan for them. On the first day, we dispatched four persons. But it was only when the third-ladder team went out that they carried satellite telephones. We sent sixteen person/occasions in total. On the first day after the earthquake (May 13), we published five full pages in the newspaper. The maximum ever was ten pages, but basically we had between eight to ten pages on the average. In terms of sheer quantity, we had more than other Hong Kong newspapers. But I feel that the Hong Kong media were basically similar in terms of timeliness and content. I should say that this was the biggest project that <Ming Pao> undertook since the late 1980's.
Q: We noticed that <Ming Pao> used the frontline reporters of Hong Kong television media as their sources. Does this mean that the print media are disadvantaged against the television media during the competitive coverage of this earthquake?
A: First of all, the Hong Kong television media really did a better job this time. Earthquake news is better suited for television, because the visuals are so rich. They also invested huge amounts of people and resources. I heard that TVB spent HK$2 million on telephone bills alone. Their reporters have greater vigor and they gave us many tips, references and information.
Actually, the advantage of the television media over print media in Hong Kong had shown itself before this earthquake. The print media have been under pressure for some time before that. In fact, it is normal for the Hong Kong newspapers to trail televised news. This is a big concern because many Hong Kong newspapers are exploring what to do for the future. The consensus is that we have to have in-depth analytical and interpretive reporting in order to survive.
Q: How do you view the performances of the mainland media, including CCTV, the Xinhua agency, the market-oriented media and the new Internet media with respect to earthquake coverage?
A: Generally speaking, we feel that the mainland media have been quite open, especially the reaction and reporting of the "mouthpieces" CCTV and Xinhua. In terms of timeliness and depth, this was the best in our memory. This time, the market-oriented media and the new media may have been outshone by the central or 'mouthpiece' media, because the latter had blanket coverage with unmatchable resources. I watched the coverage on CCTV every day but I cannot remember the name of a single reporter. That is because they have so many reporters out there, with each reporter backed up by a film crew behind him/her. You can imagine how much resource they had. If there should ever be full open competition, the official media cannot be ignored.
Q: Among the aforementioned media, which was the most memorable report or televised episode for you?
A: My deepest impression was about the televised scenes with Premier Wen Jiabao, including his conversation with the disaster victims by the ruins and his dialogue with the orphan girl. I think that they left a deep impression with the people of Hong Kong, and not just myself.
In addition, there is a certain media person of uncertain affiliation who published a QQ session in the first person on his personal blog under the nickname Qimeng. This person is likely to be a member of the media entourage of Premier Wen Jiabao. At this time, we do not know if the blog post is true or not. But it drew widespread attention in Hong Kong at the time. On the day after, <Ming Pao> and other media quoted this chat session. We said that there was a Sina.com blog post from a media reporter and we published it as is.
Recently at the Hainan Normali University, more than 100 female students found photos of themselves taken in the dormitory were posted onto the Internet. On June 23, some students found almost 200 secretly taken photos at the Xiaonei.com website. Most of the photos show students washing up in their underwear or changing their clothes. Some of the photos showed quite a bit of flesh in addition to the faces. On June 24, almost 300 more photos were posted in the afternoon, including some that were taken that very morning. More than 40 female students have been victimized.
Yesterday, the Hainan police entered the case. All the photos have now been deleted and three male university students were detained. The police also worked with the Internet Monitoring Bureau to obtain all the user IDs involved in uploading the photos, as well as the number of hits (note: the severity of the crime depends on the potential social impact).
At the university cafeteria, there is a notice from the security office and the student affairs office in which 20,000 RMB is offered for information leading to the apprehension of those responsible.
According to the police, "they have processed the photos technically and therefore the photos will not be present at any website." In practice, that is impossible without human inspection. Thus the photos can still be easily found today. The following photo was the one used by the mainstream newspapers.
Q1. Do the Nationalist Party (Kuomingtang) and the Democratic Progressive Party value public opinion?
Blue=Nationalist (Kuomintang), Green=Democratic Progressive Party; horizontal axis are year/month (with the year being dated from 1911,
or the year of birth of the Republic of China)
Q2. Do you think that the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) and the Democratic Progressive Party are clean (i.e. not corrupt)?
[Q3, Q4, Q5 and Q6 are about vitality, reform, unity and self-reflection and can be found by clicking on the link.]
Q7. How satisfied are you with the performance of the Nationalist (KMT) party over the past month as the ruling party?
3%: Very satisfied
27%: Somewhat satisfied
27%: Somewhat dissatisfied
29%: Very dissatisfied
13%: No opinion
Q8. How satisfied are you with the performance of the Democratic Progressive Party in monitoring the government over the past month?
6%: Very satisfied
31%: Somewhat satisfied
28%: Somewhat dissatisfied
21%: Very dissatisfied
14%: No opinion
This is the worst case scenario for the upcoming Legislative Council election, as provided by anonymous pan-democrat member(s) of the Hong Kong Legislative Council. The numbers are for the seats held presently and the seats in the upcoming election by district:
Hong Kong Island: 4 seats now, 2 seats next
Kowloon East: 3 seats now, 2 seats next
Kowloon West: 3 seats now, 2 seats next
New Territories East: 4 seats now, 4 seats next
New Territories West: 5 seats now, 4 seats next
Functional Constituencies: 7 seats now, 2 seats next
TOTAL: 26 seats now, 16 seats next
Why are these guesstimates being published? That's because Apple Daily has been running a steady campaign to get Anson Chan to run again in the Hong Kong Island Legco election. The calculus is that if Anson Chan is in the race, then it would help to win four seats because of her name appeal. But if she declines to run, all sorts of other no-name pan-democrats would enter the race and dilute the vote.
Related link (in Chinese): 民主耆英別再干政吧！ 王岸然
At the RTHK website, a map of China did not include Taiwan. This led to many National People's Congress and Communist Party Political Consultative Conference members to denounce RTHK for promoting separatism.
The RTHK spokesperson said that the map of China was merely symbolic and did not deliberately exclude Taiwan from China. RTHK is trying to understand what had happened, and will make any corrections as quickly as possible.
Previously in 1999, RTHK had arranged for the Taiwan representative in Hong Kong to discuss Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui's "theory of two nations." Nine years later, it is making the same mistake.
Taiwan has always been regarded as an inseparable part of China. But in the RTHK programme, the red map of China did not include Taiwan under the slogan of "Strength transmits strength, life ignites life."
Hong Kong Legislative Council member Tsoi So-yuk emphasized that Taiwan belongs to China but the official channel of the Hong Kong government RTHK still committed this huge error. She emphasized that she will ask at the Legislative Council about whether RTHK has ulterior political motives in so doing.
Satisfaction rate of overall performance of Legislative Council members
25%: Satisfied (compared to 31% in March 2008)
23%: Dissatisfied (compared to 22% in March 2008)
Satisfaction rate of Hong Kong Police Force:
70%: Satisfied (compared to 73% in March 2008)
8%: Dissatisfied (compared t0 7% in March 2008)
Satisfaction rate of People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong:
61%: Satisfied (compared to 57% in March 2008)
1%: Dissatisfied (compared to 1% in March 2008)
At 9am, the mildly obese LEX wearing a pair of sunglasses entered his office with a notebook computer in hand. He sat down in front of the computer and he opened up the Tianya Forum webpage titled <Please help me find this person." LEX scanned through the comments: "I don't think that this is in Beijing, but I offer my support," "The person's telephone begins with 587 and the background appears to be a high school in Changsha. This person has a good friend named Fan." After scanning through the page, LEX fund three useful clues and he forwarded the information to the Human Flesh Search Engine's administrator's page.
Then he began a new search and he saw a post titled "Looking for a laundry detergent girl." He posted the contents to his own QQ account and cross-posted to the other big forums. He pounded the keyboard to enter the relevant keywords into Baidu. Then he heard his boss's footsteps from behind. So he immediately flicked the computer back to work-related matters. During the whole morning, LEX went back to his page every 30 to 60 minutes and checked the responses. This is the basic requirement for a "human flesh search engine."
At 5pm, LEX got off work and went to a teahouse with wifi service. He grabbed a bite to eat and then he checked the responses to the "Laundry detergent girl." "The laundry detergent looked to be from Fujian province." LEX immediately picked up this piece of information and forwarded it to his QQ group. Immediately, his QQ friends began to provide him with lists of friends in Fujian. Finally, someone wrote: "This person is in Fujian." By 9pm, LEX had obtained a satisfactory outcome.
LEX explained by pointing to the laundry detergent in the photo: "There does not appear to be anything of value in this photo. But if you magnify the photo, you can see that the detergent is produced in Fujian province. LEX called a friend in Fujian, and confirmed within minutes that this was the case.
LEX then posted the information to the Fujian forum of one the major websites. Thirty minutes later, he checked again and saw that many people have commented. LEX selected one comment titled "This could be a school" and then made another post. As this went of, the scope of the search narrowed. The "human flesh search engines" come from all walks of life and they each have their individual strengths. Some are good at telecommunications and they can retrieve the telephone numbers; others are strong with observational skills and they can analyze photos; still others have analytical skills and they can collate the data.
The search process is actually a continuous process of error-correction because incorrect clues can mislead the human flesh search engines. For example, if the goal is to track down a school, the convenor may post the photo to the QQ group from which many proposals would come. The convenor then select the three most popular locations and present it to the QQ group, which picks a candidate to investigate. If no such school exists, then the convenor would start again. This is how the errors get corrected.
"Human flesh search engines" such as LEX are mostly between 23 to 25 years old with their own jobs. Apart from the entertainment value, the biggest motivator for them is the MOP currency (namely, a virtual currency used at the MOP forum).
Q: Suppose someone offered a huge amount of MOP currency to track down a person. If during your search process, you discovered that the reason was not as orignally stated. What would you do?
A: It depends on whether the person is offering the right price in my mind. If the price is right, I will still help him.
Q: You say that this is what interests you. What is in there to delight you?
A: I regard the "human flesh search" as a hobby. In the virtual world of MOP, you get respected if you own a lot of MOP currency. This respect is enough to satisfy my small vanity.
The reporter also learned that the MOP website is ready to post job positions for "human flesh search engines," although the pay will come only in the form of virtual MOP currency. But the employer is confident that this organized "human flesh search engine team" will no longer engage in either silly exercises or intrusions into privacy. The MOP organizer said: "Many of the current searches are focused on searching for pretty girls. I want to get everybody together to work on behalf of public interest and track down some meaningful people." If everybody sticks to the rules, the human flesh search engines will become purer. But that will depend on people voluntarily sticking to the rules.
Related Link: Human flesh search engines: Chinese vigilantes that hunt victims on the web Hannah Fletcher, Times Online, June 25, 2008.
調 查 指 16.8% 人 擬 7.1 遊 行
[Translation: Study says 16.8% of people plan to march on July 1st]
This is the study from Chinese University of Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies. The relevant question is:
Q5. Since 2003, the Civil Human Rights Front organizes a July 1st march each year. Will you be attending this year's July 1st march?
12.7% + 4.1% = 16.8%. Assuming that there are 5.7 million adults in Hong Kong, this means 16.8% x 5.7 million = 958,000 persons will be marching. Wow!
Before you get too carried away, you should note that the same question had been asked the two preceding years.
In 2006, the answers were:
In 2007, the answers were:
The actual turnouts were:
58,000, according to the Civil Human Rights Front
36,000, according to the Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme
27,500, according to the Hong Kong University Statistics and Actuarial Department
68,000 according to the Civil Human Rights Front
32,000 according to the Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme
31,000 according to the Hong Kong University Statistics and Actuarial Department
So what is your guess as to what the actual turnout in 2008? Is it 958,000? Or the 50,000 estimated by Civil Human Rights Front deputy convenor Jackie Hung?
P.S. Ming Pao's story had this headline:
[translation: More than 80% of citizens will not march on July 1st]
Sing Tao's story had this headline:
83% 人 稱 七 一 不 遊 行
[translation: 83% of the people said they won't march on July 1st]
Is the cup half empty? or half full?
Immersed in the sea of information on the Internet, two things could happen. On one hand, our society becomes more open due to the excitement of the multiplicity of information and we become more tolerant, cautious and adept at analyzing complex information. On the other hand, we select certain information that we like and this reinforces our original positions; as a result, we become less tolerant about others because we are more willing to use an established position to judge this complex society.
Based upon my ten plus years of personal experience on the Internet, both conditions exist and they can be frequently observed. For the first condition, the Internet has permitted dissonant views to communicate and left space for rational debate. We are able to perceive the presence of a virtual public space. As for the second condition, the Internet is the paradise for anonymous Internet mobsters to roam free. "Ultimately, the open world breaks down into numerous self-absorbed, self-enclosed sects." I want to say that both situations hold. However, the first situation is more prevalent.
This happens because when these two bodies gather in the same place, those who prefer a singular position will continue to "react" and "mutually stimulate each other" in the same manner. Meanwhile, those who prefer diversity will gradually grow tired of this scene. Eventually, we will see some spaces turn from "discussion of current affairs into fantasy paradises intent on conquering the world" and some forums turn from "practicing rationality to wanting to toss all angry young people into the ocean." "In any closed community, the extreme voices will drive the community towards extreme positions, and voices of moderation are to be eradicated." But Leung Man-tao may not know that during this transition from moderation to extremism, diversity actually obtained a greater victory. Such are the strengths and hopes of the Internet.
Over the past decade or so, I have been through so many BBS's ... As Leung Man-tao wrote, many of these forums eventually folded into self-absorption and extremism. But that is just one view of what happened. On the other side, I was able to meet many strangers who share my sentiments. We were not willing to be folded into small sects, and we would rather live in an environment that is free, open and diverse. Therefore, we spread out to find other oases where we can stay. Or as my friend Hecaitou wrote more poetically, we are a group of wanderers drifting on the ocean looking for a suitable island to stay. For more than ten years, this fleet has grown from nothing to something, from small to large on the Internet. More recently, we have moved from the Internet into the traditional media to articulate our voices that represent freedom, openness and diversity. Today, the Chinese society can no longer ignore our voices.
Whereas Leung Man-tou sees fallen islands one by one, I see pirate ships that set off from these isolated islands. This increasingly large fleet of ships is roaming the open sea. Whereas Leung Man-tao sees these islands as cancerous cells chewing up the Internet and ultimately killing off the public space, I see the freedom ships spreading the concepts of freedom and openness on the sea. In the end, the isolated islands will fall to these pirate ships. A free, open and diverse space will fill up the world. Ultimate, people are curious and want to learn more, so that a self-enclosed space cannot be the be-all, end-all to everyone ...
The reason why there are divergent assessments is a function of experience. My understanding is that Leung Man-tao is not a veteran netizen and he lacks the experience of roaming on the sea as a member of the grand fleet of pirate ships. If he is watching from the shore, he will naturally see numerous isolated islands. But if he is in the middle of the sea, he would be able to count the number of victories of the million-strong fleet ...
Recently, Han Han and Chen Danqing appeared on a Hunan Satellite TV program and made some astonishing remarks. They "lambasted" many literary masters such as Lao She, Mao Dun and Ba Jin as "lousy writers" and "Bing Xin was completely unreadable." This roused a storm. Some people supported them, but more of the voices objected to them.
Han Han told yWeekend:
I think that this is most peculiar. I am only expression my personal aesthetics and reading habits. How normal can this get? Why am I guilty of such a big offense? I spoke as a critic that their writing is not good. If they are upset, then it must mean that they disagree with my viewpoint. Well, they can tell me what is so good about the writings of Ba Jin, Mao Dun and Bing Xin. If I disagree with them ... well ... we have different standards of aesthetics and we agree to go our own separate ways. That is quite normal. Or else they might say, "You stupid egg! You have lousy aesthetic tastes." That is alright too. But instead they are now saying: The Masters must not be criticized ... you are forgetting your own origins ... you have a flaw in your character ... you will be nailed on the Pole of Shame in history ...
So if anyone who can't stand reading Bing Xin should be nailed on the Pole of Shame in history. So in this world, if your personal interests does not include the writings of certain athors, it is against morality, it offends the people and it shows that you are uneducated.
Naturally, in my heart, I regard myself as a Master. Your Masters are not necessarily my Masters. To my eyes, they are just writers, or successful writers. Naturally I can decide for myself whether I like to read their writings or not. This has nothing to do with the morals of a person. If there is someone I consider a master, I can still tell him: "Dear Master, I feel that I don't like this particular part about what you wrote."
Q. Mr Ambassador, when did you first learn that the number of Beijing citizens going to travel in France has decreased? And what was your initial reaction?
A: This matter really confounded me. I did not imagine this would occur, and I don't understand it. On May 26, we heard some rumors that certain tour agencies received orders from the government to boycott France. We then discovered that the number of visa applications by Chinese citizens has decreased dramatically. We were very concerned.
My initial reaction was that there was not way that such an order exists. So I went to check it out immediately. I met with the State Tourism Bureau director Sha Qiwei first and then I met with the Beijing Tourism Bureau director Zhang Weiguang next. They both told me that the tourism industry should progress normally because it is the bridge between our two nations.
Q: So what do you believe?
A: I don't know who is right. But clearly, the problem has not been solved. I noticed that the Chinese government has been actively speaking out, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other State Tourism Bureau officials. They are all saying the same thing: "There is no problem, and there should not be any problem." If certain incidents that occurred in Paris caused some Chinese not to want to go to France, then I respect their individual actions. They can do whatever they want. But the problem is that the number of tourists going to France has decreased.
There is another rumor that France is not issuing tourist visa right now. That is inaccurate. We are issuing fewer visas now because we are getting fewer applications. This is happening only in Beijing, because the numbers have not changed in Guangzhou and Shanghai. But most Chinese tourists going to France come from Beijing, so there is a big drop in the overall number.
Q. Certain comments by French netizens have caused infelicity. For example, some French people are saying if the Chinese don't come to France, the Paris public transports will become quieter and there will be less garbage on the streets ...
A. To quote a Chinese saying: When the forest is big, there are all kinds of birds. I personally regret some of the very silly comments. I feel that the French Internet reaction is just as heated as in China, where people say anything they want. But one should not simply deduce that these comments represent the attitude of the entire French people. The majority of French people are very friendly towards China. I feel both countries need to have a constructive dialogue. Both sides are ready to get beyond the problems over the past few months in order to reach a mutually satisfactory solution.
Q1. Overall, are you satisfied with the progress of Hong Kong since 1997?
Q2. Do you confident about the overall progress of Hong Kong over the next 10 years?
13.8%: No confidence
41.8%: Have confidence
Q3. Do you think the Central Government has carried out "one country, two systems" since 1997?
11.0%: Did not carry out
50.7%: Carried out
Q4. Has your opinion of the Central Government become worse, the same or better since 1997?
26.0%: The same
Q5. Since 2003, the Civil Human Rights Front organizes a July 1st march each year. Will you be attending this year's July 1st march?
Q6. People who participate in the July 1st march have different reasons. What is your main reason? (Base: Those who answered "Maybe" or "Definitely" to Q5)
37.4%: Fight for double universal suffrage/support democracy
22.3%: Monitor government/dissatisfaction with government policies and actions
16.5%: Dissatisfied with rising prices/demand prices be held down
13.7%: Dissatisfied with increasing rich/poor gap
Q. Will you be voting in the Legislative Council elections this September?
11%: Don't know
11%: No opinion
Q. If the Legislative Council election were to be held today, which list in your district would you vote for?
Hong Kong Island
25.1%: Anson Chan (independent)
19.3%: Tanya Chan/Audrey Eu (Civic Party)
18.3%: Regina Ip (Savantas)
10.3%: Jasper Tsang/Tsoi So-yuk (DAB)
6.4%: Kam Nai-wai (Democratic Party)
2.9%: Lo Wing-lok (League of Socialist Democrats)
Under the proportionate allocation system, the six seats will be allocated as follows:
1. Anson Chan (independent)
2. Tanya Chan (Civic Party)
3. Regina Ip (Savantas)
4. Second person on Anson Chan's list (independent)
5. Jasper Tsang (DAB)
6. Kam Nai-wai (Democratic Party)
29.0%: Alan Leong Kah-kit (Civic Party)
15.4%: Chan Kam-lam (DAB)
13.5%: Lee Wah-ming (Democratic Party)
11.6%: Wong Kwok-kin/Chen Yuan-han (Federation of Trade Unions)
9.3%: Andew To (League of Social Democrats)
Under the proportionate allocation system, the four seats will be allocated as follows:
1. Alan Leong (Civic Party)
2. Chan Kam-lam (DAB)
3. Lee Wah-ming (Democratic Party)
4. Wong Kwok-kin (Federation of Trade Unions)
15.1%: James To (Democratic Party)
12.2%: Michael Tien Park-sun (Liberal Party)
9.8%: Raymond Wong (League of Socialist Democrats)
8.8%: Claudai Mo (Civic Party)
8.3%: Lee Wai-king/Chung Kong-mo (DAB)
8.3%: Frederick Fung (Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood)
4.4%: Priscilla Leung Mei-fun
Under the proportionate allocation system, the five seats will be allocated as follows:
1. James To (Democratic Party)
2. Michael Tien (Liberal Party)
3. Raymond Wong (League of Social Democrats)
4. Claudia Mo (Civic Party)
5. Dead heat between Lee Wai-king and Frederick Fung
New Territories East
17.5%: Lau Kong-wah/Chan Hak-kan (DAB)
17.2%: James Tien (Liberal Party)
13.9%: Ronny Tong (Civic Party)
12.8%: Cheng Kar-foo (Democratic Party)
5.8%: Leung Kwok-hung (League of Socialist Democrats)
5.8%: Emily Lau (Front Line)
Under the proportionate allocation system, the seven seats will be allocated as follows:
1. Lau Kong-wah (DAB)
2. James Tien (Liberal Party)
3. Ronny Tong (Civic Party)
4. Cheng Kar-foo (Democratic Party)
5. Chan Hak-kan (DAB)
6. Second member on James Tien's list (Liberal Party)
7. Dead heat between Leung Kwok-hung and Emily Lau
New Territories West
21.9%: Albert Ho/Lee Wing-tat (Democratic Party)
20.2%: Tam Yiu-chung/Cheung Hok-ming (DAB)
11.8%: Leung Yiiu-chung (Neighbourhood and Worker’s Service)
7.7%: Lee Cheuk-yan (Confederation of Trade Unions)
6.1%: Selina Chow (Liberal Party)
2.7%: Albert Chan Wai-yip (League of Socialist Democrats)
2.0%: Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung (Civic Party)
1.4%: Stanley Chiang Chi-wai
Under the proportionate allocation system, the eight seats will be allocated as follows:
1. Albert Ho (Democratic Party)
2. Lee Wing-tat (Democratic Party)
3. Tam Yiu-chung (DAB)
4. Cheung Hok-ming (DAB)
5. Tam Yiu-chung (Neighbourhood and Worker's Service)
6. Lee Cheuk-yan (Confederation of Trade Unions)
7. Selina Chow (Liberal Party)
8. Third member of Democratic Party's list
Rating of Chief Executive (on a scale of 0 to 100): 57.9% (down -2.9 from two weeks ago)
Vote of confidence in CE Donald Tsang
51%: Yes (down 6% from two weeks ago)
30%: No (up 6% from two weeks ago)
Satisfaction with performance of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government
36%: satisfied (down 14% from one month ago)
22%: dissatisfied (up 11% from one month ago)
Relation with the Central Government
65%: satisfied (up 1% from three months ago)
10%: dissatisfied (up 2% from three months ago)
Protecting human rights and freedom
43%: satisfied (down 6% from three months ago)
23%: dissatisfied (up 5% from three months ago)
Maintaining economic prosperity
42%: satisfied (down 15% from three months ago)
22%: dissatisfied (up 9% from three months ago)
Pace of democratic development
32%: satisfied (down 5% from three months ago)
33%: dissatisfied (up 5% from three months ago)
Improving people's livelihood
28%: Satisfied (down 11% from three months ago)
36%: Dissatisfied (up 10% from three months ago)
Q7. Do you think that the Ma Ying-jeou government has actively investigated the various corruption cases that occurred during the term of ex-President Chen Shui-bian?
31%: Don't know
Q8. Do you think that the Ma Ying-jeou government should actively investigate, suspend the investigations temporarily or stop the investigations altogether?
48%: Actively investigate
25%: Suspend the investigations temporarily
13%: Stop the investigations altogether
15%: No opinion
[By political affiliation,
DDP supporter: 27% actively pursue; 44% suspend; 33% stop
KMT supporter: 69% actively pursue; 23% suspend; 4% stop
Neutral: 38% actively pursue; 22% suspend; 10% stop
Q9. Generally speaking, are you satisfied with how the Ma Ying-jeou administration has handled the various corruption cases that occurred during the term of ex-President Chen Shui-bian?
3%: Very satisfied
21%: Somewhat satisfied
16%: Very dissatisfied
26%: No opinion
In response to a question, Tainan city Department of Health director Hu Shu-chen said: "Every place that the mainland guests passes by will be disinfected." A member of the delegation of mainland Chinese travel representatives reacted to that statement by saying that they had already gone through the disease control station at the airport and this is highly unnecessary. He said that he has visited more than twenty countries already and nobody does that. Neither Japan nor the United States does that to any of the many mainland Chinese tourists, and there has never been any outbreak of epidemics in those countries.
Later, Hu Shu-chen explained that the mainland tourists coming to Taiwan have high socio-ecnoomic status and their health should be relatively better. The Department of Health plans to disinfect the tourist sites which mainland and other overseas tourists visit, and that would be good for the tourists as well as the local people.
The pro-green media are questioning why the government is letting the mainland tourists come without monitoring the infectious diseases. This will place the people of Taiwan at risk from all sorts of deadly viruses. They emphasized repeatedly that "there are 550 million people with infectious tuberculosis in mainland China" and 130,000 people die from it each year. Since "the mainland people spit everywhere they go," tuberculosis will be all over the place.
According to a village mayor in Tainan county, "citizens should report immediately if they see a mainlander coughing."
According to a mainland woman who married to Taiwan, her husband's family used to be very nice to her. But yesterday, her mother-in-law asked her whether she had any infectious diseases before her marriage. "I heard on the radio that the Taiwanese people have no resistnace against certain types of diseases, so that they will die if they get infected." The mainland woman said that she came to Taiwan several years ago and took care of her father-in-law who had tuberculosis. She wasn't afraid of being infected. But all of a sudden, the radio talk show has turned suspicions on her.
The following print ad was for a hospital in Shenzhen. The words say: "Visit The Dentist, Get A Nurse For Free." The netizen who first posted the photo wrote: "This kind of advertisement leads men into letting their fantasy run wild. But if a woman goes to visit the dentist, will they have to offer a male dentist with high education and income in order to close the sale? ... Such an advertisement nakedly uses the female bodies to communicate. This totally demeans women by treating them in a subordinate position where they have to please men in order to derive commercial benefits." Another netizen wrote that the pretty nurses are pleasant to look at, but the advertising slogan was disgusting.
According to the hospital which ran this advertisement, the purpose here is induce the citizens of Shenzhen to pay more attention to their dental health. The "free nurse" portion of the advertising slogan refers to their program which assigns a nurse as a personal dental consultant to their clients for free.
<Lust, Caution: The lives of Eileen Chang and Hu Lancheng>
This book was selected for the list because of the most rotten packaging of the year. Most people will only see the words <Lust, Caution> 《色,戒》 from a distance and failed to see the small print about "the lives of Eileen Chang and Hu Lancheng. The book is also shrink-wrapped so that people cannot peruse the contents at the bookstore. So if people bought the book thinking that this was the Eileen Chang novela on which the Ang Lee movie was based, they would have been cheated. This was worst than buying a lousy book, because the experience is closer to a highway robbery. The name of the author is Xia Shiqing (夏世清), which is suspected to be a fictional name that was designed to mislead people into thinking that this is Xia Zhiqing (夏志清), who is a friend of Eileen Chang and a famous literature scholar.
Previously, Crown Publishing (Taiwan) had sued 12 mainland Chinese publishers for copyright violations of the works of author Eileen Chang. Yesterday, the Beijing Number Two Middle Court found Jiangsu Literature Publishers guilty of copyright violation with respect to the book <Rumors and Private Words>. The judgment was effective immediately and the publisher is required to pay 200,000 RMB to Crown Publishing.
According to the plaintiff, they had obtained all publishing rights of Eileen Chang from Stephen and Mae Fong Soong. Jiangsu Publishing had published <Rumors and Private Words> which included 56 essays by Eileen Chang without authorization. In addition, the plaintiff's lawyer had purchased the copy of the book from Amazon.com, and this made the latter a co-defendant. The court ordered Amazon.com to cease and desist selling the said book. The defendants can appeal the verdict within the next 15 days.
According to the plaintiff's lawyer Wang Yun, this case was a somewhat special case in the series of copyright lawsuits against twelve different Chinese publishers. At first, Jiangsu Literature Publishers expressed a desire to settle the case. While the two sides were negotiating, the plaintiff found out that Jiangsu Literature Publishers had made another print run of the book. Therefore, the plaintiff went to court.
The reporter found out that Amazon.com is no longer selling this book. However, this book can still be purchased at other websites.
Legislators engaged in physical and verbal clashes during the legislature’s Diplomacy and National Defense Committee meeting yesterday as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators continued their criticism of Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou.
Ou was to make his first appearance at the legislature, where, according to the agenda, he was to unveil policy plans.
But DPP legislators blocked Ou from making his presentation, while criticizing him for once having permanent resident status in the US and for failings in handling the Diaoyutai incident earlier this month.
As DPP legislators continued to denounce Ou and blocked him from reaching the podium, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Chiang made a motion to end the meeting, which was quickly passed as the KMT holds a majority in the committee. DPP lawmakers then attempted to stop Ou from leaving the meeting. “Ou, step down!” “You’re a runaway minister!” and “Get out and never come back!” DPP legislators shouted as they surrounded Ou. KMT legislators eventually came to Ou’s rescue and escorted him out of the building with help from legislative police officers.
The DPP caucus later continued its condemnation of Ou at a press conference and asked him to apologize and step down. “We hereby ask the KMT and Ou to apologize to the public and that Ou step down,” DPP legislative caucus whip William Lai said.
What is payback? Just watch how the Democratic Progressive Party legislators took care of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Francisco Ou was denounced loudly and then jostled into leaving the scene. This is very similar to the government officials of the Chen Shui-bian administration being taken care of by the Kuomintang legislators. This is also very similar to when the Kuomintang was the ruling party and the opposition (later to become the Democratic Progressive Party) legislators dealt with government officials in the same way.
In our country, it is about paybacks even as valuable time is slipping away from the hands of the legislators. In the end, the people who suffer the most are the people and not the easy-living legislators.
... More than 10 years of democratization still hasn't made the legislative and executive branches come up with a formal model of interaction. All they have learned is the payback through lowly hooligan tactics that desecrated the lofty democratic parliament.
Legislators are not gangsters. They should not indulge in eye for eye, tooth for tooth revenge. Legislators represent the will of the people. They are not hooligans and thugs. They are supposed to be arguing over state policies, as opposed to fighting over turf, money or women. There is no need to look fierce and seek payback at every turn. Just look at what happens in the parliaments of democratic countries: they speak mildly, they have class, they argue clearly and they don't emote. Taiwan legislators, try to learn something!
According to reports, a certain guest at the Taiwan television program <Kongxi Is Coming> wore pajamas that carried the Free Tibet flag. Patriotic Chinese young people spotted the pajamas and are calling for a boycott of the program. The young female guest said that the clothing belonged to her ex-boyfriend and she had no idea what they meant. She only found out now that there was a religious meaning. I believe her. But never mind her as an entertainer, because I am someone who keeps up with current affairs and even I am unable to react instantaneously upon seeing the snow mountain lion.
But that is not the issue. Rather, the important thing is that the ban is being advocated by certain patriotic young people. I rarely watch television and I have no idea where this program was being shown. Afterwards, I checked all the television channels that I can receive and I did not find this program. I got on the Internet and then I found out that this was a Taiwan variety show which has not received permission to be shown in mainland China.
Now things are getting interesting. Once upon a time, there was a crime known as "listening to enemy radio station." Younger people probably do not know about that. At that time, the imperialists and the oppositionists wanted to erode the spirit of the great Chinese people. Of course, they can't show up as teachers in our classrooms. So they used high technology to use radio broadcasts to disrupt our socialist construction. But our Party was wise and brilliant, and they created a crime known as "listening to enemy radio station" for those people whose wills were too weak. This effectively stopped the behavior. While technological means such as jamming were used, nothing was more intimidating than direct criminalization.
Later on, that particular crime was no longer mentioned by anyone anymore. I am not a legal expert and I don't know if this crime has been removed from the books. It is a good thing that it is not used anymore because those patriotic viewers who are demanding the banning of the program would have to interrogated by the Party: How come you were watching it?
Actually it does not matter if this crime was removed. We have many television channels that we can watch, but all of them have been approved by the authorities. However, the Internet is so well-developed today that we can no longer ban access to television channels outside of the mainland. For the relevant departments, these television channels had not been approved to be shown. Therefore, if you watch it, you are doing so surreptitiously.
That is why this is interesting: The patriotic young people want this program banned. But the program is currently being banned by the wise and strong relevant department. It does not matter whether it is banned now. Either way, you cannot watch it. If you are watching it now, you are breaking the law!
Isn't this insane? A television program depends on advertisements to survive. Advertisements assumes that there is an audience out there. Since this program is not allowed to be shown on mainland television, the advertisers do not regard the mainland viewers as a target audience. So who cares whether you ban it or not? Nobody is forcing you to watch it. Rather, you are the one who wants to download every episode from the Internet.
At a moment like this, I have to say that certain patriotic young people serve no purpose apart from handing labels out.
yWeekend: You have a post titled "What Do I Ask?" on your blog. That essay has reverberated among reporters. Faced with an unexpected disaster, each reporter has his/her own set of reactions and methods. There doesn't seem to be any set standards?
Chen: My personal experience was that I had arrived at the earthquake scene, and news was happening everywhere. The rescuers and victims were all in an abnormal state. A careless remark from a reporter would trigger off the darkest memories in their lives.
When I first arrived in Beichuan, a group of small children were playing in a large hall. They seemed to be smiling and they were happy to be interviewed by me. I asked two children about what happened to them when the earthquake hit. The boy who was in middle school got out, but his best friend did not make it. He turned his head around and see his best friend trapped on the leg by a big concrete slab. I patted his shoulder and said: "I am really sorry. I really should not have let you recall this sort of thing." The boy shook his head in comprehension. This interview made me very uneasy. There was another group of little girls who said proudly to me: "We are in the same class. We are all good friends." When I asked them what happened, one little girl wiped her simile away and told me that there was a little boy behind her when the earthquake hit. Both got trapped underneath the rubble. Since her injuries were less serious, the rescuers retrieved her first. Then the boy stopped breathing. She said that it was her fault that the boy died. I grabbed her hand and said: "Don't think too much. It was not your fault." I could only use very inadequate words to comfort her repeatedly, and I don't know if they were effective.
yWeekend: Concerning this point, there is a lot of debate on the Internet. Many people feel that some of the questions from the reporters caused more damage to the disaster victims. Some of the victims refused to be interviewed.
Chen: At that moment, the disaster victim does not need a reporter to ask how he feels unless he wants some help. He needs someone who can talk to him in a human-to-human fashion. Why should he retell his experience to the reporter? ...
yWeekend: You want to get the raw materials and you also want to forget that you are a reporter. Does this sometimes create a conflict?
Chen: There is no conflict. When a reporter acts as a normal person to communicate with the subject, the results may be the most truthful. When we did the episode <One Night At The Plaza> I wanted to add some comments. As I was about to begin, a group of women carrying large packages on their backs and holding thermos bottles in their hands came over to tell me that they intend to go home by traversing the mountain. I asked them how far it was. They said that they didn't know because they have never done it before. By this time, I found out that they had not eaten for days. So I told them: "Let me make you something to eat. How many people are you?" The women said: "Seventy." I was stunned and I gave a silly smile. This scene was recorded on camera. It was very real. This film was later shown in one long scene without any cuts. My friend saw the episode and told me: "You were really into it." At that moment, I was both a recorder as well as a participant at the scene ...
(China Post) Detectives Bailed After Confessing To Videotaping. June 22, 2008.
Four staff members of the Taichung branch of Gwo Hwa Detective Co., Ltd. were released yesterday afternoon on bail after being interrogated over their alleged practice of secretly videotaping intimate behavior of a Taichung city government official during a drinking session with a couple of women in mainland China, according to the Taichung District Prosecutors. [...]
The four were bailed out after confessing to the alleged illegal practice of secretly videotaping intimate behavior of Huang Chin-hsiao, director of the Economic Development Department under the Taichung City Government.
They told prosecutors that they were commissioned to do the job by a company client, and prosecutors are likely to question the client to better understand the truth of the whole story.
Prosecutors and investigators raided the Taichung branch office of Gwo Hwa Detective Co. on Friday, confiscating relevant account books and information. The action came after Huang sued the detective company for offending his privacy.
Huang recently took a blow at the Taichung City Council when apologizing for having a drinking session with a couple of women at a karaoke parlor during a trip to China in May. The videotapes showing Huang drinking with the women, including some allegedly intimate behavior, have been distributed to local TV channels by unknown individuals.
Huang said he was set up because two women took the initiative to approach him at the Fuzhou Airport in China's southern Fujian Province in a casual encounter during a stopover last month. The women had actually followed him around all along the trip. Sources alleged that the whole affair could have been staged by the owner of a construction company after some of the realty development projects were allegedly blocked by Huang. The two women were identified as Chen Hsiu-ching and Lee Man-shih, two senior employees of the Taichung branch of the Gwo Hwa Detective Co.
In April this year, a man around 50 years old approached the Gwo Hwa Detective Company to ask for secret videotaping of Huang Chin-hsiao. A deposit of NT$500,000 was paid with another NT$680,000 due upon delivery. The script was supposed to be in three parts: Huang patronizing places of ill-repute; Huang seeking out girls to drink; and Huang cavorting in the hotel room.
Chen Hsiu-ching and Lee Man-shih were dispatched to carry out the mission. They found out that Huang was not interested in entertainment venues, so they had to proceed immediately to Part II. On May 22, the two women hired a mainland girl named Xiao Yu for 4,000 RMB to seduce Huang in a KTV. During that time, a man named Ah Jie was secreting taping. Chen and Lee claimed that Huang really got into it.
The videotape was delivered to the patron. Later on, television stations received the videotape. The detective agency said that it did not deliver any videotapes to the television stations.
After the KTV session, the two women along with Xiao Yu took Huang and another Taichung city government official back to their hotel room to continue. Lee had intended to use the pinhole camera inside her handbag to complete Part III of the script. Unfortunately, the camera malfunctioned. Chen and Lee did not explain what the five people did in the hotel room. Huang's version was that the group dispersed after the KTV session.
Who is the patron? Unconfirmed reports point to a certain construction company. Conversely, this could be a competitor of that construction company out to create the impression of misdeed.
Once upon a time, the principal guiding ideology in China included a noble ideal filled with lofty goals, morals and passions. Everybody wanted to imitate Comrade Lei Feng's 'everything for everyone and nothing for oneself' spirit. But by the the 1990's, those heroic legends have become the butts of jokes, and the lofty noble values became empty talk. Many people began to think that the true heroes are those people who are courageous enough to admit that they are petty, selfish and even rascally. After twenty years of anti-nobility and anti-heroism, have we finally stepped out of the yokels? Or have we fallen into trap of the same logic in the opposite direction?
Sichuan province Dujiangyan city Guangya School teacher Fan Meizhong admitted on his blog that on the day of the earthquake, he abandoned his students and ran first out of the classroom. He drew heaps of abuse on the Internet. But even as most people condemned him, others defended him because he has the freedom of speech as well as the right to be selfish. Interestingly, this debate has unwittingly evolved into a debate of nobility/anti-nobility and heroism/anti-heroism. Fan Meizhong then lifted the debate up to the level of liberalism/anti-liberalism and proclaimed himself to be a representative of 'liberalism.'
In my humble opinion, there is no variant of liberalism that would deny a person the right to flee for his life. But there does not seem to be any theory that declares that a person must abandon his students and family in order to save himself. Sacrificing one's life to save others is a noble act. In any culture and any theory of ethics, this is an admirable act.
Fan Meizhong graduated from the Department of History at Peking University and he voluntarily went to teach in a small local school. He frequently wrote essays to explore the shortcomings of the educational system and he tried to put his own ideas into practice. His flight was a moment of weakness when the human instinct to survive took over. While this may not fit his former ideal image, he did not deserve the stern admonitions and tough abuses. After all, not everyone can be a hero and that is the reason why people respect heroes. Yet, even as we sympathize with his frailties and even defend them, we do not admire his actions. We definitely do not think that everybody should be doing what he did. Fan Meizhong is truly an ordinary person, no more and no less, neither evil nor noble. So why are people regarding him as an esteemed person? And why is he presenting himself as defending what he understands as 'liberalism' like a human rights defender?
Thus, we see that in spite of more than twenty years of anti-nobility/anti-heroism, many people still have not escape the logic. Whether you want to be a hero or an anti-hero, you always connect with a bunch of grand narratives so that you become the embodiment of all sorts of grand theories. The traditional hero is supposed came in superhuman dimensions. The contemporary anti-hero emphasizes on the authenticity of a genuinely petty person, as if selfishness and weakness are not just common but they are quintessential. Over the past three yeas, the authentic petty person has become an attractive personality type. A person can talk nonsense and misbehave, but everything is acceptable as long as he is authentic. Thus, authenticity has become the highest and unsurpassed value.
We had tried to avoid excessive nobility in order to restore the original face of humanity. When we recognize the cowardice and lowliness of human nature, we will learn tolerance, sorrow and anger. After that, we can search for improvement and perfection of individual morality on a realistic basis. We never wanted to head in the opposite direction by declaring that cowardice and lowliness are our ideals. At a time when all of China are praising the heroes, Teacher Fan should not have drawn so much anger. Instead, he allowed us to appreciate the extraordinary greatness of our heroes. Conversely, there was no reason for Teacher Fan to use liberalism or whatever to excuse his own instinctive reaction during the earthquake. Either this was an attempt to reinforce his image as an advocate of liberalism, or this was another kind of impetuous action to become a hero (and/or anti-hero). Besides, liberalism may be premised upon human flaws, but it does not treat those flaws as the ultimate goals for humanity.
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