On one side:

Former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) failed to appear in court again yesterday to face charges of embezzlement, citing a statement from the National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital that suggested appearing in court could be injurious to her health.

“The former lady had decided to appear in court, but she reluctantly agreed to abide by the National Taiwan University Hospital’s statement and respect professional opinion,” her attorney, Lee Sheng-hsiung (李勝雄), told a press conference at former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) office.


Lee said NTU hospital issued a statement at 3:30pm on Thursday afternoon, which said Wu might suffer from low blood pressure, shock or face a life-threatening situation considering the mental pressure and other stress she would face by appearing in court.

Lee said he told Wu about the statement and she had decided to respect the hospital’s suggestion. She notified the prosecutors at about 7:30 pm on Thursday.

Lee said the court had listed the statement as a permanent classified document.

Lee left the press conference after making the announcement, refusing to take any questions.

On the other side:

Meanwhile, a hospital spokesman said a diagnosis certificate to excuse Wu from court had not been issued.

Spokesman Tan Ching-ting (譚慶鼎) said the statements issued by the hospital on Aug. 21 and Sept. 17, in response to requests from the Taipei District Court, contained the same medical assessment of Wu’s state of health.

“The hospital advised the court of Wu’s physical state ‘based on her past medical history,’” Tan said.

“We regret that the official correspondence was misinterpreted,” Tan said, adding that the statements were kept confidential to protect patient privacy.

Department of Health (DOH) Minister Lin Fang-yue (林芳郁), who was the hospital’s superintendent before joining the new government, said Wu’s lawyer had “over-interpreted” the statement the hospital gave the court.

He said the hospital statement was not specifically written about Wu’s condition but a reminder of what things a court should take into consideration when a paralyzed person is questioned.

So the readers can decide themselves about what to conclude.

The Taipei Times went on to look for the reactions from lawmakers.  But this was decidedly one-sided.

“She cannot hide forever and as a former first lady she should not trash the judicial system like this. She should bravely face the law,” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Ching-chih (吳清池) said.

On the legislative floor, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) was asked by KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) about Wu’s repeated refusal to appear in court, but Liu declined to respond. Minister of Justice Wang Ching­-feng (王清峰) filled in for Liu, saying officials should refrain from giving instructions to judges on how to handle a case under examination.

Why couldn't they get a quote from any lawmakers on the other side of the fence?  Well, it is possible that it would embarrassing to the 'green' lawmakers and Taipei Times would not want that to happen, would they?  It is also possible the the 'green' lawmakers made themselves unavailable because they know where the public opinion stands.

(Apple Daily)  (534 persons interviewed by interactive voice system on September 19, 2008)

What do you think of Wu Shu-jen's seventeenth non-appearance in court?
79.4%: She is in contempt of court
12.4%: Life is more important and she can still appear in the future
  8.2%: Don't know/no opinion

Also not reported by the Taipei Times are the social stories that reflect the prevalent mood:

(Apple Daily)

The political forum at the big Internet portal telnet://ptt.cc ran a betting pool on what Wu Shu-jen was going to do.  Each bet is worth 100 virtual P dollars, and the people who guessed the right outcome gets to divide the pool total.

Out of 5,868 bets,
61.2% bet that Wu would be a no-show and won;
20.3% bet that Wu would show up;
16.9% bet that Wu would show up and then put on the fainting act;
  1.7% bet that the court date would be changed.

(Apple Daily)

In Taipei county, an unemployed man went to the park and committed suicide by hanging himself.  His body was discovered early in the morning.  He left a five-page letter behind with instructions that included:  "When Chen Shui-bian is convicted in court, please burn a newspaper for me to read."

The trial of Zhou Zhenglong will be taking place next week.  There is now a question about his lawyer, which is important to a fair trial.

Luo Dacui, the wife of Zhou Zhenglong, told Southern Metropolis Daily yesterday: "After the arrest of Zhou Zhenglong, many lawyers offered their services for free.  But these free lawyers were all rejected by the public procuratorate.  Then the local lawyer Zhang Yong called up to offer his services for a fee.  My family is in dire economic hardship now.  When Zhou Zhenglong was arrested, the 20,000 yuan in reward money was confiscated by the police, together with more than 1,900 yuan in cash.  I was not willing to spend money so I told Zhang Yong that I would consult with my family first.  After a while, Zhang Yong showed up with an IOU of 2,000 yuan for legal fees.  The slip was signed by Zhou Zhenglong.  Zhang Yong also said that Zhou has committed a serious crime.  I was very angry and I said, 'What kind of lawyer are you?  We are supposed to spend money on you to defend my husband, but you talk this way instead.  Afterwards, Zhang Yong declined to disclose any developments of the case to the family."

At this time, Luo Dacui said that the trial is going to take place very soon, and it would be too late to hire another lawyer.

Previously, on July 4, lawyer Gu and a colleague came to Shaanxi to meet with Luo Dacui and her son.  After discussion, they agreed to hire lawyer Gu as the defense lawyer for no fee.  An agreement was even signed.  July 5 and 6 was Saturday and Sunday.  On July 7, lawyer Gu and his colleague went to the public security bureau to apply as defense lawyers.  But the receptionist said that the person in charge is in a meeting in the county capital and asked them to return the next day.  On July 8, they returned and the person in charge told them that Zhou Zhenglong has already hired lawyers.  However, he told them to return the next day to get the names of the lawyers.  On July 9, lawyer Gu returned with his lawyer and was told that Zhou Zhenglong has hired two local lawyers, one of whom of Zhang Yong.

Lawyer Gu was very perplexed.  Zhou Zhenglong was being held in a detention center and  now allowed to meet outsiders.  So how did Zhang Yong get to see him to reach any agreement?  When Luo Dacui was informed that Zhou Zhenglong had spent 2,000 yuan to hire a lawyer, she wanted to speak to him.  In July, she went three times to the public security bureau but was not allowed to see her husband.

The reporter spoke to Zhang Yong by phone yesterday.  When did he become the defense lawyer for Zhou Zhenglong?  It was a long time ago.  How did he become the defense lawyer?  Zhang Yong bristled at the question and said: "Why are you interviewing me?  If this is what you want to know, you shouldn't bother calling again?"  When the reporter asked whether he was the lawyer appointed by the government, he repeated what he said before.

Zhang Yong said that he had been the lawyer for Qiu Qinghua (note: a mass murderer who killed ten people in a rampage in Shaaanxi) before.  In that case, he did not ask for a mental examination.  Qiu Qinghua said that Zhang Yong was not appointed by him.  Zhang Yong said that he was hired by a mysterious person to act in that case.  On the time before the charges were officially filed, a person who claimed to be a friend of Qiu Qinghua came to his office and asked him to be the lawyer.  Afterwards, the person never showed up again.  The person never left his name, and he only left a non-working mobile phone number.

It is hard to see how Zhang Yong can represent the best interests of Zhou Zhenglong.  Whereas the other lawyers volunteered their efforts, he was designated by the authorities; whereas the other lawyers were willing to work for free, he is charging money; whereas the other lawyers say that Zhou Zhenglong is not guilty, he says that Zhou Zhenglong is guilty of serious crimes.  Even now, he is still unsure if he really wants to defend Zhou in court, because he has not been paid yet.

Apart from swindling the government with the fake South China tiger photos, Zhou Zhenglong is also charged with illegal possession of firearms.  Here is his wife's explanation of the latter charges.

- Possession of one wooden-handle pistol: This was a dysfunctional relic left from the 1970's.

- Possession of 2.5 kilograms of dynamite and more than a dozen detonators: In the 1980's, the government organized a campaign to irrigate the fields.  The village brigade issued these items to its members.  Today, many other people still have those items at their homes.

- Possession of 93 bullets: When the provincial scientific study team came down to the town, Zhou Zhenglong led them up the mountain.  He was given a rifle and 100 bullets for self-defense (against tigers!).  After the trip was over, the team took back the rifle and left the unspent bullets there.  In the 1970's, Zhou Zhenglong was a militia man.  The village government distributed about a dozen rifles to its militia.  Zhou Zhenglong receivfed a rifle as well as some bullets.  He also bought some bullets for hunting.

Background: The South China Tiger Photographs

[in tralsnation]

After the Sanlu milk powder case broke open, the celebrity spokespersons Deng Jie, the Flower Band, Xue Jianing, Jiang Wenli and others were pilloried by the public.  Their agents, family members and friends pleaded innocence on their behalf.  Some commentators even felt that they were wrongfully blamed.  But the celebrities themselves did not make any public appearances.  I don't think that they are that innocent and I don't think that they should be evading the issue.

What is a brand?  Strictly speaking, it is the reputation that a brand accumulates among consumers over a long period of time.  The reforms in China have been happening for only thirty years.  Each year, many brands became big names through advertising, especially with celebrity endorsements.  Since China is such a huge market with few or no regulations, it is easy for celebrities to earn money while being less demanding and rigorous.

A celebrity is a person with influence in society.  Businesses naturally seek them out as spokespersons.  It is also natural for them to trade their influence for money.  However, their influence is a brand in itself.  When this brand is used to promote another brand, the interests of the two are tied together.  If there is a win, it is a double win; if there is a loss, it is a double loss.  Everybody knows that trust is a pre-condition for doing business.  Over the years, some celebrities have been known to tell straight-faced lies to deceive consumers.  Even if the products are okay, their images ought to have gone bankrupt.  The situation now is that many children have been hurt because of the deception in this case.

There are two types of celebrity advertisements.  One is an image ad, such as the co-placement of Liu Xiang's face next to the Nike logo accompanied by vacuous phrases such as "Friendship first, competition second" and so on.  There is no deception issue here.  But if Nike gets into trouble, Liu Xiang's image would suffer as well.  Conversely, if Liu Xiang gets into trouble, Nike may have to think of a way to "save its market" including jettisoning him.  Every business carries risks, and there is no perfect arrangement with zero downside.  If you happen to encounter the wrong partner, you can only blame your own bad luck and you should stop complaining.

There is another kind of celebrity advertisement in China.  In these advertisements, the celebrities play the role of salespersons.  They tell lies with sincere expressions to trick people.  Now that would be deception.  If Liu Xiang says, "I only wear Nike" but he actually wears Li Ning brand shoes, then even a 3-year-old child knows that this is a lie.  So let us listen to Deng Jie's advertisement: "I am very picky when it comes to baby milk powder.  It has to be professionally manufactured; its quality has to be guaranteed; it has to be a famous brand because that would reassure me; it must also be economical.  I trust Sanlu baby milk powder!"  The message is clear: I, Deng Jie, have chosen Sanlu after poring over many choices.  Is that true?

The celebrity may explain, "I am only acting in a commercial, just like in a drama show."  NOT!  When you are acting, everybody knows that you are playing the role of Wang Xifeng (note: a character in <Dream of the Red Chamber>) and you are not Deng Jie herself.  The words of Wang Xifeng do not represent the will of Deng Jie.  But a celebrity endorsement is different unless you make it clear that the role that you are playing is not Deng Jie but it is Wang Jie, a junior salesperson at the Sanlu Company.

According to media reports, advertising laws in the western world stipulate that spokespersons (such as movie stars, celebrities, experts and persons of authority) must be authentic users or else it becomes false advertising; at the same time, if the wording of the ad suggests that the product is superior in some way, then there must be some factual basis for the assertion.  Pat Boone, Michael Jackson and others have gotten into trouble over false advertising, for which they were condemned or fined.  In Japan, a celebrity has to apologize to the public for making false advertisements as well as face the risk of career termination.  In France, the television host Gilbert went to jail for exaggerating the effectiveness of a product.

Please note that people are now deploring the Sanlu spokespersons not over some mild exaggeration but because they were promoting tainted milk powder which has caused kidney ailments among several thousand babies including three deaths already.  This is a serious food safety crisis.  Are the spokespersons really unaware that many mothers trusted them and bought the milk powder after seeing their ads?  Under such circumstances, even if you didn't realize before that the milk powder was tainted, shouldn't you come out to make an apology for promoting it?

The celebrities felt the most misgiving about not being able to test the quality of the products themselves.  They all claimed to have read the quality test reports from the authoritative government departments, the certificates of honor and so on.  All the documents were stamped with red seals of approval.  But the situation is simple.  The authoritative government departments have misled the celebrities, who misled the public in turn.  The normal reaction for the celebrities is to be outraged.  They should come out to explain what happened and to condemn the relevant departments.  They should not be like turtles coiling up into their shells.  Don't celebrities claim to have social responsibility?  In truth, social responsibility is an important component of the brand equity of the celebrity that is used to earn money.  This so-called social responsibility is not just donating small sums of money.  It is about coming forth at a time of crisis to help society to make progress!  Besides, you were involved in creating this crisis as well!

Last month, Taiwan legislator Li Jun-yi spent NT$200,000 to purchase a T-bar outdoor advertisement by the expressway with the words "Please Don't Persecute Ah Bian."  The ad was pronounced to be illegal by the Kaohsiung expressway authority for violating the regulation that no ads shall appears within 50 meters of the road itself.  This T-bar was measured to be 37 meters from the road.  Consequently, this is clearly a violation.  But what is problematic is that the T-bar has been present at the location for more than 2 years.  So why was it not an issue until a political message on behalf of former president Chen Shui-bian?  The spokesperson for the expressway authority said: "This is not directed any person.  This is not directed against any content.  This is just a routine operation."

Legislator Li Jun-yi led a group of supporters to protest the take-down of the ad after only 23 days.  He said: "I urge more people to spend more money to purchase more political ads in more places!"

收到很多人來郵, 他們在看過《信報》後才知道有《發現新大陸.張愛玲篇》這個節目.

為此徇眾要求, 還有是上一集的《張愛玲篇》播出我與宋以朗的訪問太少, 商台881下個星期日特別加開一個小時節目, 是9月7日的《張愛玲篇》加長版, 錯過了的朋友請留意收聽. 時間我忘了, 稍後在blog內公布. 今次真是大結局, 不再加開了......因之後有另一個全新文化節目要做.

今個星期日《張愛玲篇》大大大結局, 在晚上8時至9時在商台881播放.

Yesterday was September 18, which is a day of infamy akin to December 7 in the United States of America (see Wikipedia).

On this day, Hong Kong was swept by a mania for Japanese milk powder, as large numbers of mainland Chinese crossed the borders to make purchases in large amounts.  In turn, the local Hong Kong residents also stocked up for themselves because they were afraid that supplies would run out.

In Mongkok, a store that specializes in selling Japanese milk powder put up a sign: "Wholesale orders of Meiji milk powder temporarily halted; only retail orders will be accepted."  The store people said that there had been too many mainlanders buying up large numbers:  "They buy them by the carton.  Each carton has 200 cans, and they buy 5 cartons at a time."  Some mainlanders even came in and offered HKD 5 extra per carton.

At another emporium in Causeway Bay, a Hong Kong parent said: "I see the mainlanders show up with rolls of cash and buy several hundred cans at a time.  My son consumes the Japanese milk powder.  I am worried so I am buying a carton of eight cans for now."


In Chongqinq, a netizen took a photo of a municipal administrator sitting on a stool chatting with an unlicensed peddler of mobile phone accessories.  It is the normal duty of the municipal administrator to evict unlicensed peddlers.  Was this the much ballyhooed "civilized law enforcement" that was advanced after the spate of reported violence by municipal administrators around China?  Or was it operating his own small, unlicensed business?

(Wen Yunchao)

On September 12, the photo series entitled <The Most Awesome Municipal Administrator In Chongqing> was posted at QQ.com.  A municipal administrator named Wang was seen sitting cross-legged and chatting with unlicensed street vendors.  The photos were quickly circulated around the Internet.  On September 1, the South Shore District Joint Administrative and Enforcement Division reported that Wang has been fired from his job.  Unexpectedly, the announcement drew sympathy from the majority of netizens.  People declared that it was an act of violence to summarily dismiss this municipal administrators.  Others wondered if municipal administrators are required to overturn stands and beat people in order not to be fire.


The Taikuan mine located on Tai'er Mountain was originally a property of the Linfen Steel Company, which is a large state-owned company.  Several years ago, the media reports showed that the Tai'er Mountain has iron deposits up to 27 million tonnes.  However, Linfen Steel found it to difficult to continue after extracting only 4 million tonnes.  In October 1998, the Linfen Steel Company was merged into the Taiyuan Steel Company.  In October 2005, the Sanxi State Land Resources put the Taikuan mine up for auction.  At the time, Linfen Steel was losing as much as 5 million yuan per year.

The first person to take over the Taikuan mine was a Yicheng citizen named Ji Haibin.  According to information, the opening bid price was 60 million yuan but Ji had to pay more than 1 billion yuan to win.  In order to placate the other bidders, he gave them 5 million yuan each.

According to informed sources, the first thing that Ji Haibin did after taking over ownership was to take back the many mines that were leased out to sub-contractors by Linfen Steel.  But he was not successful.  Over the course of a year, he took his Hubei sub-contractors to oust the Sichuan sub-contractors who were entrenched.  There were mass fights involving hundreds of people at Mining Zones 1360 and 1210.  A worker recalled that Ji fought from hill top to hill top in fierce conditions.  The Linfen public security bureau's Dongcheng station also send police officers over to help.  But the efforts cam to no avail.

Finally, Ji Haibin realized that he could not gain a foothold by himself and therefore he sold the Taikuan mine to another  Yicheng citizen Zhang Peiliang, who is the person who controls the Xintai Mining Company now.  When the dam burst on September 8, 2008, Zhang Peiliang was detained b the police.  The word in the mining community was that "Zhang Peiliang is going to die at Taikuan sooner or latter."

Zhang Peiliang was once a chauffeur at the Linfen Mining Company.  He is in his 50's, medium built, small and thin like an old peasant.  He is very sharp.  He started in the chemical industry and branced into mining.  He has assets in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Liaoning and other places.  He is said to be worth several hundred million yuan.  Unexpectedly in this case, Zhang Peiliang was very successful in reclaiming the mines from the sub-contractors.  According to informed sources, the then Linfen public security bureau executive vice-president Duan Bo contributed a lot of help.  A large number of police officers were sent out to deal with the sub-contractors who gave up readil.  Duan Bo's reward was a 50% share in the Xintai Mining Company.

Duan Bo is one of three siblings of the Duan family in Linfen city.  The eldest brother is Duan Xin, who is the mayor of Hongdong county.  Duan Bo is the second oldest, and he is presently the director of the Yuncheng city public security bureau.  Duan Xia is the youngest sister and she is the Linfen city Yaodu district treasury department director.  The three of them are known as the Three Duan's.  In Linfen, there is a doggerel: "The money of the Zhou family, the power of the Duan family."  The Zhou family refers to the former Treasury Department director named Zhou.  The Duan family refers to the three siblings.

In 2006, the State Land Resources issued a schedule for the re-organization of state resources.  Among the non-coal mining properties was Tai'er Mountain.  The State Safety Production Supervisory Agency has also listed the mining area as a keypoint to monitor.  So why was Zhang Peiliang still able to control this dangerous location?  This is because there is an international shortage of iron and mining is a highly profitable enterprise.

The Xintai Mining Company owns eleven different mines.  The organization model has Zhang Peiliang as the big boss who sub-contracts the mines to sub-contractors, who gives them to sub-sub-contractors, who gives them to sub-sub-sub-contractors until it gets to the foremen who hires the workers.  At the oldest mine (Number 980) of the company, the mine can produce as much as 2,000 tons of iron ore per day with a maximum price of 800 yuan per ton.  The cost includes 50 yuan per ton to the foreman, 50 yuan per ton for management fees and the boss receives a net profit of 1.4 million yuan per day.

But a foreman from Chongqing had a different set of accounting.  He believes that a good mine can yield 500 to 600 tons of ore per day.  Recently, the price of iron has dropped to 600 to 700 yuan per ton.  The cost of labor has increased, so that the foremen gets 60 to 70 yuan per ton and the management fees are also 60 to 70 yuan per ton.  Nevertheless, the mine boss is still reaping heavy profits.

Apart from the Xintai Mining Company, there are 80 or 90 more mines owned by other people at Tai'er Mountain.  Most of them have no permits.  A veteran worker said that if not for the media report, he would never have guessed that the company was so big but also without any safety permits or mining permits.

Another mine worker thought that the mines were unsafe because there is no ventilation or emergency evacuation plans.  The mines would never pass the annual inspections.  Yet, because Zhang Peiliang is so powerful, he can continue to operate without the permits.  An official with the Linfen Safety Production Supervisory Agency said that Zhang Peiliang is too powerful for anyone at the Xiangfen county level to deal with ...

Opposition rate for Taiwan independence:
83%: September 2007
82%: December 2007
80%: March 2008
81%: June 2008
79%: September 2008

Opposition rate for Tibet independence:
69%: September 2007
69%: December 2007
71%: March 2008
82%: June 2008
80%: September 2008

[ESWN Comment: What do the trends about Tibet indicate?  The March 14 Llasa 'uprising' raised the opposition rate by 10% and made approval of Tibet independence even more remote.

Nevertheless, if you check the Hong Kong media reporting, there is much more discussion about Tibet independence than Taiwan independence.  Why?  The answer is simple: Sex sells.  To get exposure for Taiwan independence in Hong Kong, a human face/body is needed.  Of course, more 'exposure' does not mean that the cause is going to get more popular.]

[in translation]

1. Ever since I started a blog, I have been rude in I don't reply to readers' comments due to my busy schedule.  But I have never deleted a single comment, even if it is the most severe reprimand or the most frank insult.  Such is my personal belief.

2. I have said so before and I will say so again.  The Sina.com blog (under my name) is not mine and I have not even gone there for at least six months.

3. I do not administer the forum related to my television program on Phoenix TV and I rarely go there.  I don't even know who the administrator is, or what the standards are.  If you have a complaint, please contact the webmaster there.

4. I can only issue a call to all the relevant administrators (including the one at Bullog.cn):  please do not publish my workd unless you have to; but please preserve all readers' comments.  Freedom of press is not just a right that you fight to get from the authorities; it is also a duty that we will fight for to our death.

5. As my friends know, the basic requirements from my various work obligations leave me with less than 5 hours of sleep every day.  I don't have any leisure family hours or social time.  I usually eat on our home, listen to music on my own and watch movies on my home in order to save time.  I meet with my schoolmates only at weddings and funerals.  When I meet with my old friends at forums, I often feel guilty.  As such, I have not been able to return any attention.  I am also dim-witted because I don't know how to type and I can only input through handwritten characters.  If I have to to reply to every comment, it will take at least one hour a day.  I am not willing to take one hour from my reading, my writing, my meetings, my schedule, my teaching or my sleep.  A media worker must be able to satisfy the audience and a scholar must not shed his basic duties.  Therefore, I ask you to forgive me for my impoliteness.

[ESWN Comment:  It is an interesting phenomenon for a celebrity intellectual to have his essays being reproduced on unauthorized blogs under his name.  Why would anyone do that?  Well, have you heard of Google Ad-sense?]

Related link (in Chinese): 各位留言之前請先看:《留言對答》 Erica Yuen's blog

Front page of Taobao with headline of Baidu as the biggest
criminal organization on the Internet for the Sanlu tainted milk powder

From Baidu:

On September 16, 2008, the Baidu spokesperson formally addressed the media to condemn the rumors spread by Alibaba against Baidu over the Sanlu affair.

On September 12, some netizen posted a document titled <Crisis Public Relations Recommendations For Sanlu> which disclosed that the Sanlu PR people had approached Baidu to delete all negative information about Sanlu.  This document was quickly misread and turned into the rumor: <Baidu took 3 million RMB to delete all negative information about Sanlu>.  On September 13, Baidu issued a public statement to say that Baidu has never filtered out any search results related to the Sanlu affair and this is supported by the search results.

After the Baidu statement, the media quickly issued fair and objective reports and the rumors stopped quickly.  Then something shocking happened.  On September 14, the resources of the Alibaba Group repeated and spread the rumors.  On the front pages of Alibaba and Taobao, shocking headlines such as <The Sanlu milk powder crisis revealed that Baidu is the biggest criminal organization on the Internet>, <Netizens revealed that Sanlu bought Baid off for 3 million RMB>, and so on.  Through the pop-up windows at Taobao and Wangwang, Alibaiba spread and pushed this information.  Baidu has taken records of the relevant information and reserves the right to resort to legal recourse to redress the bad consequences of these rumors.

From Alibaba:

As an important member of the Internet in China, our responsibility is to ensure that our users and the society at large have access to accurate information.  Our mission is to ensure that each citizen shall have safe consumer information channels.  Such is the core value of the Alibaba Group.

After the Sanlu affair was exposed, the Alibaba Group informed its clients immediately that the products of the Sanlu Group are being investigated by the relevant government departments.  Through many channels, we informed our users as well as the general public, and we fulfilled the social responsibilities of a corporation citizen.  We treat the physical and mental well-being of the consumers as our corporate social responsibility and we will expose any potential risk.

The Sanlu affair is a terrible social incident.  As the world's largest e-commerce community, we must follow through with this affair, unlike certain companies which delete the relevant posts from its members and thus deprive the netizens of the right to know.  We regard well-intentioned information transmission from netizens as an effective supplement to the public's right to know as well as an essential means of obtaining attention from the relevant government departments to handle the affair properly.  As such, we treat this as the duty of a socially responsible corporation.

We have no intention to challenge the roles played by certain other industry players.  We do not insist that they must share the same universal values as ours.  We only hope that even as thousands of children are suffering from the tainted milk powder, we can provide the public with just a bit more information.  More information, as opposed to using certain technical means to hide them.  When Alibaba disseminates the information about this affair, it is not thinking about increasing its market share or getting more protection money.  Human lives are the most important thing here.  Please remember that you have a conscience.  If you did something and that something is wrong, then making an apology cannot be harder than being a criminal accessory.

We believe that the truth will ultimately be founded upon the facts, and all good deeds will be attested to by the members of the public.  With respect to those unsupported accusations and the information restriction being made in the name of the law, we say that we welcome and will respond vigorously to all the legal complaints because we are acting on behalf of the victimized netizens and the innocent children.

The Sanlu tainted milk powder case has aroused the anger of the Chinese people, who are directing their rage against some of the celebrity spokespersons.

A certain Internet portal conducted an Internet poll to ask whether the celebrity spokespersons bear responsibility for defective products?  Of 88,066 participants, 36% said that the "manufacturers should be blamed but not their celebrity spokespersons"; 28% said that the celebrity spokespersons bear partial responsibility because they should have checked the product first"; 34% said that the celebrity spokespersons are "largely responsible because they betrayed the public's trust in them."  Another netizen also said: "There should have been an additional choice: the celebrity spokespersons are not to be blamed, but they should donate their earnings from those evil advertisements towards victim compensation."

The actress Deng Jie was a spokeswoman for the Salun Infant Milk Powder with the slogan: "Professional production, guaranteed quality, famous brand product, be reassured, economical too, I trust in Sanlu Infant Milk Product!"  She has been viciously lambasted by netizens.  The reporter was not able to reach her yesterday because her telephone was not being answered.  But her husband Zhang Guoli was not afraid to answer.  According to Huashang News, Zhang Guoli said that it was very wrong to victimize the public.  Sanlu gets new spokespersons each year, and Deng Jie was the spokesperson five years ago when there were no quality problems.  Deng Jie's colleagues also confirmed that "Deng Jie spoke for a different series of products than the ones that are currently in trouble.  Sanlu was a national company with a great reputation.  Before she became a spokesperson, she made sure that the products had all the inspection certificates from the relevant government agencies."

The Flower Band is now in am awkward position as the spokespersons of the Sanlu Yoghurt.  Yesterday, their agent said that the contract with Sanlu does not end until the end of the year.  "When we did the contract, we included a clause that the artists have the right to terminate the contract if the products damage their image."  They asked Sanlu to issue a statement to relieve the band of any responsibility but there has been no response from Sanlu so far.  They are seeking legal help at this poin.

According to information, the Flower Band had conducted market research before they decided to become Sanlu spokespersons.  "The research showed that Sanlu is an established brand in China.  But as entertainment workers, we cannot verify the health permits.  We can only look at the relevant material ... After the current incident, the band is very angry and wants to do something for the public.  Although the band did not speak for the Sanlu milk powder, they were speaking for a Sanlu product.  I don't agree that this matter should be blamed on the Flower Band.  But if you speak for a product, you must assume the responsibility because many people buy the product because of them.  If they took fees as spokespersons, they must accept social responsibility."

When Xue Jianing learned that the Sanlu milk powder was tainted, she was incensed.  She told the reporter yesterday that she was quite innocent.  As a brand spokesperson, she is extremely careful.  Before filming the ad spot, she asked Sanlu to let her personally taste the product that she is speaking on behalf of.  Xue Jianing said: "I thought that this incident occurred very unexpectedly.  I feel a lot of regret as a spokesperson.  However, I was speaking for the Sanlu yoghurt and not the Sanlu milk powder.  These two products have different sources for the milk.  Therefore, I feel very blameless."  Xue Jianing said: "Before shooting an ad spot, I will make special inquiries about the quality of the product, including the nutritional values.  I will personally taste the products and only undertake the project if I feel that there is no problem.

Some netizens discovered that Jiang Wenli had been a spokesperson for Sanlu infant milk powder.  They asked her: "Does your child take Sanlu milk powder?"  The reporter called up her agent Ms. Chang, who said that Jiang Wenli was quite innocent because she has only represented the Yashili milk powder but never Sanlu.  However, the CCTV Network News program jsut indicated that Yashili milk powder also contained melamine.  Ms. Chang responded that Jiang Wenli was a Yashili spokesperson a year ago: "We had gone to examine the factory ourselves.  The company was a renowned corporation with all the inspection certificates.  I don't feel that Jiang Wenli needs to be held responsible for this, because there was no problem with the batch of products that she spoke for.  Her contract expired a year ago."  The reporter asked, "When Jiang Wenli took on the project, she just gave birth to a baby.  Did she feed Yashili milk powder to her baby?"  Ms. Chang mumbled: "I don't know about that."

The Hebei provincial police announced that they have formally arrested two suspects in the case of the tainted Sanlu baby formula.  In recent days, the Hebei provincial public security bureau has been working hard to nab the suspected criminals through interrogation, investigation and obtaining evidence in order to solve the case and stop the illegal activities.  On the evening of September 14, the Shijiazhuang city Zhengding county people's court approved the arrest of the Geng brothers for producing and selling poisoned and harmful food.

According to police information, one of the Geng brothers set up a milk farm to sell milk to the Sanlu Group.  This was a family operation in which his wife, his daughter and two hired hands worked.  The younger brother drove the three-ton truck to carry the milk to the Sanlu Group.

The farm had a total of 307 cows.  Towards the end of 2007, the milk from the Geng farm was repeatedly rejected for quality reasons and entire truckloads had to be dumped, resulting in economic losses.  Later, Geng learned that adding melamine would enable the milk to pass the protein test.  By asking around, Geng found a industrial chemical shop in Shijiazhuang which sold him 20 kilograms of melamine.  He added the melamine into the milk according to the right proportion and sold it to the Sanlu Group.  This same company went to Geng two more times to sell mor emelamine.  Thereafter, the Geng brothers produced and sold three tons of melamine-tainted milk to Sanlu every day.

During the police interrogation, Geng admitted that Sanlu wanted pure milk without chemical additives.  When asked if he was aware of the consequences o fhis action, Geng claimed: "I never asked and I did not want to ask.  I only know that it does not harm people."  His motive was to pass the Sanlu inspection in order to sell his milk.  Geng also acknowledged that he and his family never drank the melamine-tainted milk themselves.

According to the police, nineteen other suspects have also confessed to the police.

Ma: Nothing doing?
Bian: Dealt with in accordance with the law!
[Ma () + Bian (扁) = Deception/foolery/hoodwink ()]

In 2008, Taiwan had two equally popular presidents, Chen Shui-bian and Ma Ying-jeou.  Today, Taiwan has fallen to the low of discussing whether having a crooked president was better or worse than having a stupid president.  The former sacrificed the public interest and toyed with the law in order to stuff his pockets; the latter sat on the sideline and avoid responsibility in order to look aloof.  The actions (or lack thereof) of these either crooked or bad presidents make things even worse in Taiwan right now.

Which is the worse -- the crooked president or the stupid president?  It is sad that Taiwan should fall so low as to discuss this strange subject.  For the past week, all the news was about the problems created by the former and current presidents.  The crooked president visits the investigtors' office to offer all sorts of explanations and covers for the flow of the state secret fees as well as the huge sums in his overseas accounts.  The stupid president stirred up the hornet's next by voluntarily suggesting that his '633' electioneering campaign slogan will not be realized until at least eight years later, thus damaging the economic confidence in Taiwan.


During his eight years as president, Chen Shui-bian was accustomed to say what he felt like.  He did not respect his own words and promises.  He disrespected the laws and regulations.  He was presumptuous about a president who is savvy about the laws can play the laws at will.  He did never things that are on the edge and even beyond.

... During his presidency, Chen Shui-bian and his family realized that the state will provide them with an adequate lifestyle for the rest of their lives.  In other words, they won't have to worry about any livelihood pressures for decades afterwards.  The point about this royal treatment is to eliminate any temptation for the president to become corrupt.  But Ah Bian's family chose to actively 'save money for the children' during his two terms.  This is clearly against the national interests to gather wealth that he did not actually need.

... The clean character helped Ma Ying-jeou win the presidency amidst the mess left behind by Chen Shui-bian.  But it was not enough to turn Ma Ying-jeou into a responsible and effective president.

... Over the past three months, the most serious problem is not the depressing economic statistics in Taiwan.  Instead it is the sense of the people that the cowering and evasive attitude of the government and the president in particular.

Incredibly, over these more than 100 days, Ma Ying-jeou occasionally appeared grim-faced during typhoons and floods but otherwise showed no concern or worry.  Being concerned and worried may not enough to solve the problems, but an unconcerned and unworried president can never convince the people that he genuinely cares.  Why can't a president who has time to go jogging any time also gather public confidence and strength to push Taiwan along at the critical moment to overcome the difficulties?  A failing president is not going to pass just because his predecessor failed or is failing even more so!

A few days ago, a short video clip of a female worker at a Yoshinoya restaurant being raped by three male colleagues was posted on the Internet.  The police arrested three male suspects quickly, but the video clip is achieving a wider circulation through postings at overseas pornographic websites.  While the female victim is being carefully protected by the police with respect to her identity and person, the psychological harm from the Internet is escalating.  A human flesh search has turned up the photos of three different girls who could be her.

Last week, a netizen also posted the pictures of a university student and identified him as one of the three male suspects.  This university student has a resemblance to one of the suspects in the video clip (including the glasses and facial features).  Many netizens believed that this was the right person and condemned him: "You are better off dead than alive," "you must feel proud because a few hundred thousand people now know you," "you piece of human trash, have you prepared yourself for jail by wiping your arse clean?"  The information on him was also circulated via email, mobile phone messages and other methods.

Yesterday, the three male suspects appeared in court.  According to the court records, their names do not match that of the male university student.

"I saw that the netizens was accusing me wrongly.  I thought that this kind of wrongful blaming behavior is out of control on the Internet, and I can only choose to ignore it.  On Thursday night, I was eating dinner at home and I found out that an Internet news portal as well as a free local English-language newspaper published the Internet photos (see The Standard).  They described me as a rape suspect!  I was scared!  I threw down the chopsticks and rushed to the police station to file a report!"

When he got home, he became very nervous.  "I rarely go to the discussion forums.  But overnight, I became obsessed with the Internet discussion forums because I wanted to see how the netizens are accusing me wrongfully!"  His blog was not spared either, as thousands of people came every day to leave vicious curses.  "I was mentally distressed.  Before I step out into the street, I would think: Damn, am I going to beaten up?  I was afraid of being identified as a rapist.  Man, I did not rape anyone!  How could I commit such a dastardly act?  I hope the criminals get what they deserve!  I feel very wronged.  I am very depressed.  What should I do if I go to a job interview and the boss says, 'I've seen you before.  You are the rapist!'  What should I do?"

He has received dozens of calls from friends each day.  "The friends know me.  They know that I have worked at that Yoshinoya restaurant.  They call me to offer solace.  Some of them even got on the Internet to clarify things on my behalf.  I am very touched!"

This is yet another gross insult against China made by the international anti-China forces.  They have health problems with food in other countries as well, so why can't China also have them?  Why are they only condemning China?

Will non-poisoned baby formula solve the health problem for babies?  Adults who don't drink milk powder also have kidney stones.  Therefore, the western system of non-poisoned baby formula will not solve the problem of kidney stones.

Don't forget that the baby formula industry has been in development overseas for almost a century whereas it has only been several decades for China.  The baby formula industry in China has progressed continuously during this time.  China cannot be expected to arrive at perfection immediately.  Gradual steps are taken to reach the non-poisoned condition, as appropriate to the existing conditions in China.

Boycotting or opposing Sanlu can only make the Sanlu problem more complicated.  We should use a dialogue approach where we keep communicating slowly even as we sip more Sanlu baby formula.  Baby formula can develop only in a stable environment.  If Sanlu collapses, the entire Chinese baby formula industry will be thrown into chaos and the western baby formula companies will take over China.

The history of baby formula in other nations showed that they all went through a gradual purification process to transition from a number of complicated impure baby formula to a perfect unpoisoned one.  The idea that the Chinese people should be able to have healthy and unpoisoned baby formula instantaneously from the start is actually a huge western conspiracy to destroy the Chinese baby formula industry.  The Chinese baby formula industry is still young and fragile.  It will take some time for Chinese baby formula not to be poisoned.  If the western standards are adopted, it will take more than a year just to recall the 7,000 tons of poisoned baby power.  How can the Chinese baby formula industry progress under those circumstances?

The western baby formula companies grew to be very big before they began to recall bad products.  Do you think that Sanlu does not want the Chinese people to have good baby formula?  Their problem is that this is not yet feasible at this time.  The Chinese people should keep the big picture in mind.  They should drink poisoned baby formula for a few decades and sacrifice one or two generations of people until Sanlu grows big enough to challenge the western companies.  Then Sanlu can gradually produce unpoisoned baby formula for infants, assuming there are any infants still alive.

The situation in the east is different from the west, and the quality of the peoples are different.  China absolutely cannot unconditionally take to drinking the western-style unpoisoned baby formula.  The western world is less populous, and they have enough baby formula to consume without adding poison.  China has such a huge population that all the milk in all the cows in the world would not be enough to feed them with fully westernized pure baby formula.  Therefore poison had to be added.

Although the Sanlu baby formula is poisoned, it was able to keep the hundreds of millions of Chinese infants from going hungry.  Who else has accomplished so much in the history of mankind?

When the anti-China hostile forces boycott China's Sanlu baby formula, the ultimate victims are the Chinese infants.  We call for all Chinese patriots to unite and express our solidarity by drinking Sanlu baby formula in abundance.

If you are a Chinese person, you must support this declaration!

To appreciate the sarcasm, you need to compare this essay against Mr. Li Writes To BBC.  The style and arguments are similar.  While that other essay seems plausible, this one is outright absurd.  You read: "They should drink poisoned baby formula for a few decades and sacrifice one or two generations of people until Sanlu grows big enough to challenge the western companies.  Then Sanlu can gradually produce unpoisoned baby formula for infants, assuming there are any infants still alive."  This cannot be serious.

First, there is the thesis that Regina Ip and the DAB divided the pro-Beijing votes by arrangement (including the mythical 20,000 votes that were held back until 8pm so that the pan-democrats cannot react in time).  In the end, Regina Ip got 61,073 votes, the DAB got 60,417 votes and the Civic Party got 82,600 votes (enough for two seats).  So was there a bad allocation decision (possibly due to the distorted exit poll data) between Ip and the DAB?  What if the DAB gets 83,000 votes to win two seats while Ip still gets in with 39,000 votes?

From the maps at Kai Chi Leung's site (raw data at the Legco Election site), the top five voting stations f or Regina Ip account for a 10% share of her total votes, and they are all middle-class areas that have never been DAB strongholds.  More generally, the DAB gets more votes than Ip in areas such as Kennedy Town, North Point, Sau Kei Wan, Chai Wan and Wah Foo.  The people in these areas are relatively less educated and poorer.  Meanwhile, Regina Ip gets more votes than the DAB in areas such as the Middle Levels, Tai Koo City, Happy Valley and Pok Fu Lam.  The people in these areas are relatively better educated and richer.  So Regina Ip is getting the votes that the DAB were not getting before.  In the absence of Regina Ip, the DAB may not be getting her votes.

The implication here is that Regina Ip poses a bigger danger to the pan-democrats which has traditionally assumed that they own the middle-class vote.  The following is a scatterplot at Car and Pier of the voting station shares for Tanya Chan (Civic Party) and Regina Ip.  The correlation is positive.  Wherever the votes for Tanya Chan go up, the same for Regina Ip, and vice versa.

So the Hong  Kong political map should be two-dimensional (social class (lower and middle) and politics (pro Beijing/establishment and pro-democracy).

A slightly different political map is given by Kursk (at My1510.cn):

In this map, the vertical dimension is "pro government/establishment" on the top and "fighting for individual civil right/non-establishmentarian" at the bottom.  The horizontal dimension is "leftist economics" on the left and "rightist economics" on the right.  The Liberal Party is in the top right quadrant; the Civic Party and the Democratic Party are on the bottom right quadrant; the Federation of Trade Unions and the DAB Party are in the top left quadrant; the ADPL, Confederation of Trade Unions and the League of Social Democrats are in the bottom left quadrant.

In December 2005, six female workers from Hubei were sent by the Huangshi-based Dongchuang Overseas Labor Service Co, one of 21 legitimate overseas labor service agencies based in Hubei, to train in Japan.  One year later, they became interns.  According to the report by Mo Bangfu, a Chinese writer in Japan, the Japan New-Generation Overseas Chinese Newspaper, the women were actually working for Techoclean, a clothes washing firm.  The women often had to work late in the night including Saturdays and Sundays.  For their overtime work, they received compensation of 300 to 400 yen when the minimum overtime wage was supposed to be 810 yen.

In a telephone interview with the YZZK reporter, one of the female workers named Duan said: "Our basic monthly wage in Japan was 50,000 yen with overtime hourly wage of 300 yen.  We worked every day from 8:30am to 11:00pm.  In our second year, the overtime wage was increased to 350 yen per hour, and we worked from 8:30am to 12:00 midnight every day.  This continued until June 1, 2008 when the hours were reduced to from 9:00am to 11:00pm and our overtime wage became 450 yen per hour."  She said that they learned from a Japanese publication that this pay level was illegal in Japan.  On August 20, they spoke to the company director and demanded improvement of working conditions and back pay.  The director said that he would respond on August 22.

Duan recalled that on the morning of August 22, a dozen men and women charged into their dormitory and dragged them onto a vehicle.  The workers resisted.  One worker named Hu escaped but the other five were tossed into the vehicle.  On the way, the workers tried to jump out of the vehicle, and they were beaten again.  When the vehicle arrived at the airport, the airplane had already left.  So the workers were taken back to the dormitory.  Duan was able to escape by climbing out of a window.  She hid in the farm fields and eventually made contact with the other escapee named Hu.  They were then taken to the Japanese labor union headquarters.  A third woman named Zhang broke her leg while trying to jump from the second floor to escape, and she has been hospitalized.

On August 25, the director of Technoclean faced the press and labor union workers and admitted: "If these were Japanese citizens, the company would not have sent them back by force.  We feel very sorry to cause the injuries to the female workers."  He admitted the wage levels violated the law, and he would consider back compensation.  When the time came to give his reply, he denied that anyone was ever beaten violently and he said that there was no problem with the wages.

The females workers told Mo Bangfu that their families in Hubei are being threated by Dongchuang general manager Wang Xiang and her husband Wei Jianhua.  Wei said: "In Huangshi, I know people on both sides of the law.  There is no way anyone can fight me!"  Wang said: "We are well-prepared.  This company is presently blacklisted by Japan and no longer able to sent workers to Japan.  But I own another company, and I can continue with business as usual.  I am not afraid of these female workers.  I know people in the provincial government.  I am not afraid of them."

On September 5, Wang Xiang went to Japan to deal with the matter herself.  Mo Bangfu said that he spoke to Wang and she said: "I don't care if I have to pay money to them in Japan.  When the female workers get back to Hubei, I will make them cough the money out.  I want to let them know who is in charge in Hubei.  I will give their families a good show."

Dongchuang vice-president Wang Nian is the younger sister of Wang Xiang.  She said that Mo Bangfu's report is inaccurate.  She said that three of the female workers have come down to the company to say that they were not maltreated in Japan.  They even provided a written statement to that effect.  Wang Nian said: "They voluntarily wrote the statement.  Afterwards, they applied their palm prints.  They said that they were very happy with their work and life in Japan."

On September 9, the female worker named Huang was interviewed by telephone.  She said that the Dongchuang leaders "are talking absolute nonsense."  On August 24, Huang and two other female workers had been forced to return to China.  Since then, their families have received countless number of threatening phone calls to get them to cooperate with the company or else face extermination.  On September 1, Wang Xiang's husband Wei Jianhua insisted that they must come down to the company.  They were told to hand over their passports and sign a document.  When they refused, a group of people at the company threatened to use force.  They were forced to sign.

After Mo Bangu's report appeared on the Internet, the netizens were infuriated.  At Sina.com, there are several hundred comments already: "This is going too far.  Wang Xiang says that she has somebody in the provincial government.  Let her say who that is, and we will see if this is a person or a 'greedy dog.'"  "It is sad that the Japanese have not stopped using Chinese slave labor.  We must punish all the Chinese traitors."  The netizens used the "human flesh search" on Wang Xiang and Dongchuang Company and paralyzed their phone lines with calls.

  三鹿 说是 奶农 的责任
  奶农 说是 奶牛 的责任
  奶牛 支吾了半天,说出了一个字:
  草 很委屈 含泪道

[Literal translation]

    Sanlu says that the cow farmer is responsible
    The cow farmers says that the cow is responsible
    The cow hums and haws and finally says one word:
    The grass feels a lot of grievance and says with tears in the eyes:
    If someone is to blame, it is my mother for giving birth to me.
    So finally the mastermind is revealed: the mother of the grass.

Why is this so funny?  The word 草 (cao) is a homonym for the word , which means 'fuck.'  Thus, 草他妈 (the mother of the grass) sounds exactly like the national curse phrase 他妈 (fuck his mother!).

At the Shatin courtroom, the atmosphere was tense.  The reporters warned that no filming, or audio recording was allowed.  Members of the public were told that they cannot even talk notes.  The following is an artist's sketch of the three suspects.

(PollingReport.com)  CBS News Poll in the United States of America.  March 2008.

"Do you think Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?"
28% Yes
58% No
14% Unsure

A man, whose identity remains unknown, died after setting himself ablaze in Shanghai's historic riverside Bund area at around 11 a.m. on Thursday, local police and witnesses said. The man reportedly poured gas over himself to spark the blaze on a square named after Chen Yi, a late marshal of the Chinese People's Liberation Army beside the Huangpu River.

"I didn't see how it started, but suddenly spotted a flame that was moving about near Chen Yi's statue," said a witness on condition of anonymity. "It was a horrible scene." Fire fighters were sent in immediately and the blaze was put out in about 5 minutes, he said.

The square was packed with people when the self-immolation occurred, but nobody realized what was going on until it was too late. No one at the site saw what the man looked like or how old he was.

When Xinhua reporters arrived at the site in the early afternoon, the corpse had been removed by police and the ground washed, but the air still smelt of gasoline.

(Pro States in Flames)

(Rose Luqiu's blog)

At the 7pm program last night, the subject was the cases of kidney stones in infants possibly caused by baby formula.  From the public known information as well as the front reports, it is only known that there are cases in at least seven provinces in which infants who develop kidney stones took the same brand of baby formula.  At a moment like this, the hospitals, the media and the citizens may have their suspicious but they cannot be sure until there is an authoritative statement from a government department.  All we can do is to express our concerns and then we wait.  Given the previous baby formula problem in Anhui, this kind of waiting is frustrating because time means the lives and the futures of these children.

When I got home, I checked the news.  At 9pm, the Ministry of Health confirmed that the analysis of the many cases of kidney stones in babies in Gansu and other provinces showed that the baby formula from Sanlu was contaminated by melamine.  According to information, melamine is a chemical material that can cause kidney/bladder stones.

At the same time, the Sanlu Group has reversed its former position.  Previously, they said that the tests by the Gansu government department showed that their samples were acceptable.  Therefore, they believed that it was the contaminated products were contrabands.  When I saw the statement from an established brand name, I was wondering whether someone manufactured contrabands.  The Quality Inspection Department said that it would conduct an urgent investigation to look for contrabands.  Now the truth comes out in the latest Sanlu Group statement: In its own inspections, the company discovered that the baby formula distributed before August 6, 2008 were contaminated by melamine.  There are about 700 tons of the baby formula out in the market, and the Sanlu Group is recalling all baby formula produced before August 6, 2008.

... This baby formula case surfaced due to local media reports which attracted attention from the media in other provinces.  The follow-up from the various media showed that the problem was not isolated in one place.  Some parents read the media reports and came forth to provide more data to the media, so that the case rolled up its momentum.  This is a showcase for the watchdog function of the media, which allowed the case to break open within a short time after the initial report.

(Chutian Metropolis Daily)

According to Tongji Hospital Pediatrics Department deputy director Zhang Wen, they have been treating cases of infants with kidney stone problem.  Since these ailing infants were all using the same baby formula brand, he was worried.  At around the same time, a colleague in Shanghai also discovered a similar situation.  The information had been circulating within a small circle.  Zhang Wen said that kidney stones is rare among infants less than 12 months old, so the sudden increase over the past year made him uneasy.  "It is not a good thing for this to go on."  So on August 27, he told the story to the media.  Shortly afterwards, other media around China also reported similar cases.

Zhang Wen

On the down side is this old news report that is being hunted down all around China.  This is an earlier CCTV investigative report on quality control at Sanlu that ended as an admiring paean to Sanlu Group at a time when the contaminated baby powder was all over the market.

(163.com)  9月2日,中央电视台新闻频道《每周质量报告》播出了特别节目——“中国制造”首集——《1100道检测关的背后》。

On September 2, the CCTV news program <Weekly Quality Report> showed the first episode of the series "Made In China" titled <Behind the 1,100 inspection steps>.  CCTV conducted a detail investigation of the production of Sanlu baby formula and showed that the flagship baby formula producer in China uses rigorous scientific management processes to guarantee product quality.

In late July, the CCTV reporter spotted three advertising slogans in a Beijing supermarket for Sanlu baby formula: "1,110 inspection steps, protects the health of babies, deserves the trust of mothers!"  However, some consumers were dubious that Sanlu actually has 1,100 inspection steps.  On August 1, the CCTV reporter went and made an in-depth, detailed investigation of the quality control steps in the entire production process from beginning to end.

The CCTV reporter first went to the Shijiazhuang cow farm.  Before entering, the CCTV reporter had to be radiated with ultraviolet light for five minutes to kill all germs.  Inside, the CCTV reporter learned that the facility had to have three kinds of certificates (health certificates for the cattle, immunization certificates for the cattle and health certificates for the workers); each cow has its own computer file to document its progeny, feed mix, immunization and milk production quantity; Chinese medicine was used to treat diseases instead of anti-biotics; international nutritional technologies were used to maximize productivity; milk was extracted mechanically ...

The CCTV reporter then followed two random milk delivery trucks around and observed the sampling inspection process.  The inspector measured the freshness, the nutritional levels, the bacterial content and other hygiene indicators.  There were 33 items on the list and the milk is accepted only if all were passed.  The CCTV reporter checked the log and found that some milk was rejected every day due to failure on some item.  Between January and July this year, rejection occurred 476 times involving 3,532 tones of fresh milk.  The CCTV reporter followed one truck of milk rejected due to excessive acidity and observed that the milk was sent to a pig farm to feed the pigs.

The CCTV reporter then observed the steps involving nutritional supplements, packaging, quarantine inspection, etc.  The CCTV reporter visited five other farms and two factories and observed the same processes were in place.  By the count of the CCTV reporter, there were really more than 1,100 inspection steps before the baby formula was sent out.

According to information, the Sanlu has more than 50 years of experience in producing milk-related products in China.  It is the leading Chinese company for baby formula ...

According to Sanlu Gruop Vice-chairman Wang Yuliang, baby formula affects the health and development of the next generation and the overall physiques of the people of China.  The production chain for baby formula is relatively long, involving animal breeding, rearing, immunization, imported raw materials, product inspection, packaging inspection and so on.  There cannot be any mistake during any step.  Over the years, the Sanlu Group has lived by its responsibility and mission to guarantee that each and every package of its products is safe!

Related Video: 三鹿奶粉一千一百多道检测关的背后

(Apple Daily; Apple Daily)

("Defend Taiwan" and "Go, Ah-bian!")

Yesterday, the scandal-plagued former president Chen Shui-bian returned to his home town of Tainan.  The itinerary was: a visit to his mother; respects at the Huei-an Temple; a discussion forum with local pro-Bian legislators; respects at the Liang-bo Temple; a radio interview.  Throughout the trip, hundreds of supporters cheered him wildly as they chanted, "Go, Ah-bian! Go, Taiwan!"

At the discussion forum, Chen Shui-bian said: "The money-laundering case was a political action used by Ma Ying-jeou to cover up his own incompetence as well as let the anti-Ma demonstration 'dissolve' in the winds."  He emphasized again that his wife had transferred the money overseas without his knowledge.  He apologized for that and he promised: "The money is being frozen at this time.  When I get it back, I won't keep a cent of it.  I will donate all of it for the poor and weak people in society."

During the radio interview, supporters called in to ask him to run in the 2012 presidential election.  He said: "Don't say that, because it will only get me into trouble!"  "Even though I am not running right now, they want me dead.  If I were to run today, will Ma Ying-jeou let me go?"  "If I should announce today that I, Chen Shui-bian, will fight you (note: Ma Ying-jeou) in 2012 for the presidency, what will happen?"  But he conceded: "This is just talk because the Democratic Progressive Party will not permit it!"

Then Chen Shui-bian turned his attention to the Democratic Progressive Party: "Those head honchos at the Democratic Progressive Party want to run for the presidency and they want to suspend my membership rights.  I told that not to bother because I am resigning.  They are afraid that I would drag them down!"  "Many peopleo said that I am the biggest stumbling block for Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen on the way to the presidency, and therefore they want to remove me!"

Concerning the secret state fees, Chen Shui-bian condemned the unfairness of the judiciary.  "The verdict document made me puke, because it made me see such a vast difference!  ... When I was the president, I respected and trusted the judiciary more than anyone else.  But how can I trust the judiciary given my fate today.  Ma was judged one way, but Ah-bian was judged another way!  ... They only want to go after the greens but not the blues!  How can such a judiciary get respect?"

During the radio interview, he re-iterated that he did not engage in graft, he did not speculate on land deals, he did not intercede in arms deals, he did not accept bribes and not a single cent of the secret state funds ended up in his own pocket.  He repeatedly equated himself with Taiwan by emphasizing that Ah-bian cannot fall because Taiwan cannot fall.

(China Times)

The officer of Chen Shui-bian has issued a press release to explain what he meant yesterday as opposed to the deliberate misinterpretation by certain media: "A caller wanted me to run for the presidency in 2012.  I tell everybody, 'If you love me, don't harm me this way.'  I am no longer the president and they are already harassing me this way.  If I were to announce here today that I intend to run against Ma Ying-jeou in 2012, what do you think is going to happen to me?"

In lieu of the above story, Liberty Times has a short report on Chen Shui-bian.

(Liberty Times)

Former president Chen Shui-bian has been making trips recently to do radio interviews in the south, but he has not been interviewed by the Democratic Progressive Party's Anti-Corruption Committee.  So the party's investigation of the secret overseas accounts of Chen has been bottlenecked.  The committee had sent a list of sixty questions to Chen, who has not responded.  The committee also called Chen's office several times to ask for an appointment to do any interview, but has received no concrete answer.  The Anti-Corruption Committee will meet again tonight to decide how to communicate.


Some Democratic Progressive Party members wondered that since Chen Shui-bian has time to do radio interviews in the south, then why can't he find time to be interviewed by the Anti-Corruption Committee? 

(Taipei Times)  Hong Kong social class fuels vote in election.  By Paul Lin.  September 12, 2008.

Last Sunday, Hong Kong held elections for its Legislative Council. Of the total of 60 seats, 30 are directly elected in geographical constituencies, while the other 30 are elected in functional constituencies. Public opinion is reflected in the direct elections to the geographical constituencies, while the majority of the smaller functional constituencies are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Ever since Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 and implemented the “one country, two systems” political system, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy groups have been diminished because they are stifled by the Basic Law and because of China’s United Front strategy, which includes both threats and temptation.


... the rise of the pro-democracy League of Social Democrats (LSD) is worth some attention. They were only established two years ago and have become known for being “radical.” They support the middle and lower classes, and are clearly opposed to the CCP. They first made themselves noticed in last year’s district council elections. In this year’s legislative elections, they increased their number of seats from two to three.

Wong Yuk-man (黃毓民) is the charismatic LSD leader — he has always fought the CCP, is well spoken and dares attack his opponents. All these traits got him elected by a landslide.

However, his criticism of more moderate members of the pro-democracy camp stole some votes from them, and he caused the Civic Party representative in his district to fail to get elected. Lau Chin-shek (劉千石), a former pro-democracy activist, received even fewer votes by siding with the CCP. This shows that the opposition between democracy and dictatorship remains the focus of Hong Kong politics, and also that opposition between social classes is increasing, which is something new.

[ESWN Comment:

Is this a class issue?  I refer you to the maps drawn by Dr. Leung Kai Chi  The dots on the map represent the counting stations in the Kowloon West district and the size of the dot corresponds to percent of votes received by the candidate (the raw data is available here).  There is a map for each candidate.  The interesting maps are:

List 2: Lee Wai King (DAB), the pro-Beijing candidate
List 4: To Kun Sun (Democratic Party)
List 5: Mo Man Ching (Civic Party)
List 8: Wong Yuk-man (League of Social Democrats)
List 9: Michael Tien Puk Sun (Liberal Party), the pro-business candidate
List 10: Fung Kin Kee (Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood)

Michael Tien lost and the maps shows that he did well only in exclusive areas such as Kowloon Tong.  Fung Kin Kee showed that it is possible to win with grassroots support concentrated in the relatively poor Shum Shui Po area.  To Kun Sun has a similar concentration in the southern part of the district.  But what is the difference between the top two vote-getters Lee Wai King and Wong Yuk Man?  They both get lower and middle class support.  So this is not an issue about opposition between social classes per se, because there is just as much opposition within social classes.

So is it the opposition between 'democracy and dictatorship'?  Well, I've heard Raymond Wong used terms such as "worse than pigs and dogs" for Hong Kong government officials, the business elite, pro-Beijing politicians and the Chinese Communist Party.  But I don't think that anyone running in the Legco elections was going around saying President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiaobao being "worse than pigs and dogs."

The entity known as the CCP is not a monolith with one face, and the Hong Kong Legco candidates can also read the Hong Kong public opinion polls:

(HKU POP) (March 25-27, 2008, before the Wenchuan earthquake)  Please use a scale of 0-100 to rate your extent of support to XXX, with 0 indicating absolutely not supportive, 100 indicating absolutely supportive and 50 indicating half-half. How would you rate XXX?
78.3%: Wen Jiabao
77.2%: Hu Jintao
25.8%: Chen Shui-bian

(HKU POP) (July 9-10, 2008)  Please use a scale of 0-100 to rate your extent of support to HK Legislative Councilor XXX, with 0 indicating absolutely not supportive, 100 indicating absolutely supportive and 50 indicating half-half. How would you rate XXX?
70.5%: Rita Fan (now retired)
65.3%: Audrey Eu (Civic Party, re-elected)
59.7%: Anson Chan (now retired)
58.9%: Lee Cheuk-yan (Confederation of Trade Unions, re-elected)
58.4%: James Tien (Liberal Party, lost re-election bid)
56.4%: Emily Lau (The Frontier, re-elected)
55.8%: Selina Chow (Liberal Party, lost re-election bid)
55.2%: Martin Lee (Democratic Party, now retired)
52.4%: Jasper Tsang (DAB, re-elected)
36.6%: Leung Kwok-hung (League of Social Democrats, re-elected

Personal attacks against Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao will probably not be well-received in Hong Kong.  The people of Hong Kong generally agree that Hu and Wen are doing a good job in managing China, much better than people such as Tung Chee Wah, Donald Tsang, George W. Bush, Chen Shui-bian and so on might do.  But how do you criticize the Chinese Communists but studiously not mention the names of their top leaders?

Another consideration is "one country, two systems" which is symmetrical in structure but extremely unbalanced in practice.  The ideal situation is one of non-interference: You go your way and I go mine.  In practice, a Hong Kong politician may want to exercise his citizen's freedom of speech to comment on the mainland political system and leaders.  By symmetry, a mainland Chinese politician is also entitled to do the same.  But the impact is vastly different. 

A Hong Kong politician says something to The Wall Street Journal and the mainland government will just shrug it off without causing even a ripple.  A mainland leader says something to Xinhua about how the political instability in Hong Kong (without naming any names but everybody knows who they are) is affecting investment confidence and the Hong Kong stock market will collapse.

That is the broken symmetry in "one country, two systems."

[in translation]

More than a decade ago, a Chinese diplomat gave a speech in which he narrated a story.  At a certain UN meeting, the British representative condemned China for not being sufficiently democratic as usual.  The Chinese representative retorted, "Your country has been promoting democracy in Africa for more than a century, but how is it doing now?"  The British representative shut up ...

This is one example of the western nations promoting their values.  They have many methods, including hard and soft methods.  The hard methods involve the United States and Great Britain pushing democracy in the Middle East, but all they got was a quagmire.  The soft methods involve the western media using their international speech rights to say awful things about countries which do not have western-style democracy.  China appears to be the constant target of the western media.  This is understandable, because Chinese-style democracy is different from the western style and China has blazed its own trail.  The easiest to say that your stuff is good by sayingthat the stuff from the other side is bad.  The western media are very good at that and they can pull these types of reports out of thin air.  If you want to go back further in time, there was the <Death of Hong Kong> front page story in TIME magazine in 1997.  If you want something closer in time, there are all those stories about the Olympic torch relays earlier this year.

If there are no western tourists coming to China and no Chinese studying overseas, the western media could say whatever they want and they own the international speech rights.  If you cannot see for yourself, you have to trust them.  But times are different, as more and more western visitors come to China and more and more Chinese tourists travel overseas.

According to the statistics, only 280,000 persons traveled from China to overseas between 1949 and 1978.  That would be fewer than 10,000 persons per annum.  In 2007 alone, 40 million Chinese citizens traveled overseas, while 56 million foreigners came to China.

The western tourists are perplexed because China is completely unlike what their own media are reporting.  The overseas Chinese students are perplexed because very few western media reports have anything good to say about China.  Why?

The western media which own the international speech rights think that this is the only way to show  off the superiority of western values.  But they are mistaken.  Those who have seen the real China realized that they had been deceived by the western media.  Meanwhile, the hypocrisy of the western media are made known to the Chinese people going abroad and they become ever more patriotic.  Even if the majority of western media were to switch positions today, they are merely reflecting the true state of affairs because the western tourists have seen too much and the television broadcasts are live.  However, the western media will inevitably revert to true form.

Some western media may be perplexed by the fact that they used to be able to report whatever they want without meeting any protests from China.  How is it that any negative comment that they now make will draw a lot of protests?

This is because the customarily arrogant western media may not have realized that they had lost China!  They are losing the admiration and trust of the Chinese youth.  Over the past three decades, the Chinese government has led the country to an astonishing economic growth, and many citizens have benefited from it.  The Chinese who travel overseas during this period are the rapidly rising middle class and the intelligentsia.  When they see the good things in China being badmouthed in the western media, what else is this but hypocrisy?

Ultimately, the Chinese people want to achieve prosperity and national power through democratization.  But the western media seem to only want democracy for the sake of democracy and they don't care what happens to China afterwards.

The Chinese form of democracy guarantees first and foremost the right to survive and develop.  But the western media wants to promote its own form of democracy according to its own ideas.  They don't care what happens to a country afterwards.  For example, the United States went into Iraq to promote democracy.  When things don't work out, they bail out.  What does democracy in Iraq matter to the United States?  In the past, Great Britain and France have promoted democracy in Africa, until the continent became the Third World within the Third World?  What does democracy in Africa matter to Great Britain and France?

The promotion of these double standards has only exposed their hypocrisy in front of the Chinese and foreign people.  This is something that the western media did not imagine.  If they want to keep up with the times, they should correct their mistakes.  Since they are the media, truth should come first.  In reply to a question a few days ago about the suspension of a Chinese journalist in Germany, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said that the media ought to observe the basic rules -- to report in an objective and fair manner.  This is easier said than done for the western media.

Related link Chinese Youth on Western Media: A Diversity of Opinion  Kai Pan, CNReviews

(Apple Daily)

In a press release from the office of former president Chen Shui-bian: "Adults are responsible for what they do and the children are not involved.  Please do not involve the innocent third generation."  This was in reference to the report in Next Weekly that the former president's daughter Chen Hsin-yu intends to go to live in American with her three sons.  This article showed the photos of the four grandchildren of the former president together with information about their schools and so on.  In the press release, the magazine was said to be recklessly endangering the personal safety as well as violating the human rights of the children.  In so doing, the magazine may be violating the law regarding child welfare.

In rebuttal, the Next Weekly publisher/chief editor said that Chen Shui-bian had previously published family photos including his grandchildren without any masking.

(Apple Daily)

This story got one-third of the front page with the other two-thirds going to the DAB-LP political spat.  The headline is: "Police arrest 3 persons in rape video case."

The police arrested three men yesterday for the rape of a female colleague in a restaurant.  Someone took a video with a mobile phone camera and posted it on the Internet.  Based upon the information shown on the video, police contacted the restaurant group manager and were led to one of the branch restaurants.  They managed to contact the victim who identified three men.  Shortly afterwards, the police arrested three men at their homes.  The three men were age 16, 17 and 19.

[ESWN Comment: If you read through the story above, you have no idea which restaurant it is.  The story was written that way to protect the newspaper from legal trouble, at least in the opinion of the newspaper.  Other newspapers may have a different opinion as the story below shows.]

(Oriental Daily)

The Japanese restaurant chain Yoshinoya is swept into a rape case.  Recently, a video has been spread widely on the Internet and by mobile phone, in which a girl wearing what looked like a Yoshinoya uniform was raped by two men wearing similar uniforms in an office located in Shatin.  Yesterday, the police arrested three men age 16, 17 and 19 on suspicion of rape.

The video was taken by a mobile phone camera.  In the video, there were two men and one girl wearing what looked like Yoshinoya uniforms.  The female was having intercourse with one man on the table, while another man fondled her breasts.  In the video, the female looked unwilling and said: "Don't!  It hurts!"  Meanwhile, another man was filming and making comments.  Another female was heard to say: "Call 999!"  But the cameraman said: "Don't!"

Yoshinoya issued a statement last evening to confirm that the company reported to the police after it learned about the existence of the video.  The company will cooperate with the police fully but it has nothing more to say for now while the investigation is ongoing.

As for the other newspapers, NOTHING.  The biggest happening on the Hong Kong Internet does not exist.