Chen Hsin-shu published the letter <The Media Is Sick, Not Me>.  Do you agree with what she said?
49.6%: Disagree; when your family is suspected of corruption, the media will pay attention
32.2%: Agree; the media should not be tailing people so closely
14.0%: Both of them are sick; they should just shut up
  4.2%: Don't know/no opinion

Compared to other even more outspoken talk show commentators, I think Chen Li-hung is "cleaner."  But I disagree with his suggestion that I should take a rest and get away from the media.  The Taiwan media is sick, not me.  In order to escape from a group of news media that have gone crazy, lost any sense of right versus wrong and make stuff up every day, a serious office worker needs to 'take a rest.'  Isn't this getting things the other way around?  If this is reasonable, then all decent folks should be ask to stay home in order to avoid the robbers and rapists?

In the past, reporters have pretended to be the friends of my patients and come to my clinic to use pinhole cameras to get exclusives.  They have also surrounded me at the clinic and underground garage, which are private grounds.  During my eight hours of work, a dozen cameras stay stuck to the window glass irrespective of the protests from the doctors, receptionists and patients.  They even film us going in and out of restrooms.  I don't think anyone can put up with this kind of treatment!  If I should have to take a rest on account of the media going out of control, then shouldn't those reporters waiting outside every day go back to class and learn how to be fair, objective and restrained?

When I go to the supermarket to shop with my children, it could be an exclusive story too.  Should I avoid going to the supermarket as well?  The Apple Daily reporter says that the faces of my children will be masked, but what happened?  My three sons were followed and filmed when they went to kindergarten.  Should I let them also take a rest to stay away from the media's penchant to film Bian's family?

In the past, I have tried to go overseas to avoid the media.  I found out that the reporters don't know how to locate Ma Wei-chung (note: President Ma Ying-jeou's daughter).  But when I went to Tokyo, the reporters waited for me in the  hotel lobby each day; when I went to Los Angeles, the reporters stayed outside the door of my relative and filmed the house so that my son was too scared to sleep; the worse time was in New York when the reporter's car chased ours on the expressway ...  If I really take a rest, I might go crazy staying in home because this won't be just for six months or a year.  As long as I live, even if I don't work, I will be trailed as soon as I step out the door.  Why did Terry Kuo's wife cry many times after being pursued by reporters?  What did she do wrong?  Was she going to work?

It is tragic to be the daughter of a politician, especially one in the green camp.  When I was nine year old, it was six months after my mother got out of the hospital from that political car accident and my father was sent to prison.  Every day, I took my six-year-old young brother to go to have dinner at Mama Luo's home and I took my mother's food back on a plate.  Although teachers and fellow students scolded and ostracized me, my grades were among the top  of the class.  My accomplishments today could not be stopped by any political prison term or car accident.  That is the way it was, and that is the way it will be.  I do not need the sympathy of Chen Li-hung.  If you don't like what I say or do, you can criticize me on the talk show.  That is your job, just as my job is to be a dentist.

Huang Tien-fu was involved in the Formosa magazine incident along with my father.  His daughter committed suicide several years ago.  Even today, my heart aches when I remember the words that she left behind: "I can no longer be happy."  I only sincerely hope that even if the days are not happy, I can live tough and courageously.

[The author is a dentist]

Judge Tseng: On December 5, 2006, there were US$16 million in the Carman Trust account of Wu Shu-jen's brother Wu Ching-mao in Jersey Island.  Did the defendant report it to you?  Did he send you a summary document?
Chen: I have not seen the complete documents.  I do not remember whether it was an oral report or a written summary.  I only know that the content was very simple.  I do not remember whether it was an oral report or a written one.

Judge Tseng: What did you do after you learned about it?
Chen: There have been such rumors frequently in the past.  Each time, I asked my wife and she denied it.  I have asked the principals and they denied it.  Therefore, it was very hard for me to tell if the Bureau of Investigation report was accurate or not.

Judge Tseng: You chose to believe in your wife and not the report from the Bureau of Investigation director.  Is that normal?
Chen: The director once told me about the secret meeting between James Soong and Chen Yunlin (former director of the Taiwan Affairs Office).  The director emphasized repeatedly that he had proof.  So I told the world, but I was sued and lost in court.  Frankly, many intelligence reports are suspect and baseless.  I don't want to criticize the Bureau of Investigation.  But as president, I receive a lot of intelligence and I cannot determine which is true.  I can only take them as advice.  If I believe everything, the country would have fallen into chaos.  There are many rumors about my family being involved in money-laundering.  I admit frankly that this was the first time that I had heard of the Egmont Group.  I didn't understand what kind of international organization it was.  Also certain information about the internal affairs of the Democratic Progressive Party is false.  I suspect that the Bureau of Investigation was splitting the solidarity between the Party and the government.  If I believe in the reports on the words and actions of many political figures, they would be guilty of capital crimes.

Judge Tseng: So you are in a tragic and perilous situation, because you do not believe in the Bureau of Investigation reports.
Chen: Many of them were inaccurate.

Judge Tseng: On January 18, 2008, did Yeh Sheng-mao turn over the original information from the Financial Intelligence Centre about Wang Jui-ching opening an account in the Cayman Islands?
Chen: I did not see the original document.  I only saw a Chinese translation of the letter.  The document would not have been given to me.  It would be of no use to me.  In January this year, my wife admitted to me that there were overseas deposits.  Through other information, I learned that the Special Investigative Team had learned about this in January.  Therefore, I was mentally prepared when Yeh made the report to me.

Judge Tseng: This report detailed how the money in the overseas accounts of your family members were being moved around and it clearly entailed money-laundering activities.  Is it reasonable for you to accept the report?
Chen: I don't think that I had to stay away on account of any conflict of interest.  Similarly, I do not stay away from the intelligence on the Party to which I belong.

Judge Tseng: You have just seen the flow diagram of the money as prepared by the Special Investigative Team.  Why is it necessary to go through such a complicated process?
Chen: (stunned)  I couldn't understand the diagram.  (snicker from the courtside spectators)  My wife said that as long as we can find a trustworthy professional, he handle everything and the principals only have to sign.

Judge Tseng: Since you have a lot of money, you will have to pay a lot in handling fees and currency conversion differentials.  Why did you still keep moving the money?
Chen: This is how the financial managers make money.  (loud laughter from the spectators' gallery)

Judge Tseng: Why did Wu Shu-jen wire more than USD 1.91 million on September 21 and 22, 2008 from the AMRO Bank in Singapore to the Goldman Sachs International account.
Chen: After my wife admitted that the money had been frozen, I asked her why she kept overseas deposits.  She said that those were leftovers from election campaign money which she had wired overseas to let me advance foreign diplomacy and conduct public affairs after my presidential term finishes.  She said that there was still another USD 1.91 million which had not yet been frozen.  Therefore, I asked her to donate everything.  I went to contact a "Big Brother" (that is, a prominent person), whose name I am willing to disclose in a closed hearing.  This "Big Brother" can then continue his foreign diplomacy work and public affairs activities for Taiwan.  After we met, this "Big Brother" provided me with four account numbers.  I sent the money out in US$500,000, US$500,000, US$500,000 and more than US$400,000.  After the August 14, 2008 press conference, I told many friends and relatives about it.  The media have also reported on this a little bit.

Judge Tseng: Why does the money have to be sent overseas?
Chen:  My wife sent it.  You will have to ask her.

Judge Tseng: Normally, when some money is frozen and the remaining money gets moved out immediately, it looks like you are trying to prevent the remaining money from being chased down?
Chen: This is a wrongful accusation.  By donating the money immediately, it is for certain that the money that my wife sent out was not intended fro my children.

Judge Tseng: Why did Yeh Sheng-mao come to see you at your office?
Chen: Yeh came hastily to my office to say that he could not find the official document.  He asked me if I have it in my office.  I said no.

Judge Tseng: If he did not give it to you, why would he come and ask you?
Chen: He also said that he reported to Inspector General Chen, who disagreed.  A person's memory is not 100% accurate.

Judge Yang: Did you question the account holders Chen Chih-chung, Huang Jui-ching, Huang Bai-lu, Wu Ching-mao and so on?
Chen: Ever since I got engaged, my wife manages all the finances.  I trust that my wife is the most hands-on and the most knowledgeable person.  Of course, I only asked my wife.

Judge Yang: Why did she deceive you?
Chen: You will have to ask my wife.  (Laughter from the spectators' gallery)

Judge Yang: Since you said that your overseas money came from proper sources, why didn't you, Wu Shu-jen and the financial expert tell the public about the locations and details of those overseas accounts?  Why did you wait for the Special Investigative Group to come up with them?
Chen: I was willing to wait for the judiciary to work its way.  My wife has been confined to a wheelchair and taking medication for 23 years.  Her physical and mental health are both bad.  I asked her about these details and she cannot recall.  My family members ask her and she does not know.

Judge  Yang: If the money came from proper sources, why did Wu Ching-mao refuse to authorize the Special Investigative Team to access the bank accounts?
Chen: They can still investigate without the authorization.  This is not my money, and I have no right to express my opinion.

Judge Tseng: This is not your money.  Whose money is it?
Chen: This is money left over from the election campaigns.

Judge Tseng: So whose money is it?
Chen: I did not wire the money.

Judge Tseng: You have not answered the question.  I am asking whose money is it?
Chen: (Silent for more than 30 seconds)

Judge Yang: A first-year law student can answer this question.  Are you unable to answer?
Chen: (Looking awkward)  This is money left over from my election campaigns.

Judge Tseng: You said that your wife sent the money overseas for the purpose of advancing international diplomacy and public affairs.  Do you think the same way?
Chen: If she told me beforehand, I would have disagreed.  I was the sitting president.  Legally and morally, people will criticize me for it.

Judge Tseng: Only you can advance foreign diplomacy.  Why did Wu Shu-jen wire the money without letting you know?  Did she intend to use the money for the family?
Chen: I await the outcome of the judicial investigation.  She says that she has nothing to do with it.  Please do not blame the money from other people and corporations onto Wu Shu-jen.

Judge Li: Yeh Sheng-mao said that he showed you the intelligence report from the Egmont Group.  Did you return it to him?
Chen: I could not have taken it.

Judge Li: Immediately after Yeh Sheng-mao made the report to you, why did your overseas money get moved out many times?
Chen: You have to ask my wife.

Judge Li: Yeh Sheng-mao even showed you the notes from the investigations of the state secret fees, the SOGO case, the Taiwan Trade Development Corporation case and Zanadau Development Corp case.  Why would he accuse you wrongfully?
Chen: I have only seen the notes in the Zanadau Development Corp case, and that was after the charges were filed.  He may be trying to prove that former president Lee Teng-hui was involved in sending money overseas through figurehead accounts.

Judge Tseng: If all your overseas money is used for proper and noble purposes, can you tell this court where the election campaign leftover money comes from?
Chen: I was only concerned about electioneering.  I was not in charge of the money.  Therefore it is hard for me to tell you where the money comes from.

Judge Tseng: After Yeh Sheng-mao made those two reports to you, Chen Chih-chung began to travel overseas frequently.  Was this coincidental?
Chen: His overseas trips are unrelated to money-laundering.  He loves to travel, and he was studying in the USA.

(Ming Pao)

In Longshan town, Nanjing county, Zhangzhou city, Fujian province, two Chinese navy warplanes collided accidentally at around 10am during training exercises.  One of the warplanes fell to the ground while the other one made a crash landing in flames.  According to local residents, one warplane fell into a banana plantation and did not cause any civilian casualties.  Afterwards, a large number of military policemen showed up and sealed off the area.  Yesterday Nanjing county officials responded with "No information" to the inquiry from out newspaper.

(Taipei Times)  Taipei Court detains ex-bureau head.  By Rich Chang.  October 7, 2008.

The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered the detention of Yeh Sheng-mao (葉盛茂), former head of the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau, for allegedly withholding information on former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) possible involvement in money laundering.  Yeh stands accused of covering up for Chen and warning the former president that a foreign anti-money laundering organization was investigating alleged money-laundering by Chen’s family.

Yeh was indicted on Aug. 28 on suspicion of concealing government documents containing a list of overseas bank accounts in the names of members of Chen’s family and leaking national secrets. His lawyers have maintained he knew nothing about the alleged money laundering.

In yesterday’s hearing the presiding judge said Yeh’s behavior might have helped Chen profit illegally and therefore might have violated the Criminal Code. The judge said because corruption is a serious crime with a minimum five-year sentence, the court had decided to detain Yeh, a decision that seemed to leave him shocked. He was taken to the Taipei Detention Center from the court after the hearing.

If Yeh was shocked to hear the decision to detain him, he would be shocked even more rudely at the Taipei Detention Center.

(Apple Daily)

The system of obscenity screening in Hong Kong has been a constant joke.  From the statue of David, <New People>, Cupid to the Chinese University student newspaper and the Ming Pao supplementary section, one storm after another showed that the absurdity of the system has reached breaking point.  The government has asked consultation for the control of obscene/indecent articles.  Since every aspect (including the revision of the definitions for obscenity and indecency; the classification system; the reform of the Obscene Articles Tribunal; the roles of the law enforcement agencies; the increase in the amount of fines) touches the freedom of information, expression and speech in Hong Kong, citizens ought to discuss the issues and offer their opinions.

This consultation paper was brought under the leadership of Undersecretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So and included two sections on regulating new media, including the flow of information on the Internet.  The proposed methods have caused an uproar as people become concerned that "Big Brother" is getting closer and closer.

The document proposed "to tighten up the service contract between the Internet Service Provider and the users such that repeated distributors of obscene/indecent materials will have their service contracts terminated."  As if this is not drastic enough, the government also proposed: "Introduce legislation to compel the Internet Service Provider to provide a filtering process to screen out all web pages that are unsuitable for children and youth in order to protect youthful users."  As if this is not ridiculous enough, the government also proposed: "Those who wish to access indecent information must first enter their credit card number in order to verify their identities, so as to guarantee that the users are at least 18 years old."

The key to the whole problem is: What is obscene?  And what is indecent?  If these definitions aren't even clear, then rushing to "tighten up the service contracts," "legislate to compel filtering" and "entering the credit card numbers to verify the identities" is just reversing the priorities.

Furthermore, the key to the key is: Which web pages shall be filtered?  Who comes up with the list of filtered web pages?  Simply put, who is going to decide what we can see or not see on the Internet?  Is it the Obscene Articles Tribunal?  Is it Greg So?  Is it the Internet Service Provider?  Both the old definition of obscene/indecent (violence, decadence, disgusting) or the new definition provided in the consultation paper (inappropriate use of sex, terror, cruelty and violence) are very abstract and controversial, involving questions of taste and knowledge.  Is it automatically indecent to show the breasts?  Must erotica showing sexual intercourse always be banned?  Should the FLG web pages that showed physical injuries due to torture be blacklisted as violent cruelty?  Should the Xinjiang/Tibet websites be filtered over violence?  There are so many examples on the Internet that it will take days to enumerate.

China invests huge amounts of resources and mobilizes tens of thousands of Internet police to block out "harmful information."  The Hong Kong SAR government's proposal to regulate the Internet is Hong Kong's nascent model of the Golden Shield project.  If we accept this, the freedom of information on the Hong Kong Internet will become more and more similar to mainland.

(Taipei Times)

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday celebrated the 22nd anniversary of its founding with a low-key get-together and a grassroots approach. The theme of the celebration “Taiwan Cannot Be Without You,” started off with a fun fair held at Taipei’s Yuanshan Park in the afternoon and an informal rally held at Taipei’s Zhongshan Soccer Stadium last night.

Addressing the crowd, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said the nation needs a strong DPP to supervise the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government, adding that DPP legislators would continue to keep the government and its China-leaning policies in check. “Taiwan’s sovereign status has been in danger under the KMT administration and its China-leaning policies have become a nightmare,” Tsai said. “The DPP’s mission is to lead the public to defend Taiwan’s sovereign status.” Tsai added that the DPP must seek strength from the public and transform itself into a “reasonable, assertive and practical party.”

Here is what gets reported in the Chinese-language press:

(Apple Daily)

Before Tsai Ing-wen spoke, former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang spoke and said: "President Ah Bian is our own big bad debt!"  At this point, some of the crowd got angry and began to throw stuff at him to chase him off stage.


When DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen spoke, she departed from the written speech.  Her original speech contained phrases such as "The era of Chen Shui-bian has passed" and "Chen Shui-bian should face the judiciary" and so on.  But when she delivered the speech, she chose not to say it.  She only said: "Concerning the legal case about president Chen Shui-bian, we will not shield him and we will not cover up for him."

DPP legislator Wang Sing-nan said: "It is neither possible nor necessary to severe Chen Shui-bian from the Democratic Progressive Party.  You have seen Ah Bian fighting for democracy in Taiwan for a long time.  Now that something has happened to him, how can we cut him off?  Emotionally speaking, it is impossible to cut him off."

DPP legislator Kao Jyh-peng said: "From the chairwoman down, every member of the Democratic Progressive Party can make his/her own choice about how close he/she wants to be from Ah Bian.  Some people feel that he must be avoided.  Other people are willing to embrace Ah Bian and offer comfort.  The choice is up to each person."

Meanwhile, back in the real world of further developments in the investigation of former president Chen Shui-bian.  For the background, go back to December 25, 2005 in Taipei Times:

Chen addressed the issue of China and Taiwan again by telling a story of his dogs, Yung-ko (勇哥) and Honey.  "... There was one day when Yung-ko and Honey got into a fight, and I asked them what happened," Chen said.  "Yung-ko said that Honey tried to provoke him, and I thought, how would 2kg Honey have wanted to provoke 30kg Yung-ko? Then Honey told me that Yung-ko aimed his slingshot at her, and she just shouted, `don't hurt me,' and Yung-ko said it was provocation."

(China Times)

Investigators tracking the flow of the state secret fees under Chen Shui-bian found that even the dog food for Yung-ko and Honey were paid for by this method. 



(Qin Jiangzhong's Blog)

The Beijing News news story places it emphasis not on the the number of destroyed/damaged vehicles or the number of casualties.  Instead, it is about the card table next to the bloody scene of the traffic accident.

We cannot require that all travelers to participate in the rescue work, because professional and technical skills are required.  We cannot require that all passengers must shed tears for the victims, because there are no personal connection.  But the minimum moral standard is that you cannot entertainment yourself at a place where other people are dying.

Yet, the Chinese people have entertained themselves at many other scenes of death.  Whenever someone threatens to jump off buildings, crowds gather.  They cheer for the jumper, they play music, and they even yell "Jump! Jump!" because it was taking up too much time.  Even after the Sichuan earthquake this year, there were people playing mahjong in a tent in Chengdu city.

Actually, the Chinese people love to be spectators at scenes of bloodshed.  People who are familiar with the writings of Mr. Lu Xun knows that he has written about many disgusting and pathetic spectators.  Ah Q is a renowned spectator who derives pleasure at watching revolutionaries being executed.  In <Blessing>, the tragic figure of Elder Sister Xianglin was surrounded by spectators as she vanished into the snow storm.

Even today, there are many such spectators.  If we make a comparison, the spectators of today are more numb and cold.  At the various luxury item exhibition shows, wealthy Chinese people spend more freely than their counterparts in western developed countries.  But you rarely find their names on the top charity donors in mainland China.

How many people lack medicine and how many elementary school children lack blackboards and desk in western China?  It is one thing for rich people to act as spectators, but some of them are even willing to exploit the situation.  The most famous Chinese real estate developer declared that he wants to build some toilets with a list price of 180,000 yuan each in western China.  People are perplexed that civilized progress should have to begin with defecation. ...

(SCMP)  New obscenity rules 'will not curb free speech'  By Martin Wong, October 5, 2008.

The proposed new regulations on obscenity would not curb freedom of speech, but would try to strike a balance between easing the flow of information and protecting youngsters from indecent material, the undersecretary for commerce and economic development said. Greg So Kam-leung, speaking on a radio programme a day after announcing a consultation paper on improving the regulation of obscene and indecent articles, disputed accusations that the government wanted to tighten freedom of speech. "It is not Article 23, it is Article 27; it is what protects our freedom of speech under the Basic Law. It is the core value of Hong Kong people that we must uphold," Mr So said. The proposals targeted obscenity, not political scrutiny, he said.

In the consultation paper, the government suggests measures such as a number of regulations to curb access to obscene and indecent materials on the Web. These might include requiring internet service providers to provide filtering software and demanding customers' credit-card details, to check the age of Web users.

A caller to the radio phone-in programme expressed concern about stringent measures in internet bars and cafes where youngsters surf the internet, such as forcing operators to install filtering software. Mr So said the government would not require internet bars to install such software. "It may be difficult in these internet bars because many people go there to obtain information. Such a move may also affect their business. We have to find a balance," Mr So said. The government had not taken a stand on the issue, he said, urging people to express their views by the consultation deadline, January 31.

The commissioner for television and entertainment licensing, Maisie Cheng Mei-sze, noted in another programme that Hong Kong faced challenges in regulating obscenity, just like many overseas jurisdictions. "At present, the regulation of obscene and indecent articles relies on co-operation between internet service providers and the government, and we can only urge them to remove obscene materials from the Net," Ms Cheng said. "We will see if we should continue such practices during the consultation."

Meanwhile, on a separate radio programme, Privacy Commissioner Roderick Woo Bun discussed the consultation paper's suggestion that users might need to register their credit-card details. "We do not know if such a suggestion violates privacy ordinances; we will study it. We must be concerned with both the public interest and the individual's privacy," Mr Woo said.

(Those Were The Days blog)  The Internet's Version of Article 23 To Build Hong Kong's Own Golden Shield Project.

[in translation]

Yesterday the government issued the consultation paper on "Review of the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance."  After I read it, I was furious.  I felt that the Hong Kong SAR government had the fucking nerve, because if these recommendations are carried out, we will have a system that the so-called Chinese Golden Shield project or Internet police system cannot even remotely match!  In mainland China, you break the law and you get sent away to prison; when you get out of jail later, you may be deprived of your political rights.  But according to the consultation paper, the SAR government bureaucrats want to go one step further by depriving offenders of the right and freedom to use the Internet!

Let us ignore for the moment the fact that consultation paper is still muddled about the inability of the system to classify what is indecent and what is obscene!  As long as it does not involve underage minors, crime or violence, why should there be a distinction between indecency and obscenity?  Is the recent movie <The Plum In The Golden Vase> indecent or obscene!  This is one of the greatest works in Chinese literature!  I wonder if calling <The Plum In The Golden Vase> obscene is an insult to the five thousand years of Chinese culture?  If it is indecent, what is so indecent about it?  Confucius said that food and sex are part of human nature, so why is eroticism indecent??  Of course, I want to ask the self-proclaimed moral highpoint of society, the Society of True Light, whether they have the guts to criticize <The Plum In The Golden Vast> and declare war on the five thousand years of Chinese Culture.  If they dare, then the mainland standard reaction is to accuse them of using foreign morality to attack and smear China.  I won't rebut their statement.  I will only post it onto mainland Internet websites and discussion forums and include a hyperlink so that the angry young people will deal with them.  If they don't dare, then why are they complaining about the other media in Hong Kong?  Isn't this hypocritical?

This is perhaps straying off topic.  I was most angry about the fact that the consultation paper proposed the suppression of the Internet in a way that goes far beyond what is happening on the mainland!

First of all, the paper proposed to deprive personal freedom to use the Internet in order to control the distribution of indecent and obscene materials on the Internet!

"The service contract between the Internet Service Provider and the user will be tightened up by a specific clause that bans the user from distributing obscene or indecent materials.  The user must provide prior consent.  If someone should inform the Internet Association that a user has broken the <Regulations>, the Internet Association may take the appropriate action and the user cannot dispute."

"Establish measures against repeat offenders, including restricting their broadband access; if the user violates the contract clauses, service will be temporarily suspended or permanently discontinued."

"Promote a voluntary self-classification system for websites, in order to encourage website administrators to classify whether their websites are suitable for children and youth to view."

"Voluntarily offer filtering services for the users in order to filter out web pages that are not suitable for children and youth."

What is this?  "The service contract between the Internet Service Provider and the user will be tightened up by specific clause that bans the user from distributing obscene or indecent materials.  The user must provide prior consent.  If someone should inform the Internet Association that a user has broken the <Regulations>, the Internet Association may take the appropriate action and the user cannot dispute."  As money-paying Internet user-clients, we will have to accept a contractual clause that restricts our freedom and we are not even allowed to dispute? 

Also, the government recommended restrictions on the broadband access by offenders, including terminating their broadband services altogether!  Isn't this depriving their right to access the Internet?  What is the legal basis?  Will the government want to ban erotic stories sent by fax or published in the newspapers and magazines?  At a minimum, even mainland China does not prevent dissidents from using broadband to disseminate information, and they would at most only make arrests after the fact!  The recommendation for Hong Kong is even more totalitarian and dictatorial than the mainland restrictions on Internet freedom.

In addition, for the purpose of verifying the age of Internet users, the paper even recommended: "Establish a monitoring system to verify the ages of the users, such as demanding that anyone who wants to examine indecent information must enter their credit card information in order to confirm their identities and their ages."  Credit card information will be required in order to browse indecent information?  You have to offer your private financial data and run the risk of being defrauded in order to browse the so-called "indecent" web pages that the government has classified?  Isn't the Hong Kong government trying to educate netizens about security on the Internet?  Why do they want people to yield their credit card number on the Internet?

This is not even to mention that the government wants to regulate uploading onto the Internet.  "The other proposal is to regulate the distribution of information to the public as well as among users.  This action will have a deterrent effect to put a stop to the distribution of indecent and obscene materials on the Internet by all possible means.  People will not commit offense because they are confused about the distinction between 'the public' and 'individual users."  That is, even sending files between 'friends' will be criminalized!

Of course, the government says that this is only a consultation and it has no opinion.  The paper even contained voices of objection in order to show that it is neutral.  But from my viewpoint, it is criminal even to mention some of the positions and recommendations.  Those measures weaken Internet freedom in Hong Kong and should be even be up for discussion because compromise is impossible!  This consultation paper is like an Article 23 for the Internet, because it wants to forge a Hong Kong Golden Shield Project that will surpass even mainland China in oppressing Internet freedom!

Related Link: Netizen Against Introduction of Internet Filtering  Oiwan Lam, Global Voices Online

Q1.  Satisfaction with president Ma Ying-jeou (satisfied/dissatisfied)
52%/17%: April 29, 2008 (announcement of cabinet composition)
41%/37%: June 17, 2008 (one month on the job)
30%/49%: July 16, 2008 (two months on the job)
41%/40%: August 26, 2008 (one hundred days on the job)
28%/51%: September 19, 2008 (four months on the job)
23%/59%: October 2, 2008 (tainted milk powder case)

Q2. Satisfaction with Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (satisfied/dissatisfied)
38%/43%: June 17, 2008 (one month on the job)
28%/50%: July 16, 2008 (two months on the job)
44%/36%: August 26, 2008 (one hundred days on the job)
27%/53%: September 19, 2008 (four months on the job)
19%/58%: October 2, 2008 (tainted milk powder case)

Q3. Satisfaction with newly appointed Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan on handling the melamine-tainted dairy products from mainland China? (satisfied/dissatisfied

Q4. Do you confidence in the Ma Ying-jeou administration being able to solve the tainted milk powder from mainland China?
39%: Confidence
47%: No confidence
14%: No opinion

Q5. Do you believe that the government should re-organized the cabinet?
53%: Yes
26%: No
21%: No opinion

Q6. Some people say that the Ma Ying-jeou administration is impotent.  Do ou agree?
34%: Yes
53%: No
13%: No opinion

Q7. Overall, are you happly with how the Ma Ying-jeou administration has dealt with the various corruption cases connected to former president Chen Shui-bian?
25%: Satisfied
55%: Dissatisfied
21%: No opinion

The social event on Friday was the press conference to launch the book <The Stormy History of Chinese Media> edited by Ying Chan and Qian Gang, and published by Cosmos Books.  This is a collection of essays from 13 authors about the changes in Chinese media during the past thirty years of reforms.  These authors are renowned Chinese media workers and scholars (see David Bandurski's introduction for more details).

During the press conference, the master of ceremony identified specific guests (note: many of them were mainland Chinese workers who were in Hong Kong to attend a conference) and invited them to make comments.  When I was 'fingered,' I declined to comment in public.

My initial reaction was that I am an outsider who is not a mainland Chinese media worker/scholar.  I am just someone who happens to write a blog from Hong Kong.  So I feel that I have no standing to comment.  Instead I serve a different role.  ESWN is an English-language blog on China and things Chinese.  If ESWN specializes, it is on media, culture, politics and society, with the priority being on MEDIA.  The evolution of Chinese media has been a major theme for ESWN ever since it was founded five years ago.  While I am a participant, I share their pains, joys and aspirations as their self-appointed historian and propagandist.  While I cannot intervene directly, I can make their stories known to the result of the world.

Her eare some examples.  In <The Stormy History of Chinese Media>, two of the authors were Lu Yuegang and Li Datong, formerly of the <Freezing Point> weekly supplement of China Youth Daily.  This book includes two of the famous open letters that they wrote to their leaders.  So when Lu Yuegang wrote an open letter to Chinese Communist Youth League executive secretary Zhao Yong, it was translated immediately here (The Lu Yuegang Letter (in English)).  When Lidatong made his comment about the performance appraisal at China Youth Daily, it was translated immediately here (The Letter of Li Datong).  The world can then read their letters in full instead of some summary in western newspapers.

Who knows and who cares about what I do?  Is this all in vain?  After the press conference was over, some of the mainland Chinese media workers approached me to to tell me that they know exactly what I do.  The editor of a famous daily newspaper in southern China was especially pleased that I translate so many of their editorial/opinion essays, thus making them known to the western world.  I neither wanted nor expected to hear such feedback, but it is good when it comes.


Former President Chen Shui-bian traveled to Tainan today to do a radio interview.  When the subject of the money laundering case against him came up, former president Chen Shui-bian mentioned for the first time that it is obvious that 'figurehead' accounts need to used to achieve Taiwan independence.  He said that he took the money to build the nation and that he moved the money overseas temporarily.  He emphasized that all the money would be used for nation-building or given to the Democratic Progressive Party.  He said, "I feel that I, Chen Shui-bian, am very generous.  To me, money is immaterial."  He said that the money were leftover campaign money destined for the Democratic Progressive Party and not for his own personal use.  "I was donating the money in these overseas accounts to the Democratic Progressive Party.  I was donating the money to the candidates nominated by the Democratic Progressive Party, including allied parties.  There were candidates from allied parties too.  I was the donor."

Concerning the nation-building project, he has his unique views: "If you accumulate a nation-building fund, you can be arrested and sent to jail.  So I had to use people that I trust, right?  I used 'figureheads" to write the money overseas.  I used my own people, because I can command them."

The crowds chanted, "Go, Ah Bian!  Go, Ah Bian!"


Concerning the detention of more of his aides over the state secret fees, former president Chen Shui-bian said: "Twenty-two years ago, I was in prison.  Ah Bian wants to say if I should become the first prisoner of Regional Administrator Ma Ying-jeou, I have absolute confidence ... I have confidence in everybody ... I have confidence in the  people of Taiwan that when Ah Bian goes to jail again, I hope to see my dream being realized ... when Ah Bian goes to jail unjustly under the rule of Ma Ying-jeou and the Nationalists, our nation of Taiwan will be born."

With respect to the TVBS gaffe about airing a TV program host's off-air comments, Chen Shui-bian led his audience on a Q&A.

Chen: I am just like everybody.  We all eat rice, right?
Crowd: Right!
Chen: Only dogs eat shit, right?  Does Ah Bian eat shit? [note: the word for "dog" is a homonym for "jeou" as in President Ma Ying-jeou]
Crowd: No!
Crowd: No!
Chen: Only dogs eat shirt, right!

A press conference at the legislature yesterday on behalf of bakeries that have suffered losses in the wake of the melamine food scare turned into a clash between blue and green lawmakers, ending with the health minister checking into a hospital.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers accused each other of grabbing Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川), minister of the Department of Health, by the neck and throttling him.

Yeh, who assumed the post of health minister, was suffering from dizziness, cardiopalmus and high blood pressure when he arrived at the National Taiwan University Hospital, hospital spokesman Tan Ching-Ting (譚慶鼎) said, adding that Yeh’s blood pressure rose to 160/100mmHg.


Chinese female gymnasts who competed at this year's Beijing Olympics were not underage, the sport's governing body said on Wednesday after investigating claims the Games hosts fielded ineligible athletes.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) had asked the Chinese federation to submit documents proving the birthdates of five members of the gold-winning team -- He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan, Li Shanshan, Deng Linlin and Yang Yilin.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had specifically asked the FIG to investigate double Olympic gold-medallist He, who was registered as 16 although online media reports suggested she may have been 14. Gymnasts must turn 16 in the year of an Olympics to take part.

"Originals of official documents received from the Chinese Gymnastics Association, specifically passports, identity cards and family booklets or 'Household Registers', confirm the ages of the athletes," the FIG said in a statement.

"The FIG has shared its conclusions with the International Olympic Committee, which originally requested the inquiry. It is considered that the case is now concluded."

Previous newspaper headlines had announced: Gotcha! Blogger finds proof that Chinese gymnast is 14.  In the end, which do you believe?  An Excel spreadsheet found via Google?  Or the original copies of passports, identity cards and household registers issued by the government?


After the Special Investigation Bureau crew searched the home and office of Chen Shui-bian, his family and associates, former president Chen Shui-bian that they took away a check for NT$ 100 million endorsed by former KMT candidate Lien Chan on the back.  Two days later, Chen Shui-bian's office made the correction that the amount on the check was for more than NT$ 160 million.  Lien Chan's office replied that this was just a mad dog biting back.  Nevertheless, the political circle took this seriously and attempted to interpret.

The Special Investigation Bureau has decided to do nothing further about this check.  Cover-up?  So far they have confirmed that there was a Lian Chan signature on the back of the check.  So why did they refuse to act?

The check was dated 2004 and had already faded in color (as it appeared to have been made on a color photocopier), the watermark was blurred and the check-writer was an unknown person.  A prosecutor said: "You touch it and you immediately knew that it was a fake."  When the investigators came across this check on the initial search on August 16, they asked Chen Shui-bian and he said: "A lunatic sent this to me" and "It's a forgery."  Therefore, the investigators left it there.  When the investigators took the check on the second search, Chen Shui-bian went public and implied that the investigators were trying to cover up the malfeasance of Lien Chan.  Of course, as a lawyer, he only stated the facts (namely, there was a check to the amount of NT$160 million with Lien Chan's endorsement on the back) and if your imagination took you far up field, it is your fault.


This afternoon, Chen Shui-bian showed up in San Chung (Taipei) to mingle with the masses.  More than 1,000 supported showed up to cheer, "Go, Ah Bian!"  He said: "I am very touched and grateful for the standing room only crowd ... Many people say on television that Ah Bian is finished this time with no way out.  If I seek warmth, I had to the southern Taiwan because nobody else cares.  This time, we came back from the south to the north.  Last week, we were also showed with the encouragement and concern from many people in Taichung."


At the San Chung meeting, legislator Yu Tien of the Democratic Progressive Party made the opening speech: "Ah Bian is presently suspected of money laundering and that is a matter for the judiciary."  Even though the case is going through the judicial process, many commentators are critcizing Ah Bian on television.

"Seriously, has the present administration taken care of the people over the past four months?" asked Yu Tien.  The crowd replied: "NO!"  Yu Tien said: "Therefore, many of my friends tell me that after four months under the Ma Ying-jeou administration, many people are nostalgic about the era of Ah Bian ..."  As soon as he said that, applause broke out.  "Many people including pan-blues have told me that they would rather have a money-laundering (洗錢) president than a president who makes the people go through dialysis (洗腎)."

Yu Tien said that many Democratic Progressive Party members want to break off with Ah Bian.  They try everything to sideline Ah Bian.  Yu Tien emphasized: "I did not understand before, but I know now that politics is really dark and utilitarian!"


Many people wondered what happened to Ah Bian and his family now that the NT$ 700 million in overseas accounts has been frozen while the investigation is going on.  The latest exposé in <Next Weekly> suggests that Ah Bian still has NT$400 million in cash in Taiwan.

The savings account of Ah Bian and his wife carries about NT$70 million.  They have another NT$170 million in a figurehead account.  Combined with the money in their children's accounts, they have as much as NT$400 million in case.

This does not mean that this was all they have, because there are still jewelry, watches, pens, real estate and stocks.  The special investigation had suspected that there are hidden safes in their home and therefore went with the architectural floor plan during the search.

On one hand, it is hard to believe that Chen Shui-bian had come from a poor family.  On the other hand, it is perfectly understandable that he can make a run at the 2012 presidency with such a huge war chest.

(China Times)

More interesting is the other part of this issue of Next Weekly.  The Special Investigator Bureau squad found on the Presidential Office accountant's compact disc that the receipts for the special state secret fees included even the son-in-law Chao Chien-ming's car-washing bill and three speeding tickets for the son Chen Chih-chung.

(SCMP)  Man arrested for spreading 'bank run' rumours on Web.  Fox Yi Hu, Loretta Fong and Martin Wong.  September 28, 2008.

Police have arrested a man suspected of circulating rumours online about a local financial institution and calling on people to withdraw their money from it. On Wednesday, a bank run by thousands of jittery depositors emptied about HK$2 billion from the Bank of East Asia's vaults on rumours that it was in trouble.

Police would not reveal the name of the financial institution in the message linked to the man's arrest, but said it had nothing to do with the Bank of East Asia run.

Officers from the commercial crime bureau's technology division on Friday found a message in an internet forum alleging that a run would occur on a local financial institution. The suspect was arrested in Shau Kei Wan yesterday for using the computer with criminal or dishonest intent.

Police reminded the public that sending malicious messages regarding financial institutions can incur civil liability and may also constitute the offence of using a computer with criminal or dishonest intent under the Crime Ordinance, punishable by five years' jail.

(Wanszezit's blog)

When I read this news story, I began to worry about a certain person.  Will he be the next target for police arrest?  Who is this person?  Andrew Shuen Pakman.  Since last year, did a day go by when Andrew Shuen did not denigrate the banking system?  When he listed a target of USD 120 for silver, it was a strong message: money will be devalued to the point when it becomes useless paper.  When people lose confidence in money and the global financial system collapses, there won't be a run on just one bank.  There will be a run on every bank in the world and they can all go out of business.

Andrew Shuen began to espouse this view when the Hong Kong stock index was near 30,000 points.  He is suspected of creating panic.  More recently, he has been rubbing salt in the wound by bringing this same topic up repeatedly.  The Hong Kong police is publicly calling citizens to use the Internet legally (that is, citizens should not disseminate information irresponsibly).  Andrew Shuen writes a blog.  If people can be arrested by saying: "There will be a run on bank XXX" at an Internet discussion forum, then Andrew Shuen should not be able to elude the long arm of the law for creating panic repeatedly in the newspapers and on his blog.

But I am a good friend of Andrew Shuen.  If I have to defend him, I would like to ask the Commissioner of Police Tang King-shing a question.  How come this is an offence of "using a computer with dishonest intent" as opposed to libel or some other commercial crime?  Right now, a netizen can stand in the middle of the street and yell aloud: "There will be a run on bank XXX tomorrow!!!" without any problems.  But as soon as he goes back home and posts the same statement at an Internet discussion forum, he will be arrested.  Huh?

Another conceptual problem is that why is it the business of the Hong Kong police to determine whether a Hong Kong citizen was honest or dishonest when he expresses his ideas?  When is a person's thinking honest or dishonest?  If being true to oneself is being honest, then how can the police establish that the arrested man was not being true to himself?  If honesty does not equal to being true to oneself, then what should the people of Hong Kong be true to when they want to think and speak next?  I don't get it.

So I got on the Internet and try to see what people are saying about this case.  Quite a few people think: "The bank can go out of business when someone does that!  This is life and death!"  I agree.  But a bank is just a another business, which can be protected by its managers (and even its security guards) without requiring the police to intervene.  Could it be that Hong Kong has gone back to China for too long, so that our Hong Kong SAR police are beginning to actively learn from the mainland Chinese public security bureau?

After the deaths of more than 40 persons at the Dance King discotheque in Longgang district, Shenzhen city, the authorities have begun a tough campaign against other unlicensed businesses in the city.  This campaign is being billed as the toughest ever 100-day campaign in the history of Shenzhen (note: there had been a number of other campaigns in previous years).  As for the afternoon of September 26, a total of 2,185 unlicensed businesses were shut down (including 52 three-in-one businesses which ran production/sales/dormitory at a single facility).

In Bo'an district (Shenzhen city), there "three classes/seven types" of facilities were ordered to be closed or eliminated.  These refer to facilities that are either unlicensed or licensed with serious safety issues.  The facilities include discotheques, saunas, foot bath centers, malls, hostels, restaurants, liquid gas suppliers, etc.

Since most of the shops and entertainment venues are of the "business on the ground, residence above ground" type, they were almost all affected.  Many recreational centers, bars and Karaoke bars in the Futian districts are closed.  Even the restaurants and hair-styling salons have been sealed up.

In the Shazui village (Futian district), many of the shops are closed.  The more daring ones are 'half-open' and ready to pull down the iron gate and run at a second's notice.  A worker at a Xiasha discotheque is taking a long unpaid vacation at home: "I have worked at a bar all my wife.  What can I do next?  If the government going to feed me?"

Although the entertainment industry had created a foul atmosphere, Mr. Wang who runs a restaurant in Xiasha opposes this clean-up campaign because his own business is getting affected.  "When the patrons come to visit those facilities, they would eat here. Now that the night scene is shut down, my restaurant business volume is clear down.  Nobody is coming to Xiasha anymore.  I don't know what to do."

Although the authorities are going after facilities that don't meet safety standards, it is mostly the sex-related entertainment industry that is being wiped out because they couldn't be licensed to begin with.  When the consumers don't come anymore, the bars, restaurants and other businesses will also suffer.  This is a vicious cycle that will deal a huge blow to the Shenzhen economy. 

At the moment, the famous entertainment industry in the "Three Sha's, One Tsui" area looks like a dead city.  This may cause serious social problems later because several hundred thousand workers are out of work now.

[ESWN Comment: My favorite 'Dead City' is this song

Erich Korngold - Die tote Stadt]