(TVBS)  (October 15, 2008)  KMT Legislator Chiu Yi revealed to the press that former president Chen Shui-bian had invited a tarot card reader.  According to Chiu Yi's narrative: "He was doing a reading with tarot cards with a young tarot card reader.  When Chen drew the card of death, his face froze at first.  Then his lips began to to quiver as his voice trembled.  When the tarot card began to explain the meaning of the card of Death, Chen began to look more and more scared until he started to cry.  This showed that Chen is filled with fright right now."

Chiu Yi's description was so detailed and vivid (including the tears in Chen's eyes) that it must have come the tarot card reader himself.  Who was he?  Chu said: "I will only tell you when he tells me that I can."  DPP legislator Pan Meng-an said: "He did not see it happen but he can describe it so vividly.  He should go write stories."  DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying said: "Please don't ask me such a stupid question.  I don't want to comment on what this deranged person says."


(Apple Daily)

Charlier Huang to whom Chen Shui-bian went for a tarot card reading several days ago claims to be 20 years old and had studied in England.  But netizens at the PTT forum disclosed that he had just graduated from the Taichung Municipal Chih Shan Junior High School two yeas ago.  He also worked at the Create Your Life magazine where he was dismissed for stealing company money.


When interviewed by ETTV, Charlier Huang pulled out a blurry photocopy of a British passport which he says showed that his name is Charlier Huang and he was born in December 1985.  He also refused to say that former president Chen Shui-bian cried upon drawing the card of Death.  However, he also refused to deny that this ever happened.  According to the neighbor of Huang, Ah Bian came to Huang's workshop that day and even asked for the elevator to be cleared for him because he did not want anyone to see him coming for a tarot card reading.


When the news came out that the tarot card reader Charlier Huang is only 20 years old, even Chiu Yi was surprised.  The reporters told him that netizens are saying that Huang graduated from junior high school two yars ago.  Chiu Yi said: "Impossible.  Didn't you interview him and see him in person?  The main point is that Chen Shui-bian went to see him, and not the age of Huang."

Interestingly, Chen Shui-bian's office has been monitoring the media very closely and issuing daily bulletins to rebut this and that.  But in the matter of the tarot card reading, the office has only said that it will not respond to these "gossip" news and thus neither confirmed nor denied the case.


On October 6, the netizen 'slala' made a post titled <What is so good about the BRT??? Who benefits???> at the Hualongxiang Forum (note: a local forum for Changzhou city, Jiangsu province).  On the afternoon before yesterday, the Changzhou city mayor responded under the netizen ID 'Citizen/mayor' by making a post at the same forum.  He wrote that "'slala' charged that the purpose of building the BRT was to enrich myself and the government department heads.  This is immoral.  This is libel against me using rumors.  This  shows no moral character."  He then wrote about his work over the past three years as mayor.  He ended by writing: "You can express your views about the performances of the government and the mayor.  I can even understand and forgive the use of extreme language.  But you cannot make up rumors to libel people."

This quickly became the hottest topic in Changzhou, and the story was played at the major national forums.  Many netizens praised the mayor for not invoking the force of the relevant government and judicial departments against the rumor monger.

("Ten Years Chopping Wood" at Southern Metropolis Daily)

The Internet has led to economic development and social progress, but it has also created problems for public figures including government officials.  On the Internet, information is transmitted rapidly through complex channels.  It is hard to determine the source of the information.  When the public cannot easily distinguish between real and fake information, rumors can hurt people.  There is an ancient saying that three people together are as dangerous as one tiger.  On the Internet, the dissemination of rumors may be one hundred times or one thousand times stronger than three persons.

We are no longer in an era where we used bamboo scrolls or smoke signals to communicate.  So how shall government officials deal with unfavorable gossip (especially rumors) about themselves?  Recently, Changzhou mayor Wang Weicheng set a very good example.  Someone was spreading the rumor that his relatives were using his job position and powers to enrich themselves, including many a great detail.  Given the present climate in which the public harbor serious doubts about the ethics of government officials, this kind of rumor is quite damaging.  I believe that Mayor Wang had the ability to mobilize the police to investigate, track down the source and detain him for rumor mongering.  But Mayor Wang did not do that.  He used a regular netizen ID and made a post at the Longcheng Teahouse Forum (Changzhou city) and rebutted the rumors point by point.  His action drew positive reviews from netizens, one of whom wrote: "Ignoring the rights and wrongs for the moment.  Under the present circumstances, a mayor has chosen to respond publicly on the Internet to the doubts raised by another netizens.  His action deserves our support."


The logic is clear.  But some of these government officials continue to rely on using their powers against Internet rumors.  Earlier this year, there was a popular Internet post in which an alleged female university student complained that a certain Shaanxi department chief was "lusty and corrupt."  When I saw this post, my initial reaction was that it was unreliable because the style was too exaggerated.  But many netizens preferred to believe it than not.  The local police interceded and determined that the post was plotted by a local businessman named Zhang Shengli, who had sub-contracted an expressway but now the government is taking it back.  If Zhang Shengli manufactured a rumor to take revenge against a department chief, he should bear legal responsibility.

The department chief could have acted like mayor Wang: "A mayor is also a human, and his dignity should be protected under the law too."  He could have rebutted the Internet rumors point by point; next, if he believed that his dignity has been insulted, he could lodge a complaint with the relevant government departments to track down the source and filed a libel lawsuit.  Why couldn't a department chief use the Internet to dispel the rumors or defend himself in court as a plaintiff?  But this particular department chief probably did not want to stoop down to become a netizen or plaintiff and instead he used his official powers to forcefully punished this "rumor monger."  While this old and tried method gave him some comfort, it did not have a positive effect on the public relations crisis.  Instead, the public gave greater credibility to the "rumor" and the "rumor monger" obtained even broader public opinion sympathy.

This department chief and mayor Wang are both "old revolutionaries who faced new problems."  But their crisis management methods are diametrically opposite with completely different results.

The investigation of the case of the "six Harbin policemen beating a man to death" is ongoing.  Yesterday afternoon, the representatives of the Harbin public security bureau met with seven relatives of the deceased person Lin Songling.  During the meeting, the complete surveillance video was shown.  According to the father of Lin Songling, the final portion showed five or six policemen kicked Songling hard for at least five to six minutes.

Lin Jili, the father of Lin Songling, told the reporter that the meeting went from 2pm to 4pm.  During the meeting, they watched the entire video surveillance tape, which was not the same as the previously released video.  The complete video lasted more than 20 minutes.  It included Lin Songling being dragged out of the bar by the police and five or six policemen surrounding Lin and kicking him hard.

According to the lawyer of the Lin family Wu Fengbin, the two parties went to the bar after drinking alcohol elsewhere.  The six policemen and Lin Songling got into a fight.  From the second half of the video, the policemen were no longer defending themselves, but they intentionally hurt Lin and caused his death.

After the meeting, the Lin family made a strong demand to the police to air the entire videotape on local television in order to restore the factual truth.  The police declined on the basis that the investigation is still ongoing.  Lin Jili then requested to obtain a copy of the video tape, but the police turned him down for the same reason.

According to laywer Wu Fengbin, two doctors with emergency equipment waited outside the conference in case they were needed.  After watching the entire video, the parents of Lin Songling cried and almost fainted.

According to the stepmother of Lin Songling, the police has approached the family twice at their home and asked for a settlement.  The family declined twice.  However, this assertion has not been confirmed with the police.

According to Wu Fengqing, Harbin city vice mayor and public security bureau director Wang Weixu took charge of the meeting and agreed with the family that the six policemen "lacked self-restraint."  There were five talking points:

1. The police ought to have exercised greater self-restraint;

2. The family should not believe in the Internet rumors and they should not be used by other people with ulterior motives;

3. The police will not protect their own kind;

4. The police will not retaliate against the companions of Lin Songling and they will not hold them responsible;

5. Communication ought to be maintained between the Lin family and the police, and Wang Weixu give his personal mobile phone number.

There have been deep splits on the Internet over the brawl in front of a certain bar in Harbin on the night of October 11.  At first, "public opinion" condemned the police who beat a man to death.  But once the identity of the deceased became known and the video (which emphasized the provocative behavior of the deceased before his death) was released, part of the "public opinion" became sympathetic to the police and put the blame on the deceased who was alleged to be the son of a "senior government official."  The key is that the video had morphed the story from "six policemen beat a university student to death in the street" into "six prefects punched out 'government insider' Lin."

This type of situation is familiar.  For some people, the world has only two colors -- black or white; and there are two only kinds of people -- good or bad.  This type of monochromatic thinking is prevalent on the Internet.  For example, when several Beijing radio hosts were arrested by the Prague police after a dispute with local merchants, the Internet opinion was that these radio hosts were acting bossy outside China and lost face for the nation instead.  At other times, whenever any Chinese get "mistreated" outside China, public opinion usually rise to support national dignity.

If I have it right, then the logic of these people here is this: When ordinary citizens get into trouble overseas, it must be because the foreigners hold us in contempt.  But these radio hosts are from a "privileged class" so they deserved it when they get into trouble overseas.  The attitudes are diametrically different, but the singular idea of "national dignity" does not change.  The same thinking logic shows up in the Harbin incident: When they see the headline that the police had beaten someone to death, they automatically start condemning without even bothering to read the contents.  When they check again, they found out that the police was assaulting the son of a senior government official.  So it must be the case that this son of a senior government official was misbehaving again, except this time he ran into some tough characters.  They might as well as spell it out explicitly: The police are bad, but the sons of senior government officials are even worse!  Therefore, the police deserve their sympathy.

The problem is just where did they develop this kind of thinking that is so simple that it is scary?  Why does this type of expression dominate on the Internet?

I don't know if civic education has anything to do with this.  In our education, we do not learn to view the world from different angles.  Instead, we are instilled with the "standardized answers."  Our education do not train us to think independently.  Instead, we are forced to accept established precepts.  You can see that our children right now are living with various kinds of arrangements and orders, such as learning social dances, doing long-distance running and so on.  If a person is no good at independent thinking, how can we expect him to look at problems from multiple angles?

This may also be related to the "poverty of information."  Someone may wonder that since there is so such junk information on the Internet nowadays, how can there be "poverty of information"?  I really want to say that there are too few channels for people to learn the truth.  In this incident, the netizens first saw the positioning and reports about "the police beating someone to death."  Then they saw the surveillance videos.  This means that there was insufficient information for people to think and judge about the truth of the matter.  [It should also be pointed out the videos were incomplete, because the death of the university students was not shown.  How can it be like that?  This is worth thinking about.]

Of course, there must surely be many other reasons why there are these "standardized ways of looking at the world."  Concerning the Harbin incident itself, we still need to wait for the truth.  Whether the attackers were police officers or the deceased was the son of a senior government official is not the basis for determining guilt.  The renowned blogger Hecaitou posed a question: Does a volatile, belligerent, ruthless, syphilis-infected no-good small-time hood deserve to die?  Conversely, should a non-corrupt, family-loving and public-caring police officer be pardoned for murder?  These are the kinds of problems that people accustomed to thinking independently must grapple with.  I am just worried that people are totally unaware of them.

The deceased Lin Songling was 22-years-old, 1.92m tall and graduated as the class of 2004 at the Harbin Institute of Physical Education, Department of Basketball.  The human flesh search revealed that he entered the institute by using money and graduated this August.  His family has procured a job for him at the provincial department of treasury.

His father Lin Jili is a Harbin real estate mogul with underworld connections.

His mother's brother Zou Xinsheng was the former Harbin city Communist Party deputy secretary and is presently the chairman of the Harbin Communist Party Political Consultative Conference.

His stepmother's brother Lu Xinshe is the vice-minister of the State Land Resources Department and the director of the State Survey and Mapping Bureau.

The father of his friend Che Liang who also took part in the brawl with the six policemen is Che Junnan, who is the Heilongjiang provincial procuratorate Communist Party Organizational Department deputy secretary as well as the director of the Heilongjiang Anti-Corruption Department.

These alleged connections have led to the new practice of referring to Lin Songling as 林衙内 (= "government insider" Lin).  This is frequently accompanied by this annotated photograph of a baby boy with a gangster-like tattoo.

"Do you know who my maternal uncle is?"

(Southern Metropolis Daily)

"Lin Songling's maternal uncle is the chairman in Harbin city ..."  Over the past two days, there were very rumors about the deceased and his families and relatives in the Harbin incident.  Someone even posted the "autopsy report" results on the Internet, although our reporter verified with the Harbin public security bureau yesterday afternoon that the autopsy had not been conducted yet.  At the same time, Lin Songling's father, stepmother and friend Che Liang have made statements that they are not connected in any way to the so-called "senior officials" named on the Internet.

Lin Songling's stepmother Ms. Guo told the reporter: "I am the stepmother of Lin Songling.  His true mother is the one who is named Lu."  Ms. Guo said that the only thing that is true is the father and the true mother had been divorced.

Lin Songling's family said that Lin Songling had graduated from the Institute of Physical Education this summer and he was about to start work in November.  But he was not going to the Civic Affairs Bureau as reported on the Intenet.  "He found this job on his own.  He had been working as a technical advisor at a gymnasium but the 400 RMB/month pay was too low.  So he was going to start working at the Jiacheng Company to sell apartments in November."

As for the other two senior officials, Lin Jili said, "They are not related in anyway with our family, and I don't k now them."  Ms. Guo said that there is a maternal uncle, "but he is just a private entrepreneur."

At the same time, Lin Jili dispelled the rumor that he is a real estate developer: "I began my career in the small-scale retail/wholesale market down at Xiaolong Street.  It was not a big business.  I only dealt with small merchandise items.  I presently have high blood pressure and a heart problem, so I am basically doing nothing.  I have not worked down at Xiaolong Street this year

"If we really have that kind of connection, we will definitely not allow the public security bureau to publish that unfavorably edited video tape."  Yesterday at 21:30pm, Che Liang expressed his skepticism about the published video to our reporter.  "In the video, the policeman who did the explanation said more than once that 'this was the n-th time that our police officers were assaulted.'  Why did he say 'we'?  The n-th time that their police officers were assaulted?  What happened to the times that we got assaulted?"

Is the father of Che Liang a senior government official?  He said that there was once a department chief whose family name is Che, but that was not his father.  "My father arrived at the scene just past 10pm on the day of the incident.  If he were really a department chief, what do you think would happen?"  Che Liang told the reporter that his parents were "ordinary workers" and that his family was just an "ordinary family in Harbin."

Through other channels, the reporter confirmed that there had been a department chief named Che at the department named on the Internet.  This man has a son nicknamed "DuDu", who is tall and had studied in England.  But this man had left that government department a long time ago.

Lin Jili said that the police have visited the family.  Concerning the autopsy, "I do not trust any organization inside Heilongjiang province.  They have to find a judicial organization outside the province to conduct the autopsy."  At the same time, Lin Jili emphasized that "the video segment distributed on the Internet affects us.  So I demand that the police must allow the entire video be shown on television before the autopsy is held."

[ESWN Comment: There have been some peculiar developments in this case.  The release of the edited video was followed by a barrage of analyses and personal details.  This is understandable from the viewpoint of people trying to protect the Heilongjiang police.  What is truly peculiar here is that the price of this protection is to fan public dislike of government officials with connections.  And that is not harmonious either.  At some point, some higher authority (such as the Heijongjiang provincial government or the central government) will have to step in and put a stop to this (mis)information campaign.]

On October 3, Beichuan County party agricultural office director Dong Yufei committed suicide.  This drew attention to the grassroots cadres in the Sichuan earthquake disaster zone.

The first to report the suicide was Tianfu Morning News editor Dang Qing.  During his interview with yWeekend, he said that there were multiple reasons behind the suicide: his son died in the earthquake, the pressure at work was great, he was mentally depressed "and then the mudslide caused by the rainstorm of 9.24 destroyed his confidence in the reconstruction."  The continued series of natural disaster made the disaster victims "unsure about how many times they will have to reconstruct" at a site that has not even been chosen yet.

Here is the statement from Dang Qing:

The news about the suicide of Dong Yufei came from Beichuan netizens.  At past 8pm that night, I began to receive short messages from Beichuan netizens: "Beichuan director Dong Yufei committed suicide in his room."  "A department-level cadre has committed suicide.  I called them back and they said, "I heard about this, but I don't know the details."  More than twenty people sent similar short messages which were all very brief.

I arrived in Beichuan on May 16, and I spend more than thirty days there in the disaster zone until the Tongjiashan lake was emptied.  I might be the reporter who spent the longest time there.  I still have a lot of raw materials which have yet to be published.  So I created a QQ blog called "Mourning Beichuan" in memory of this episode of history.

The blog records the most common people and things around the people of Beichuan, which drew their attention.  Many of them became my QQ pals and brought me into their Beichuan Group 1, Beichuan Group 2 and so on, so that I could obtain more information.  I left my mobile phone number with some of the friends with whom I chatted a lot.  Therefore, they told me about the suicide of Dong Yufei immediately.

I thought that this was a serious matter, and I ended my vacation.  On the next day (October 4), I went to Beichuan to investigate.  But the officials were hypersensitive about the suicide of Dong Yufei.  This is understandable, because Beichuan is a homeless disaster area which has suffered terrible losses.  State leaders go there frequently, so that it has become a political symbol.  When the deceased is a county agricultural committee director as well as disaster relief director, the investigation became very difficult.

My first blog post was comparatively short at 2,000 words.  I made many inferences about why Tong Yufie committed suicide.  Some people said that he had been overwhelmed by the sadness over losing his son in the earthquake.  Other people said that the work pressure was too great.  These are all possible reasons, but there is another situation that people outside of Beichuan may not understand too well.  This was the heavy rainstorm on September 24.

On September 24, I was in Chengdu and that thunderstorm came in the form of carpet bombing.  This was the first time that I had experience such a close series of thunderbolts, one every second or two.  Many people did not sleep that night.  At the time, I felt that the situation at Beichuan must be worse.

Indeed, that rainstorm triggered flash floods, mudslides and hillside collapses.  Part of old Beichuan county city was swallowed by mud and rock.  Half of the earthquake disaster zone became a sea of mud.  Many of the buildings such as the Beichuan Middle School was hurried in mud.

For more than 100 days before, the Chinese people were actively supporting the disaster zone to reconstruct.  They felt that they were making progress.  But just as their confidence were getting restored, this sudden rainstorm wiped out all their accomplishments.  The re-opened highway vanished instantly, many temporary housing bungalows collapsed or are invaded by thick mud.

When I arrived there, many people were cleaning the mud from their houses.  "Just when we spotted a glimmer of hope, everything is gone now."  "Natural disasters come one after another.  When will it end?  How many times do we have to reconstruct?"  Many villagers were saying so.

The grassroots cadres were very angry.  They even used some foul language that was inappropriate for their status, including blaming the heavens for being unfair.  Some cadres were sighing and repeating, "What do do?  What to do?"  Some cadres were filled with tears during the interviews.  They looked disappointed and lost.

 The rainstorm did not create as many casualties as the earthquake, but it directly destroyed their confidence.  After the earthquake, many people cried over the losses of their homes and relatives and their helplessness.  After this rainstorm, they seemed to run out of tears and become listless and indifferent.  Some people did not want to rebuild in the same locatoin.

From ordinary citizens to government officials, Beichuan lost its initial confidence and became lost again ...

Dong Yufei was appointed the Beichuan agricultural department director at a time when Beichuan needed to rebuild after the earthquake.  But this rare rainstorm dealt a fatal blow to agriculture in Beichuan.  Therefore, the pressure on him was not just the normal reconstruction work after the earthquake but also the mudslide after this rainstorm.  Many people did not realize the impact of that rainstorm on the disaster zone.  At that time, people were focused on the Sanlu milk powder affair and the Shenzhou 7 story.  The news reports from Beichuan did not receive enough attention.  Even the Sichuan media only made short reports on the road repairs and other relief efforts.  The people of Sichuan knew that the rainstorm was huge, but they did not realize how bad it affected Beichuan and the mental state of the people there.

On October 8, Southern Metropolis Daily and Huaxi Metropolis Daily formally reported the suicide death of Dong Yufei.  Beichuan became the focus of attention once again.



Sarah Palin's office has discovered a renewable resource to bring millions of dollars into Alaska's economy: the governor's e-mails.

The office of the Republican vice-presidential nominee has quoted prices as high as $15 million for copies of state e-mails requested by news organizations and citizens. No matter what the price, most of the e-mails of Palin, her senior staff and other state employees won't be made public until at least several weeks after the Nov. 4 presidential election, her office told msnbc.com on Thursday.

How did the cost reach $15 million? Let's look at a typical request. When the Associated Press asked for all state e-mails sent to the governor's husband, Todd Palin, her office said it would take up to six hours of a programmer's time to assemble the e-mail of just a single state employee, then another two hours for "security" checks, and finally five hours to search the e-mail for whatever word or topic the requestor is seeking. At $73.87 an hour, that's $960.31 for a single e-mail account. And there are 16,000 full-time state employees. The cost quoted to the AP: $15,364,960.

And that's not including the copying costs. Although the e-mails are stored electronically in Microsoft Outlook and on backup servers, and although a blank CD-ROM costs only 41 cents at Capital Office Supply in Juneau, the governor's office says it can provide copies only on paper.

Why? Because lawyers need printouts so they can black out, or "redact," private or exempted information. That task is more difficult because Palin and her senior staff have used government e-mail accounts for some personal correspondence, and personal e-mail accounts for much of their government correspondence. The photocopies of those printouts will be a relative bargain, only 10 cents a page. A state administrator said he understood that such redaction could be done electronically, but that state offices weren't set up to do that.

That process of deleting information is likely to be so lengthy that most requestors won't be able to see the records until well after the next president and vice president are chosen, Palin's office said.

E-mail sent between the governor's staff and their private Yahoo e-mail accounts won't be collected until Oct. 31. Searches will take an additional two weeks, until Nov. 14. And then the legal review of each e-mail will begin. There's no telling how long that will take, because no one knows how many e-mails there are, wrote Linda J. Perez, administrative director for the governor, in a letter she sent to the state attorney general seeking approval for a delay.

A small victory: Copies of the requests themselves Msnbc.com did receive from the governor's office copies of all the public records requests filed since she was inaugurated, and the replies from the governor's office. Palin took office in December 2006, after seeking office on a platform of clean and transparent government.

The price quotes reveal that Palin's office has repeatedly tried to charge different news organizations the cost to reconstruct the same e-mail accounts of the governor, her senior staff and other employees. Each time an e-mail is requested, the office quotes the same cost of $960.31 for 13 hours to recover and search each employee's e-mails.

NBC's price quote for e-mails sent to Todd Palin: $15 million.

The AP's price for e-mails between state employees and the campaign headquarters of Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain: $15 million.

And the AP again, for e-mails between state employees and the National Park Service (on polar bears, wolves and other topics): $15 million.

The AP's news editor in Anchorage, Mark Thiessen, told msnbc.com he wasn't authorized to say whether the AP, a nonprofit cooperative owned by newspapers, planned to pay the $45 million for e-mails.

The employees in the governor's office have been polite and responsive in fulfilling the request by msnbc.com for all the public records requests and replies. The charge was only $37.70 for photocopies, and the administrative coordinator, Michelle Fabrello, dashed out the door to make sure the package got in the overnight mail delivery.

Palin's office hasn't always interpreted state law in favor of public access. The Alaska law on public records does not require it to charge any fee for public records, although a fee is allowed if the processing would take five hours or more. The state law says all fees may be waived if the information is used for a public purpose, such as journalism or academic research.

But the governor and the Law Department have been waiving fees only when they are just a few dollars. The state has not been granting requests to waive the fees in the public interest, because it has not been considering those requests.


September 26 was the birthday of a female worker at a cultural publishing company and a party was held in the workers' dormitory.  A female employee named Jiang invited her boyfriend named Sun to to attend.  There were four women, five men, two cases of beer, a birthday cake and some snacks.  At around midnight, Sun left and returned to his own home.  On October 14, Sun was using his girlfriend's computer and found a folder named "Sexy Photo Gate."  He found many videos/photos of the company workers (including his girlfriend) fondling each other and simulating sexual intercourse.  Sun made copies of the videos/photos and left.

On October 15, Sun showed the videos/photos to the reporter.  There were 5 videos and more than 80 photos.  Sun said, "Some of these photos are normal, but some are not."  These people are just co-workers and they are not romantically involved with each other.  Nevertheless, they were making disgusting acts such as breast-fondling and kissing.

Sun explained: "The birthday girl is the one in the orange shorts and the man on top of her is named Xia."  Afterwards, Sun had questioned them.  "They said that they were just having fun.  This makes it even harder for me to imagine.  That is why I want to provide the information to the newspaper in order to explore this issue.  I want society to say whether this is right or wrong."

Video Link: 同事聚会上演集体“艳照门” 视频


(Southern Metropolis Daily)

Yesterday the reporter went to visit this cultural pbulsihing company.  Apart from Xia, the reporter was able to interview everybody involved.  According to birthday girl Yang, "We drank a little bit too much and we got rowdy.  But we never crossed the bottom line."  "We were all art students and we tend to be more open.  It is not against the law to assume those positions.  We only go crazy occasionally."  As the interview went on, Yang grew silent and eventually began to cry.

Another participant named Wang said that there are a bout a dozen employees at the publishing company and they all live in the dormitory.  "All of us arrived in Dongguan recently.  We don't know the place and we don't have much money.  So we don't go out at night.  Most of the time, we stay home and play Internet games."  Since it was Yang's brithday, "we drank some alcohol, we got high and we make some sexually suggestive poses.  That is nothing strange.  We did not take off our clothes.  We were fully clothed.  We were playing a game in which the losers have to make certain poses.  That was how it happened that night.  Normally, we are quite regular."

The reporter asked: Since this is just a game, why "punish" losers with making sexually suggestive poses?  Yang said: "Among our generation, how many of us have actually done this kind of stuff.  It is just that outsiders don't know about it."  Yang emphasized repeatedly that they did not break any laws and they don't feel that it was wrong.  "We were just having some fun."

(Southern Metropolis Daily)

According to an Internet survey of almost 6,000 people,

Q. How do you feel about co-workers playing this kind of game?
18%: Quite normal, as many people in our generation have done this before
55%: Sternly opposed because it goes past the moral bottom line
27%: So-so, it is understandable

Q. How do you feel about Mr. Sun exposing the video without his girlfriend's permission?
27%: This is disgusting because it was clearly done in revenge
  8%: His thinking is too out-dated
22%: The women deserves to be exposed
43%: Mr. Sun's action has caused a great impact on his girlfriend; the punishment is disproportionately harsh

The family's demands are posted in front of the Harbin city public security bureau


... 3.  We have all seen the video.  Whether it has been "edited" or not as some people say, we all saw the following: the deceased took off anything on him that might impede a fight; he  picked up a brick from the ground and waited until the other party come out before rushing over to hit the policeman on the head.  It was four against six.  Even though he was 1.92m tall, he had slim shoulders and legs and it seemed that he is not guaranteed to win.  The police did not initiate anything, so it is not known whether they were conscious of their own status or worried about the claim by the deceased that his uncle was a big shot.  On the video, we saw the police holding back until the brick landed on the head.  How many people would dare to challenge a group of police officers while being outnumbered?

4. The deceased was a graduate from an Institute of Physical Education and knew that he would be starting work at the Civic Affairs Bureau (as reported by the television interview with family members) several months before the official results of the civil servants entrance exam are published.  Putting aside our skepticism, we can only say that the man is both brave and smart.

5. The father of the deceased has not shown his face  yet.  We may speculate that he is not in town, or else he is dealing with something more important so that he cannot take care of the funeral of his son.  But the family members were able to quickly demand the appointment of the investigative unit and the participation at the autopsy, which means that they are not small potatoes like ordinary people.  The rumor is that the father is a senior official at the procuratorate with a family fortune in the tens of millions.  We can only watch the show.

... The only thing normal about this case is that when a man who has been exercise forbearance in spite of superiority in force gets his head cracked by a brick, he was bound to retaliate unless he wants to become a laughing stock.


1. The 22-year-old deceased was driving a Mercedes-Benz (don't ask me how I know, but it is true).

2. He attacked with inferior numbers and used vicious tactics.  He knew that these were policemen but he was not afraid.

3. The family of the deceased could mobilize more than 100 people to block the Harbin Railroad Public Security Bureau.

4. The location of the incident was under the jurisdiction of the Harbin Railroad Public Security Bureau, but the mother of the deceased demanded that the local Public Security Bureau to take over.  The Heilongjiang provincial Public Security Bureau agreed immediately.  This is unthinkable ordinarily for such cases.

5. The family of the deceased wants to send their own medical expert to participate in the autopsy.  The Harbin Public Security Bureau immediately agreed without even asking the Heilongjiang provincial Public Security Bureau.  This is a sharp contrast compared to the death of the middle school girl in Weng'an (Guizhou).

6. At the Harbin press conference, it was announced that the six police offices were arrested within 12 hours.  They did not turn themselves in voluntarily.  This shows that the six already knew something about the background of the deceased.

7. Most importantly, the father of the deceased has not shown up yet.  Under normal circumstances, how can a father sit on the sideline when his son just died?

The deceased initiated many actions during the incident.  The first time, he kicked a police officer who tumbled down the stairs, and he also kicked and punched another police officer.  The second time, he grabbed a police officer and threw him on the ground.  The third time, he took off his clothes, picked up a brick-like object from the ground and hit a police officer on the head.  The police grabbed his head and looked hurt.  Since the deceased was physically tall and strong, he always held the advantage.  He went after the policeman that he hit and continued to punch him in the end.  This caused the fight to escalate until he was beaten to death by several police officers.  The video ended with the topless Lin Songling running away while still being chased.  The video did not show how Lin Songling died.


The autopsy report of Lin Songling came out just after 4:00pm.  The autopsy was conducted by the Heilongjiang provincial public security bureau's forensic team.  According to the forensic doctor, MDMA (known commonly under the nicknames of Ecstasy or 'head-wagging pill') were found in the body of the deceased.  The cause of death was that the person had consumed Ecstasy, which led to sudden death by heart failure.


At the beginning of this year, "very pornographic, very violent" became the most popular Internet phrase after a young said it on television with respect to a certain web page that she came across.  Soon came derivatives as "very silly, very naive" coming from actress Gillian Chung about the photos that Edison Chen took of her.  Very soon, this was replaced by "I am just here to get some soy sauce" when a citizen was interviewed about something which he would just as soon as not comment on."  This was later followed by "I am just doing push-ups" derived from the Weng'an mass incident.

Yesterday, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported that during the brawl between the policemen and the hoods in Harbin, the hood picked a brick and hit a policeman in his head.  The policeman said: "Fuck your mother, you dare to hit me!"  The hood replied: "Do you know who my uncle is?"

We don't know who the uncle is yet, but that will be revealed sooner or later.  But I dare say that the phrase "Do you know who my uncle is?" will become the newest Internet pop phrase.

(Chongqing Radio via ifeng.com)

The deceased Lin Songling was 22-years-old, 1.92m tall and graduated as the class of 2004 at the Harbin Institute of Physical Education, Department of Basketball.  The human flesh search revealed that he entered the institute by using money and graduated this August.  His family has procured a job for him at the provincial department of treasury.

His father Lin Jili is a Harbin real estate mogul with underworld connections.

His mother's brother Zou Xinsheng was the former Harbin city Communist Party deputy secretary and is presently the chairman of the Harbin Communist Party Political Consultative Conference.

His stepmother's brother Lu Xinshe is the vice-minister of the State Land Resources Department and the director of the State Survey and Mapping Bureau.

The father of his friend Che Liang who also took part in the brawl with the six policemen is Che Junnan, who is the Heilongjiang provincial procuratorate Communist Party Organizational Department deputy secretary as well as the director of the Heilongjiang Anti-Corruption Department.


If Hong Kong government officials had checked the Internet discussion forums about Chief Executive Donald Tsang's policy speech, they would have seen that the hottest subject is Legislator Raymond Wong Yuk-man throwing a banana at Tsang.  The YouTube excerpt accumulated 33,000 hits in one day.

... After Wong threw the banana, other pan-democrats said privately that they also saw a bowl of eggs on Wong's desk.  Therefore, they believed that Wong had multiple options ready on that day.  The "light disturbance" was tossing the banana; the "heavy disturbance" was tossing the eggs; the "most extreme disturbance" was tossing the eggs towards the Chief Executive or the chairman Tsang Yok-sing.  In the end, Wong chose to toss the banana off the side and not directed at either.  This was clearly calculated to test the reaction of the Hong Kong people to these types of extreme actions.

Yesterday, Wong emphasized that he did not intend to throw the eggs.  He said that he prepared the eggs to give to the Chief Executive and that he tossed the banana to trigger discussions at a time when the Legislative Council appears to be somnolent.  The action may arouse the citizens to become concerned about issues just as the qualification test for the senior citizens' "fruit money" and hence crease a culture of resistance.  But some pan-democrats criticized the League of Social Democrats for causing the Legislative Council to lose its "dignity."

Government officials are paying close attention to whether the League of Social Democrats intend to import the physical protests used by Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party during the early years.  Shortly after DPP founder Chu Kao-cheng was elected to the Taiwan parliament in 1986, he charged the podium and broke the microphone.  On April 7, 1988, when the parliament voted on the budget, Chu jumped on the podium to wrestle with speaker Liu Kuo-tsai in order to stop the vote.  This led to legislators from all parties to rush up and began a brawl.  From that day on, many similar actions took place in parliament.

Yesterday, LSD legislator Chan Wai-yip pointed out that he had planned to eggs and tomatoes at Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung two years ago in order to protest the evasions with respect to the reform of the political system.  Chan said that his wife dissuaded him from doing that.  He said that the pan-democrats have failed to gain democracy over the past 20 years and therefore a path of political resistance is necessary.  He said that this current action is a test of the bottom line for the citizens.  The temperature will be raised gradually, and the next government official to be "target practice" may be Stephen Lam.

Government officials were unhappy about the action taken by the League of Social Democrats.  They wondered why chairman Tsang Yok-sing permitted the three LSD legislators to interrupt repeatedly.  Some government officials point out that if they could throw a banana in front of the Chief Executive, then other less senior officials can expect to face even more extreme action.

For those who expect the Legislative Council to have more rational discussions to seek solutions to social problems, the actions of the League of Social Democrats is the most concrete evidence of the deterioration of the Legislative Council.  At this time, only social opinion can reverse this situation.





Other defects include:

1. A man wearing the 2005-2006 home jerseys of the Arsenal soccer team in a cha-cha dance competition

2. A bus using a liquid panel to indicate the route number

3. The story takes place in Hong Kong, but many of the store signs are written in simplified Chinese characters

4. Bruce Lee eats northern steamed buns for breakfast

5. Bruce Lee bicycled past a place with the green "China Post Office" sign

(Taipei Times)  Yeh says he hid tips about Chen.  By Jimmy Chuang.  October 15, 2008.

Former Bureau of Investigation director-general Yeh Sheng-mao (葉盛茂) yesterday conceded to judges that he never informed State Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) of the money-laundering allegations involving the former first family. Yeh apologized five times for what he had done and apologized to Chen.

“I admit that I said I had reported to him [Chen] because I didn’t dare face the potential repercussions ahead of me,” he told a Taipei District Court hearing when Judge Tseng Cheng-lung (曾正龍) encouraged him to tell the truth to protect his own credibility. Yeh apologized five times during the session.

The former bureau head was indicted for allegedly leaking information in 2006 to then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) about tips the bureau had received regarding possible money-laundering by the first family.

“Please do not tell me that you did not know that what you did violated the law,” Tseng said. “Please, do yourself a favor. Tell the truth to defend your name.”

Yeh told judges that Chen Shui-bian had said the money was used for secret diplomatic missions. Yeh said he had to believe Chen Shui-bian because he was the president. Yeh’s statement contradicted Chen Shui-bian’s account, with the former president insisting he did not know about the wired funds until January.

“I regret and feel sorry about all this. Ever since I was detained, I have been asking myself how I could have been so naive,” Yeh told judges.

The more interesting detail is the method of persuasion used by Judge Tseng Cheng-lung.


When the hearing began, Tseng Cheng-lung spent 30 minutes telling Yeh Sheng-mao that Chen Shui-bian had stated in court on October 8 that the information provided by the Bureau of Investigation was wrong.  The reality was that the information was 100% accurate and gave Chen Shui-bian's family time to transfer the overseas money.

Then the judge described two cartoons from United Daily News to Yeh to persuade him to tell the truth.

In the first cartoon, Yeh Sheng-mao was presented as a pit bull who chewed up Bureau of Investigation and the money-laundering case of the Chen family.  This meant that Yeh abetted in the money laundering, as well as destroying the Bureau of Investigation.

In the second cartoon, Yeh Sheng-mao was a pit bull at the feet of Chen Shui-bian, who asks, "If I don't believe in my wife Ah Chen, am I supposed to believe my real dog Yung-ko or him (meaning Yeh Sheng-mao)!"

Tseng Cheng-lung told Yeh Sheng-mao: "You may be concerned about other people, but they don't care about you!"  The director of the Bureau of Investigation is a law enforcement officer, who should be loyal to the nation and the law and not be blindly loyal to a president.

Apple Daily: Krugman wins Nobel Prize

Oriental Daily: Lehman Brothers victims
have remote chance of getting money back

The Sun: Senior financial government officials
push blame around


Regulators yesterday rejected legislators' accusations that they had failed to monitor local banks selling high-risk, Lehman Brothers-linked investment instruments to clients. "I don't think these accusations are correct. [The blame for] failing to monitor does not exist," Monetary Authority chief executive Joseph Yam Chi-kwong said. He was speaking at a special Legislative Council meeting on the troubles surrounding products related to the collapsed US investment bank as investors facing heavy losses continued to call for their money back.


Mr Yam, who earned more than HK$10 million last year, drew criticism from lawmaker Wong Yuk-man for "sitting still to wait for a salary", while minibonds victims "sit still to wait for death".

(Apple Daily)

有 關 言 論 卻 「 辣 」 立 場 激 進 的 社 民 連 黃 毓 民 , 出 力 狂 轟 任 志 剛 態 度 傲 慢 ,
是 「 國 寶 級 人 工 , 國 際 級 懶 隋 」 , 又 高 呼 「 你 係 坐 以 待 幣 , 係 錢 幣 個 幣 ! 我 就 坐 以 待 斃 , 係 斃 命 個 斃 ! 」
惹 來 旁 聽 會 議 的 雷 曼 苦 主 一 陣 掌 聲 , 任 則 即 時 「 面 黑」 , 指 不 會 評 論 黃 的 評 論 。
但 黃 未 有 收 火 , 繼 續 力 斥 自 稱 「 先 知 先 覺 」 的 任 志 剛 ,
「 呢 個 係 你 責 任 , 唔 代 表 你 先 知 先 覺 , 咁 多 錢 請 你 返 , 呢 樣 你 都 做 唔 到 , 就 返 屋 企 覺 啦 ! 」

The comments "riled" the radical Raymond Wong from the League of Social Democrats who accused Joseph Yam of holding an arrogant attitude.  "A salary for a national class treasure with an international class laziness."  Then he yelled aloud, "You sit waiting for your bi (幣), which is the word for money!  We sit waiting for our bi (斃), which is the word for death!"  This caused the Lehman Brothers victims in the gallery to burst into applause.  Yam immediately put on an angry look and said that he would not comment on Wong's comments.  But Wong did not stop and he scolded the "Johnny-come-lately" Yam: "This is your responsibility.  It does not mean that you were unaware beforehand.  You were hired at such a salary and you failed to even do this.  You should go home and sleep!"

(Ming Pao)

During the questioning session, legislator Raymond Wong of the League of Social Democrats severely reprimanded Joseph Yam of the Money Authority.  With veins popping in his forehead, Wong charged Yam with "sitting there waiting for his money" while the Lehman Brothers victims "can only sit and wait to die."  This immediately won a round of applause from the Lehman Brothers victims.  Unfortunately, after this round of scolding, Raymond Wong could not even explain what he wanted to ask.  Chairwoman Lau Kin-yee asked him twice to state his question.  Wong could only say: "You ask him to reply to my comments."  Yam who had been sitting with his head bowed while trying to suppress his anger said without needing to think:  "I will not respond to the comments of Legislator Wong."  A simple sentence was enough to beat back Wong's attack.  Apart from allowing the principals to let off some steam, Wong found out nothing on their behalf.

At 9am on August 3, the body of a woman was discovered in the grassy area by the service road to the airport expressway in Beijing.  Based upon the condition of the body, police estimated that death occurred in early July.  Police had no clue about the identity of the woman, since the DNA did not match any of the missing women in Beijing and there were no identification.  The lone possibility is a body tatoo with three words.

As a first step, the militia police took the photo of the tatoo and visited the more than 30 tatoo shops in the surrounding area.  No one recognized this tatoo.  Based upon the fact that the words were unevenly sized, it was believed that the tatoo job was not performed by a professional.

There was also a question about the meaning of the three words.  The first word is a family name, but the other two words were puzzling.  The militia police went to the Information Center of the Ministry of Education, which could not  help.  When the militia police learned that the third word may be recognizable in certain areas where local dialects still prevail in Guangdong, they went there.  The senior citizens there knew how to pronounce the word, but they did not know what it meant.  The militia police also visited the Beijing offices of the Hubei and Guangxi provincial governments, which could not help either.

After more than two months of work with no result, this is showing up as a news story.  Hopefully, someone who knows these words would read the story and contact the police.

According to Beijing Evening News, the audience sitting in front of their television sets at 10pm on October 12 waiting to watch the CCTV program <Dialogue> were surprised to find a program about Davos instead of the earlier announced programme in which the leaders of three dairy companies making a public mea culpa statement.

In the morning of October 12, the official Xinhua and CCTV websies both featured prominently the news that "three dairy leaders will meet on CCTV's <Dialogue> and make their first public apology together."  The news said that the leaders at Yili, Mengniu and Guangming will publicly discuss "Milk Powder Gate" at the 10pm program <Dialogue> on CCTV 2.  The three would be drinking milk live and guarantee to the consumers that the milk is presently safe to drink.  Mengniu group sales president Zhao Yuanhua was said to be so emotional that she cried ...

It was only right at the moment when <Dialogue> was coming on air that the three guests in the program learned about the program change.  According to Mengniu group sales president Zhao Yuanhua, their sales distributors were all sitting in front of their television sets to watch the program.  When they saw that the program was different than announced, they called the company.  "But I never received a call from the CCTV program team."  Yili Group Vice-President Jin Biao also found out about the "content switch" only after the program came on air.  The Yili Group had even designed a new press publicity kit on the basis of this program, so they had to change it.

At the CCTV website, the reporter saw that there were more than a dozen questions posted after the program started at 10pm.  "Didn't you say that <Dialogue> would feature the three dairy company leaders?  Why did it become Davos instead?"  "Why change the program without explanation?"

Yesterday morning, the reporter called a <Dialogue> reporter, who refused to pick up the telephone.  The reporter then called the program's telephone line, and a worker said that the program was changed due to "equipment malfunction."  But informed sources said that <Dialogue> received the "directive" to change its program on the afternoon of the day of the program.

Industry insiders believe that "equipment malfunction" was just an excuse made by the program team.  Such things do not occur at most television stations, especially when the program content was announced in the morning.


"At my age, I don't get sad easily or blindly.  Although it is hard, the boundaries are getting expanded."  As the author of <The Great Tangshan earthquake>, Qian Gang said that the media environment today is different the time of the Tangshan earthquake.  In Tangshan, before saying how bad the disaster was, the media said that the Part Central and Chairman Mao cared about the disaster area.  Even as disaster relief was taking place, they remembered to praise Chairman Mao.  Today, the news of the earthquake got out in twenty minutes' time and Premier Wen Jiabao went out to the disaster area.  There were also detailed reports on the casualties and destruction on the buildings.

Qian Gang continued: "The first to identify the problem with Sanlu milk powder was the reporter Jian Guangzhou, who said that he was so nervous that he could not sleep the night before the report went out because of the fear of a libel suit.  Previously,the media in Hubei and Gansu only referred to "a certain brand" in their reports!  Qian Gang said that the corporations are wealth and powerful, and no reporter can afford to fight them.  If the Premier of New Zealand had not asked the Chinese government to withdraw the tainted milk powder, more mainland Chinese infants would be still falling ill.

Although the Chinese government is publishing the number of victimized infants, Qian Gang said that the mainland government has only changed its approach but not the mentality.  He said: "The party secretary Gao Qiang at the Ministry of Health said last month: 'China is paying a high degree attention to the kidney stone problem in babies and the relevant authorities have begun an investigation as well as ask the Sanlu Group to halt production and recall the tainted milk powder.'  But if you pay careful attention, you will see that if the state is really concerned, it should be welcoming media investigations instead of avoiding their questions."

He said that even after Sanlu was named, there are still many unanswered questions.  "Sanlu was selected among the top 500 corporations six years in a row, but there are serious quality issues with its products.  So how did the melamine get into the milk powder?  Is there something wrong with the process of choosing the top 500 corporations?  Are the other brands okay?  These questions await reporters to conduct in-depth investigations."

Qian Gang believes that the Chinese government have become smarter in how they deal with the media.  In the past, the government reacts only after a major event has occurred.  Today, the government knows how to hold press conference to release information.  But they have changed their control of the media.  Cheng Yi-zhong was the founder of Southern Metropolis Daily and Beijing News, and he was sent to jail for offending a certain government official over the reporting of SARS and Sun Zhigang.  Today, Cheng is the executive publisher of <Sports Illustrated> (Chinese edition), which published important news about the earthquake.

"The Chinese media and the government are always gaming each other.  You can be fired at one media company, but you can continue your work at another media company.  Compared to thirty years ago, the Chinese media have definitely improved by one hundred meters.  But on a daily basis, the movement may be measured only in millimeters.  But we should not worry about the slow progress.  If we cannot advance one hundred meters at a time, we will advance one meter at a time; if we cannot advance one meter at a time, we will advance one inch at a time; if we cannot advance one inch at a time, we will advance one millimeter at a time." 

As Qin Gang finished talking, the rain continued to fall outside the window and the skies continued to be dark.


(TVBS)  Previously, Cabinet Secretary-General Hsueh Hsiang-chuan was roundly condemned by legislators from the Democratic Progressive Party for characterizing their party as a "violent party."  Now it would turn out that there was physical violence between pro-Bian supporters and DPP workers.  Democratic Progressive Party legislator Chen Chie-ru said: "What I saw on television was not violence.  I only saw some people pushing, shoving and pulling at each other.  There was no violence.  I watched the television.  Therefore, i want to say here that there should not be factions or condemnations within the party.  Everybody should work hard together and come together."
DPP propaganda director Cheng Wen-tsang said: "I ask all officials with the Party Central not to participate in any pro-Bian or anti-Bian activity, and also not to express their personal views.  Among our supporters, people hold different views on these issues.  The point is that we should tolerate each other in order to maintain party unity."

All this is happening because former president Chen Shui-bian has been delivering some very astonishing remarks.


On October 9, the netizen "onewan" visited the website for the government of Zayigang town, Hanshou county, Hunan province and was astonished by the sight.  This official government website looked like a personal web page for a young boy or girl with plenty of flashing stars and floating banners.  So netizen "onewan" posted the hyperlink under the title "the most awesome local government website" to the various Internet forums such as Tianya.  But many netizens harbored doubts about the authenticity of this website, because it was so extraordinary.  Some netizens thought that this must be a spoof by someone.  Other netizens thought that it must have been hijacked by a hacker.

The reporter followed the hyperlink provided by "onewan" and landed on the website of the government of Zayigang town, Hanshou county, Hunan province.  Unlike other conventional government websites, this one is a sub-domain (meaning that it is nested within the website of a higher-level government).  The page design was very fancy, with a black background and plenty of flashing colorful stars around.  On the top of the page, there is even a banner titled: "I am the most handsome guy in this town."  In addition, this government website was selling advertising space.

Based upon the content alone, there is some sign that this was a government website.  There were some public notices as well as options about the government, the organizational structure, the projects, the agricultural production, progress reports and contact information.

This website drew the attention of many netizens.  Our reporter observed that within a very short four-hour period, the number of hits soared from 30,000 to 120,000.  The comments that the netizens left on the guestbook were mostly doubts about whether this was a real government website.

The report noted that there was a telephone number for the web page producer named Xiao.  The reporter called the number and a man named Xiao picked up the phone.  Xiao said that he is a worker for the Yazigang town government and he had produced the website.  The reporter told him about the netizen reaction.  Xiao said :"I am just learning to produce website.  After I created this website, I showed it to the leaders and they did not say anything.  So you can say that this was an authorized website!  This website may be a bit too fancy, but I don't know how to create something more serious.  I did this website mainly to practice.  At the same time, it gives some publicity for our town government."

(China Times)

Yazigang town is located in the northeastern part of Hanshou county, Hunan province.  The population is just over 25,000.  To publicize the place, the town government decided to enter the Internet era and created a website in order to attract commercial investments.  Since the town lacked the money to outsource the website design, the assignment was given to the only person named Xiao Tinghai in town who knew how to design web pages.  Unexpectedly, this created an Internet storm that indirectly made Yazigang town known all over China.

Xiao Tinghai is a clerical worker with the Yazigang town government.  Only a few people in the whole town knows anything about computers, of which Xiao is the only one who knows how to create web pages.  More than three months ago, upon the instruction of the relevant department, Xiao Tinghai spent one month to learn how to create web pages.  The initial idea was to create a town government website to serve as the window/bridge with the outside world.

But after the Yazigang town government website went online, it drew the sarcasm, scorn and even abuse from the netizens.  As a beginner, Xiao Tinghai made use of many special effects under the belief that they look better.  Instead, netizens blasted the website for being more like a teenager's personal web page or the result of a spoof.

With the rapid spread of the news, the Yazigang government website quickly became known as the "most awesome government website in history" and the screen capture of the home page appeared at all the major forums.

"In this town, I am the only person who knows a little bit about creating web pages.  I was learning as I was doing, and that is how it happened."  Xiao Tinghai said over the telephone.  "I can say that I tried my best.  It took more than 20 days for me to upload the information alone."  Since the outside reviews were so bad, Xiao Tinghai has shut down the Yazigang town government website for the moment.

But the "most awesome government website" ultimately received the free assistance of an Internet company based in Changde city to develop a more typical government website.  Yesterday, the new website appeared.  At the same time, the netizen commentary also turned to self-reflection about how most netizens living in the major cities do not appreciate the hardships and lack of skills in rural areas!

The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences announced on October 8 that Chinese-American scientist Roger Tsien and two others have won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.  As a scientist of Chinese origin, Tsien hoped that his win would inspire young Chinese people.  "Of course, I hope that young people everywhere will be inspired, but I know that the Chinese people will be proud of this."

Congratulations to another "Chinese person" winning "half a Nobel prize."  The reason for the quotation marks around "Chinese person" is that the prize-winner does not possess People's Republic of China citizenship in the political sense.  Instead, he is a thorough "foreigner."  As for the "half," it is because his accomplishments took place outside of China even though he is of Chinese descent.

Of course, for the reasons above, many Chinese people feel ambivalent when they read similar news about the Nobel Prize.  On one hand, it is normal that they feel proud as Chinese that scientists of Chinese descent are achieving global success.  On the other hand, people would logically ask: How come these accomplishments did not take place inside China?  How come Chinese scientists in China never win Nobels?

We often observe these kinds of deep concerns in China, which is still in a transitional stage.  As far as intelligence quotients are concerned, the Chinese people are no worse than any other people.  This point is clear from the creations of the pre-Qin philosophers or the social development and plethora of inventions during the Song dynasty.

Clearly, when people today want scientists inside China to win the Nobel (as opposed to just a "half"), they are actually hoping for the Chinese people to break through the heavy dust of history to see the sun again.  In other words, the "Nobel sentiment" is really the sentiment to reinvigorate the creative spirit of the Chinese people.  In this sense, we should go back to the source of the problem rather than worry about why the Chinese people could not win a Nobel prize.  We should discuss how the Chinese can re-establish the conditions to become creative.  Only when the Chinese people can achieve excellent results both inside and outside of China will that sense of self-pride be authentic.

The purpose of the Nobel Prize is to praise human creativity and honor the common values.  At the same time, it should be admitted that personal creativity cannot be measured by various prizes (including the Nobel).  In terms of political communication, prizes are just a means of social control.  Since antiquity, people have harbored doubts about the love-hate relationship with prizes.  In western philosophy, there is the notion that "honors corrupt" because some people will use any means possible to gain honor.  I have often said "praises corrupt" for the same reason as some people will seek praises above all else and forget that the true reward should come from inside one's own heart.  Many people get immersed into a non-scientific evaluation process so that they abandon their own independent personalities and creativity.

In discussing the accomplishments of the Chinese abroad, I am reminded of a piece of history.  Some years ago, Mr. Cheng Bao-yi told me about what he went through after being elected as a member of the French Academy.  "I walk down the street and some French people would stop their cars just to say hello.  They said that they were happy and proud of me.  Later, I understood that there are two levels at which they are proud of me.  First of all, they were proud because their country accepted someone from afar.  Secondly, they were proud that their culture could absorb the essence of a different culture brought over by someone else.  I think that the reason why a person or a culture is grand depends on the ability to be open ... elevation and transcendence in life occur only through constant exchange.  If we stay inside our house and look at the mirror all the time, we will never be able to transcend ourselves."

The humility and industriousness of Mr. Cheng Bao-yi have always moved me immeasurably.  Clearly, the most important thing for a talented and creative person is to have an environment that allows him to create freely and it is defintely not about which nationality he has.  If what he does is universally accepted by humanity, he will be able to nurture his motherland through various channels.  In this respect, if Chinese society can become sufficiently open and tolerant, then the Chinese people can allow their creativity to flow as well as let the people from elsewhere in the world to create with us.  Only then can China be called a truly "grand nation."

Some people might say that the problem in China is that the creativity of its own scientists and thinkers has not yet been unleashed, so isn't it premature to speak of outsiders coming in?  That is definitely a problem that has to be faced.  At the same time, we must admit that a person's creativity is based upon the same pre-conditions, no matter whether it is a homegrown Chinese person or a foreign immigrant and his descendants.  Whether a person will win a Nobel prize depends first and foremost on whether he lives in an open country that encourages and protects creativity, or a country in which "the academy is a bureaucracy" and "a higher ranked bureaucrat is a better scholar."

At 10:30am on September 18, Tang Shanghai and his friend Chen Haijun took the Chongqing-Hangzhou K531 train to Huaihua.  At some time after 1am on September 19, a train police officer began to inspect tickets.

According to Chen Haijun, the policeman saw that Tang Shanghai's mobile phone was a similar model to his own and therefore turned the phone on and checked its functions adroitly.  But the policeman found a porn video clip.  "How come you have a porn video clip in your mobile phone?"  The policeman said loudly and the other passengers stared at Tang.

The policeman ordered Tang Shanghai to proceed to the dining car.  Tang kept explaining to the policeman that he was not the one who downloaded that video.  Rather, he bought a second-hand mobile phone on which the 4-minute porn video was already present.  The police accused him of copying and distributing the porn video and fined him 500 RMB, saying: "If you don't pay the fine, I will hand you over to the local police station for administrative detention."

Tang begged and begged until the policeman acceded to a 200 RMB fine.  Tang had to write a confession right there and then.

Yesterday afternoon, the reporter contacted Instructor Fang of the Shanghai Railroad's Hangzhou Railroad Branch train police.  "I handled this matter personally," said Instructor Fang.  He said that they received the feedback from the passenger and asked the policeman on duty about what happened.  When they gave the explanation back to the passenger, the latter appeared to understand.

"It was the high security period during the Olympics and the train police have the right to inspect the mobile phones of passengers."  He said that Tang Shanghai used the mobile phone to copy and distribute pornographic information via the Internet/telephone network.  Based upon Article 68 of the <Public Safety Penal Code>, a fine of 200 RMB was appropriate.

(Southern Metropolis Daily)

In Chongqing, a man purchased a used mobile phone which contained a porn video clip.  On September 18, this man and his friend traveled to Huaihua by train.  When the train police from the Shanghai Railroad Hangzhou Railroad Branch inspected the tickets, he opened the mobile phone without permission and found this porn clip.  A fine of 200 RMB was issued on the grounds of distribution of a porn video.

Under the guise of cracking down pornography, some policemen can break into private homes at night and they can inspect personal computers and mobile phones without permission.  That is frightening.  If this phenomenon is permitted to spread, why would be the result?  After inspecting the homes, mobile phones, computers and other personal items, the next private space is the brain, heart and mind.  If a passerby has pornographic ideas inside his head, should he be arrested and displayed to the public so that there is only pain left in his head with no spare room for pornographic ideas?

"Report: There is pornography inside his head" -- this is not absurd.  The farther the authorities go in pursuit of monetary fines and the sense of achievement, they will become more ridiculous.  Is that anything ridiculous that couldn't happen?  Who can guarantee that this won't become the next reason for imposing a fine?  It is not that the law had not set a limit on law enforcement powers.  Rather, many law enforcement officers ignored the law and violated rights and pursued self-interests in the name of the law.  That is the biggest tragedy in an era under the rule of law.