Yesterday, the keywords "Wuhan Number Two Middle School," "Li Hongmei" and "nude photos" occurred at high frequencies on the Internet. When these keywords are searched on Baidu, the results lead to the obscene photos of a young girl. Was this girl a student at the Wuhan Number Two Middle School? The school principal Tong Hanli tells the reporter that they do not have a student named Li Hongmei.
School principal Tong Hanli made three points. First, the name "Li Hongmei" does not appear anywhere in the school records. Thus, "Wuhan Number Two Middle School's Li Hongmei" does not exist. Secondly, the Wuhan city public security bureau's public information network monitoring office has determined that these photos came from overseas websites. Thirdly, the same photos had appeared several months ago as being that of an Anhui province middle school female student.
When the reporter searched for "Wuhan Number Two Middle School" and "Li Hongmei" on Baidu, 148 results were found. The reporter went in and found the "nude photos" of this so-called "Wuhan Number Two Middle School Li Hongmei." In some of the photos, the girl was wearing a light purple dress and a red overcoat. With her glasses, she look like an innocent school girl. In the other photos, she is partially or totally nude and making obscene poses.
School principal Tong said that the school had hoped that the public security bureau could delete these photos from the Internet. But since these transnational pornographic websites have their servers based out of China, the Chinese law enforcement agencies can only ban attempts to reach those overseas servers. But they cannot delete the data stored on those overseas servers.
Asia TV executive chairman Linus Cheung showed up yesterday at the Hong Kong premiere of the movie <Mei Lanfang> in which Emperor Entertainment Group was an investor. Cheung is a friend of EEG CEO Albert Yeung. Cheung said: "I don't know Peking opera. But I like this story and I am interested in contemporary Chinese history. When asked why he was able to find time to watch a movie when things are so tense over at ATV, Cheung said: "I haven't done anything, so what is there to be tense about? Being tense does not mean that I cannot watch a movie."
Cheung seldom attends premieres but he came up with the idea of making a movie of Chinese writer Eileen Chang. He nominated himself to play the role of Wang Jingwei, the head of the collaborationist government. He even volunteered to write the script. When asked about Cheung volunteering to act, Albert Yeung said, "He can definitely do it."
(Forbes) Tsai Prevail in Billionaire Media Battle in Taiwan. By Tina Wang. November 4, 2008.
A Taiwan media conglomerate will remain in Taiwanese hands, after cracker czar Tsai Eng-Meng prevailed against Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai to take over China Times Group.
The staff of China Times would "resent a takeover by Jimmy Lai because he is from Hong Kong. …Tsai is Taiwanese so he's more acceptable than an outsider. It will be easier for him to get a deal and, of course, if he's willing to pay a lot of money," said a Hong Kong-based analyst who asked to remain unidentified because of company policy. A half-billion-dollar bid for China Times would require Next Media to go fund raising since the sum exceeds the company's balance sheet, he said.
Moreover, Lai's media style tends toward the sensationalist, whereas the newspapers of China Times Group have a more sober and conservative style, the analyst added. The unconventional approach has helped build Lai's $1.2 billion fortune, which ranks No. 32 on Forbes's Hong Kong rich list. China Times's cable television units will likely be profitable, as opposed to its newspaper businesses, which are outcompeted in terms of reader share by Taiwan's popular tabloid-style Apple Daily, published by Lai, the analyst calculated.
(Next Weekly) It is cold when you are far up in the heights. By Jimmy Lai.
After one month of negotiations back and forth, we could have bought out the China Times group except for a few more hours. At the crucial moment, Want Want Group boss Tsai Eng-Meng stepped in and took the China Times group away from us. Apart from expressing admiration for boss Tsai's boldness and decisiveness, I have nothing more to say. Many people have expressed their opinions about this matter, even though not many people are privy to the facts. I don't want to say anything more here so as not to embarrass those "informed" sources.
Some people knew nothing but they acted as if they knew more about the details than even the principals themselves. The explanations by these brilliant commentators are being treated as genuine insight, so how can I not be vexed? So you will permit me to ridicule them here to vent off some steam.
Some people said that if <Apple Daily> were to acquire <China Times>, then the marketplace would be left with one 'green' (<Liberty Times>), one 'blue' (<United Daily Press>) and one tabloid gossip newspaper (<Apple Daily>). Never mind the issue of whether the characterization of <Apple Daly> as just a tabloid gossip newspaper is too crass and harsh, whoever said that must be somewhat muddle-headed.
<China Times> had gone through 58 years of baptism of political turmoil and cultural development before it ascended to its present position as a newspaper with high social standing and historical vision. But some scholars believe that we would turn <China Times> into <Apple Daily> as soon as we acquire it. Isn't this assertion too simple, too naive and quite ignorant of history? What were we going to do with two Apple Dailies in the same market? What did we ever do to deserve the uniform opinions from these learned people that we would surely vulgarize <China Times>? These learned people seemed to think that when a man gets a concubine, he would want to have someone who has exactly the same character, physique and looks as his first wife. These learned people think that the husband only loves his first wife and therefore his concubine must look completely like the first wife. Hey, why would the husband waste his time this way? How could there really be such a husband? If such a person were to conduct business in the same way, he must be either insane or idiotic.
Would anyone in the world be stupid enough to acquire <China Times> and then turn it into another <Apple Daily> so as to steal away some of the original readers of <Apple Daily>? The reader already has <Apple Daily>. Are you stupid to want him to buy yet another <Apple Daily>? If you are so stupid, you might as well as go back to the countryside and resume farming, because you clearly wouldn't know how to run another <Apple Daily>. You can denigrate <Apple Daily> as a tabloid rag or use even harsher descriptions, but you cannot treat the several million <Apple Daily> readers like idiots, right?
The truth is that <Apple Daily> is the most expensive newspaper in Taiwan and also the best-selling newspaper there. The person who created this newspaper cannot be an idiot, right? With all due respect, when these learned culturati believe that the readers are buying <Apple Daily> solely for the tabloid gossip, they are being arrogant and aloof! Those people who think that I would turn <China Times> into the second coming of <Apple Daily> are the ones who are being stupid, because why else would they think that I am an idiot?
Business people like us are always thinking about differentiating our products. We want to create and highlight their unique characteristics and functionalities in order to attract different user segments and increase our overall market share. The customers are individuals with unique characteristics, and they will never be a group of people of the same nature and type.
The customers will always be diversified people. When some of our products are similar to each other in nature, we will attempt to highlight their unique characteristics in order to reduce unnecessary competition with similar products and thus increase demand. What kind of business person in this world would insist on turning products of different nature into the same one? Do those people who come up with these brilliant insights live among real people but nevertheless manage to live surreal lives?
Here is a table from a Hong Kong Baptist University survey of newspaper readership:
%Audience Mean satisfaction score (1-7) Apple Daily 30.4% 4.94 Oriental Daily 29.0% 5.08 Ming Pao 7.8% 5.09 The Sun 5.3% 4.99 Sing Tao 3.8% 5.62 Hong Kong Economic Times 2.3% 5.59 Hong Kong Economic Journal 2.0% 5.85 South China Morning Post 0.8% 5.28 Sing Pao 0.7% 6.27
The blogger noted that (1) most people read newspaper as a habit; (2) the higher the audience level, the lower the mean satisfaction score and vice versa. The blogger asked: "What more can you say?"
I have something to say from the viewpoint of a market researcher.
There was a customer satisfaction in which business computer users were surveyed about their usage of mainframe computers. The market leader was IBM and there are any number of competing clones at the time. So who has the brand that had the highest customer satisfaction. It was Xerox with a 100% full rating. Xerox had gone out of the mainframe computer business more than two decades ago, and they do not even provide maintenance on those old machines anymore. How do you explain this seemingly paradoxical result?
In the entire survey, there were only two respondents who checked that they were still using the discontinued Xerox mainframe machines. They were using those computers for very specific and minimalist needs and nothing else. Therefore, all the state-of-the-art functionalities of the latest IBM models meant nothing to these two users, who could continue this way forever. Meanwhile IBM users are forever spending their time trying to upgrade and keep up with the latest patches.
So why are Hong Kong Economic Times and Hong Kong Economic Journal getting high satisfaction? Because they are financial newspapers that target a small niche audience.
Why is Sing Pao the top score getter, given that it is an economically distressed newspaper with an inferior product? Because its remaining readers have been reading the same newspaper for the past 30 years and will continue to do so.
Why does Apple Daily get the lowest score? Because it is a diversified newspaper with a distinct political stand. Some of its readers come for the political position, but they hate the erotic section; other readers like the fashion pages and entertainment gossip, but are bored by the political commentary; etc. All Apple Daily has to do is to offer at least one compelling reason for people to read it. People may dislike other sections of the newspaper, but they don't have to read them. For example, restaurants that provide free copies of Apple Daily and Oriental Daily to their users routinely toss out the erotic sections.
On the day before yesterday, Xidian University apologized to its students publicly for the affair known as "Credit Card Gate." Yesterday, China National Radio interviewed a university official, who threatened to detain the reporter: "I want to do something today that will shock the nation!" Indeed, the audio recording of the interview would become red hot across the Internet just as the publicity department official predicted.
At just past 9am on December 17, China National Radio's news program aired the interview with Xian University publicity department director Qiang Jianzhou and another person who claimed to be the director of the Finance Department. When Qiang was asked about the regulations on protecting the personal information of students, he was obviously displeased and said that he wanted to "take over the Tianya Forum, take over all the channels through which you get your information." He also said: "Why do we have to prevent the banks from knowing? The banks are credit departments."
When the reporter wanted to leave, something even more dramatic happened. Qiang Jianzhou said: "Wait a bit longer. Since you have come, you should stay ... please sit down, please sit down." When the reporter said that she has other work to do, Qiang said something truly stunning: "Tell the guards to detain her! I want to do something today that will shock the nation! Come! I want to do something that will shock the nation!"
After the audio recording was posted on the Internet, this Xidian University teacher was quickly labeled "the most awesome publicity department director" and his voice could be heard at all the major forums.
At the Xidian University forum, there was a heated debate. Some people actually supported the university. They thought that the students were too naive and were being used by other people with ulterior motives. So when this incident blew up, it was bad for both the university as well as the students. Another netizen said, "This recording was so embarrassing. Everybody in my dorm room is ashamed."
As for Qiang Jianzhou's assertion about taking over the Tianya Forum, a person in charge there found this interesting during a telephone interview: "I really want to know how he plans to take over Tianya Forum. Why does he want to take over Tianya Forum anyway? I hope that when he takes over Tianya, he can let me know."
At 11pm last evening, the China National Radio reporter Yang Chao reached Beijing from Xian by airplane. She learned from her colleagues and family members that her report has created a storm on the Internet. Many people supported her, and a member of the Chinese Communist Party Political Consultative Conference even faxed a note of support to her office.
Was she detained? Yang Chao said that when she tried to leave, Qiang Jianzhou forcibly pulled her bag and brought her back inside the office. She repeated that her interview did not break any regulations and therefore it would be illegal to detain her. After some discussion, she was able to depart safely.
Audio Link: 史上最牛大学宣传部长:我们要占领整个互联网
A Sneak Trade between University and Bank CRIEnglish.com, December 18, 2008.
<Network News> reporter Guan Jian disappeared mysteriously while on assignment in Shanxi province. His family asked the police for help. The Shanxi police set up a special squad after making the preliminary determination that this was a "disappearance." They said, "A life is precious and we will do our best to find the truth." Fourteen days after the disappearance was notified by a telephone call from the Hebei province police that Guan Jian had been detained on suspicion of taking a bribe. Afterwards, the Shanxi police acknowledged that they had known about the case beforehand.
The police in one place made an arrest but did not notify the family. The police in the other place pretended to set up a special investigative squad. The two police from the two places were staging a sham show and created the disappearance for half a month. Legal experts point out that there is no justice if procedures are not followed. It is in fact a rights violation to turn a detention into a disappearance. In truth, the impact on public opinion is far bigger than the legalese implies, because this was a terrorist act that combined violence and deception.
Netizens have created new terms for such terrorist activities. Thus they say that someone "was disappeared," "was suicided" or "was harmonized" etc. "Disappear," "commit suicide" and "harmonize" are supposed to be active verbs which imply the subject voluntarily and willingly took those actions. It is grammatically incorrect to turn them into passive verbs by adding "to be" in front of them. But it is precisely the grammatical mistake that highlight the absurd social phenomenon: someone did not disappear, but was proclaimed to have disappeared; someone did not commit suicide, but was pronounced to have committed suicide; people are in disharmony, but they are forced to pretend to be harmonious.
The public authorities ought to make people feel safe, but they often terrify people instead. We can find many examples of such tragedies in history, wherein "being disappeared" occurred repeatedly. For example, during the great purges in Soviet Russia during the 1930's, many political dissidents were taken away by the secret police and either executed or sent to labor camps in Siberia. Their families or friends did not know where they went nor did they dare ask. They can only say that the person has disappeared.
The case of reporter Guan Jian does not fall into that category. But the "act of disappearing someone" can easily make one associated his case with the evil deeds in history. This will not only make the people lose confidence in the authorities, but also create negative reactions against the terrorist threat. It destroys the boundaries between proper law enforcement by the police and illegal kidnapping by underworld gangsters. It makes the legal system that we built up with so much effort look like a joke.
Therefore, the Hebei and Shanxi police should apologize publicly in order to restore the government's image, reassure the people and maintain social stability. They should release Guan Jian on the grounds of improper procedure and pursue his case of suspected bribe-taking by a legally valid process. At the same time, the government and the police should put a stop to these dangerous games in the future.
(Death and the Maiden) Torturespeak: "To Be Disappeared" June 26, 2007.
The language of torture is uncanny. As Marguerite Feitlowitz observes in her brilliant A Lexicon of Terror, torture rips "benign domestic nouns" from their conventional context and appropriates them as vocabulary for its own perverse discourse. Suddenly, words which are either neutral or positive take on sinister connotations. Hence the eeriness of torturespeak.
Take "disappear," for example.* In conventional discourse, it's a relatively innocent word. At most, it occasionally indicates frustration or puzzlement: "My keys have simply disappeared!" But in torturespeak, "disappear" becomes a fear-inspiring transitive verb. It's not simply something that happens to my car keys or my wallet. It becomes an act--or, even more uncannily, an unact--that's deliberately done to human beings: "She was disappeared."
Torturespeak's appropriation of "disappear" originated in Argentina during the horrible years of its Dirty War in which upwards of 30,000 people "disappeared." The military authorities used it to acknowledge that people were vanishing--they came to be called desaparecidos--but to deny any complicity. As Argentine Army general-in-chief Roberto Viola said, desaparecidos were people who were "absent forever." They vanished because it was their "destiny" to vanish. But everyone knew that this was mockery. What Viola clearly meant was that the miliary would create a destiny of disappearance for anyone who dared to get in its way. Malcontents would vanish into a chupadero, a vortex into which people get sucked. Anyone falling into a chupadero--a torture chamber--became a chupado, someone who has been sucked down a drain, someone who's been disappeared.
How strange, how unsettling, to hear this kind of language. How can a person be disappeared? The phrase connotes utter erasure, vanishment, dissolution, ceasing-to-be. And it suggests that the disappearance was sucked-down-a-drain sudden--poof! That a vibrant human being could be here one moment and totally gone the next without a trace: how can the human mind wrap itself around such a thing? The magician makes coins, rabbits, and scarfs disappear. We understand this. But to make humans disappear? This reduces them to inanimate, impotent objects, pliable stage props. We uneasily sense that some kind of category mistake is being made, that we're using language appropriate to objects to refer to persons. And the result is a jarring, uncanny dissonance.
And yet this is, of course, the whole point of torturespeak: to malform discourse, just as it malforms victims, in order to intimidate and terrorize. Language itself becomes a torture instrument, reminding those of us who haven't been disappeared to watch ourselves lest the same mysterious fate befall us. And for the torture victims themselves? Torturespeak adds psychological despair to their physical agony. Time and again, torturers tell their victims "You don't exist. You don't exist. You're no one. You've been forgotten by everyone on the outside. You don't exist."
This language erases the victim, slowly and painfully. Torturespeak's goal isn't merely to forestall the victim's future. It's to warp reality so that she never really existed at all. General Viola said it well. When a person is disappeared, she becomes "absent forever"--past, present, and future. She never was. Poof. Even if she manages to crawl out of the torture chamber, to claw her way back up the chupadero, her self, her personality, her memories--everything which identifies her--are gone. It's as if she never was.
*Today, in the U.S., examples of other once-benign words come to mind: interrogation, enhanced, extraordinary, rendition, habeas corpus, security, and so on.
From Daily Telegraph hoaxed by spoof "character of the year" story, I learned that Daily Telegraph (UK) treated my spoof post (2008 Word of the Year) as news. The article said:
Each year, China’s intellectuals get together and come up with one Chinese character that sums up the entire 12 months. Last year, it was zhang, which means “prices go up”. This year, the character is luan (乱): ‘messy’
Obviously, I am not "Chinese intellectuals," these people did not get together and there is no organization known as the China Committee of Chinese Aesthetics. Although Daily Telegraph quickly updated the page, it may still feel very embarrassed. As for Taiwan announcing the same word to be the "Word of the Year" several days later, I can only say that it was a coincidence.
I am very sorry about this. I know very clearly that many western media outlets do not adequate manpower in China. The fact is that the citizens of those countries are becoming more and more interested in China and Chinese news, especially infotainment news. This stressed their international department in terms of budget and manpower, which decreases the quality of their international news reporting ...
As the influence of China increases in the world, especially in its important role in the economic realm, it is no surprise that the readers around the world are consuming news about China. When the budget and manpower are inadequate, it will inevitably cause an incident such as the "2008 Word of the Year."
At the same time, I understand that foreign media have the need to come up with news about China. As a personal suggestion, I recommend two excellent English-language blogs through which to understand China:
Because there is no language barrier, I believe that many foreign media outlets are already using them as portals for understanding Chinese news. I can add one more point: They are trustworthy. Finally I want to point out: With respect to reporting on China, you should never bypass the actual investigation. This is the basis for journalism.
Shen Yongqiang was famous as the village official who kept a blog about village affairs. As such, he has been interviewed by China People's Radio and Beijing Daily. But his blog has not been updated since November 2. Finally, he made an update yesterday only to say that he will not be the village official blogger anymore. In the future, the blog will be maintained by a team of bloggers from the village, but he personally will not write anymore. Shen told the Southern Metropolis Daily reporter that the main reason was a Hong Kong television station made a documentary film him, and he was on record as saying certain things that displeased his superiors.
Shen Yongqiang is 48-years-old. He is the Beijing city Changping district Baishan town Xiadongguo village party secretary and village director. Since July 25, 2006 he has published 909 blog posts at this Sohu.com blog. The posts were basically about village affairs: the hardworking pig breeder who got rich; the memorabilia collected by the grandmothers; the distribution of red carrots and white cabbage, etc. The monthly financial statements were always filmed and posted. Last year, the blog even covered the village election. So far, the blog has received almost 400,000 page views and more than 37,000 comments.
In yesterday's post titled <My statement>, Shen Yongqiang explained why his blog was halted. One reason was that the blog posts may have contained private confidential information about other people. Another reason is that the documentary film <The Village Official Blogger> may have contained "some seriously inaccurate information." A third reason was that he took part in the national village mayors' forum without the approval of his superiors. Shen Yongqiang also said that certain netizens were making unfair criticisms of the town government/party leadership.
In the documentary film <The Village Official Blogger>, Shen Yongqiang spoke about how the town leaders did not approve of his blogging. "The first time that the town party secretary spoke to me was about the blog. I said that several reporters from the city wanted to come. So he spoke to me about not letting them come. Mayor Li told the party secretary: 'Secretary Shen is writing a blog.' The party secretary asked him: 'What is a blog?' The party publicity department secretary also did not support me." Shen believes that this was the reason why the town made him stop the blog for one month. Shen said that the program also made a mistake about the reason why he was fined 200 yuan by the town government.
Shen Yongiang told the Southern Metropolis Daily reporter that he can still blog about his personal life but it could not be about village affairs. He could not open up another blog to discuss village affairs, because "the town people are searching for my name on the Internet every day." He is not used to not blogging on a daily basis. Besides, he had compiled the blog from scratch and he new exactly where to find the original texts and photos by date. He is not afraid of losing his job because he is already 48 years old and not interested in getting a promotion. He is convinced that even if he was dismissed as party secretary, the villagers will still vote him as their village mayor.
Recently, netizens have been posting the photos of Nanjing city Jiangning district housing department director Zhou Jiugeng onto the Internet. In the photos, Zhou is attending meetings. So what? Netizens are noting that director Zhou smokes cigarettes that cost 1,500 to 1,800 yuan per carton and wears watches that cost 100,00 yuan. With the intercession of mainstream media coverage, Zhou Jiugeng may be the the last Internet hit personality of the year 2008.
Zhou Jiugeng was just a minor government official and had been totally obscure. Under the prevailing public opinion atmosphere, Zhou and the relevant Communist Party disciplinary committee may be forced to make an account. What are the lessons?
First of all, government officials should never flaunt their wealth. They should try to keep a low profile. Why did he have to smoke that brand of cigarettes and wear those watches? Those items are clearly not commensurate with your salary. When the masses who do not know the truth see it, they will get upset. Their ensuing questions will create embarrassment for you.
Secondly, you should learn to choose the right time and place. Leaders should be able to enjoy luxury items, but you should learn to choose when and where. At a public meeting with television and newspaper reporters, you have to be wary about their image. You should dress simply and you should smoke cheap cigarettes, so as to present the image of a clean and dutiful public servant. What do you want to wear expensive watches and smoke expensive cigarettes? When you back to your private space, you can do whatever you want.
Thirdly, you should keep your mouth shut. Zhou Jiugeng's experience shows that you can talk yourself into trouble. Zhou said: "Are real estate developers in the charity business? Of course not! So what would be the consequences? When the developer is only interested in getting cash immediately, some buildings will be unfinished when the prices drop. The developer will not pay people to buy apartments and lose money during the process!" That was how he came to the attention of netizens, who ran a human flesh search on him. When you know that the people worry about real estate right now, why do you want to saying something controversial? If the matter blows up, how will you clean it up?
A supporter of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday pulled off KMT Legislator Chiu Yi’s (邱毅) hairpiece at the Control Yuan as the lawmaker was initiating impeachment proceedings against Judge Chou Chan-chun (周占春) for his decision to release Chen following his indictment on Friday.
Huang Yung-tien (黃永田) was then taken by police to Zhongzheng First Police District for questioning and was sent by police to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for further questioning three hours later.
Tsai Chin-lung (蔡金龍), a police officer, was quoted by the Central News Agency as saying that Huang denied he intended to pull Chiu’s hairpiece off and said it fell off because of the jostling of the crowd.
The wife of Huang Yung-tien said that they were in Taipei visiting friends. On the way past the Control Yuan, they were looking for a restroom when they spotted their "idol" Chiu Yi. Therefore, they went up to speak to their idol. But they were surrounded by a bunch of police and some jostling occurred during which Chiu Yi's hairpiece came off. They did not anticipate this outcome, and it was unintentional.
Here is Huang Yung-tien being interviewed after being released on a bail of NT$15,000. He says that it was accidental, and he blamed Chiu Yi for not telling him about the hairpiece beforehand (so that he would not grab it).
Democratic Progressive Party legislator Wang Sing Nan is the maternal uncle of Huang Yung-nan. He said: "It can absolutely be said that this was not an impulsive act. It has been brewing for a long time. Even since Hsu Jung-shu said that Chiu Yu was wearing a wig, many people have said that someone should rip his hairpiece off to show his true appearance to the people."
Wang directly contradicted his nephew who said: "We wanted to get a photograph. It would be normal to hold him. When the police came to pull me away, I reached for something and I touched him. That was what happened.
The following is the television clip. Chiu Yi was standing in front of the Control Yuan entrance. Huang Yung-tien was approaching from behind with his eyes focused on the hairpiece of Chiu Yi. He looked for a long time so that he was even pouting. Then he breathed deeply and inched closer. While the people chanted slogans, Huang quickly snatched Chiu's hairpiece.
Democratic Progressive Party member Su Tseng-chang wrote on this blog: "To make fun of someone about his baldness is like making fun of people because of their height and weight. It is wrong ... we don't have to like Chiu Yi. We can criticize his character and style. We can criticize his inaccurate information. But we should not attack him for his baldness, and we should not be yanking his hairpiece off."
(Hong Kong Economic Journal)
According to the information, the board of directors met on December 3 and approved the appointment of Linus Cheung as the chairman. But on December 4, ATV announced his appointment alongside Ricky Wong as the Chief Executive Officer. The major shareholder Payson Cha was aware of Wong's appointment but the other shareholders such as ABN and Liu Changle were unaware.
At the next regular board meeting on December 10, the directors got the chance to discuss the appointment of Ricky Wong as CEO. By that time, many things have already happened, including the collective resignations of four senior managers, the layoff of workers and Ricky Wong stating that he does not want to be "CCTV channel 10." On that day, there was fireworks at the board meeting which lasted four hours.
On December 13, Ricky Wong openly questioned the physique of the Miss Asia winners, and the board of directors became very uneasy. Yesterday, ATV chairman unilaterally said that he has accepted the resignation of Ricky Wong, who said later in the evening that "he has not resigned."
According to information, tomorrow is the next regular board meeting. It is expected that ATV chairman Linus Cheung will explain the Ricky Wong incident afterwards.
(EastWeek; no link)
In 12 days at ATV, Ricky Wong committed four misdeeds.
(1) Ricky Wong went around the Human Resources Department and sent email notices to the employees for three "Table for Ten" meetings to hold direct dialogues. He wrote in the email: "I sincerely want to use a direct approach to understand the problems at ATV I encourage ATV employees to speak directly to me. Please register with my assistant Jelly. According to one ATV employee, "He said that he wanted to break bureaucratic practice and hold direct dialogue with the employees. But he clearly wants people from different departments to stab each other in the back. How many people will tell him what they really think? Everybody is scared that they won't be able to destroy others but instead they will destroy themselves!"
The meetings with the workers were later posted on the Internet. According to an ATV source, "Ricky Wong said that he wanted to make sure that those who did not attend can watch the meetings too. So he ordered the video of the second meeting be posted on the Internet. Someone reminded him that this was an internal meeting and that Linus Cheung might have said something that borders on libel. As such, this could have been released on the company intranet. However, Ricky Wong was adamant."
In the video, Linus Cheung began by saying that ATV is losing HKD 1 million a day, or more than HKD 300 million per year. Therefore ATV must reform.
"If we don't reform, we will lose our jobs. We cannot depend on the Chinese government, or else we become Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po. They lack public trust in Hong Kong." Linus Cheung said.
Ricky Wong followed next with a tirade on ATV: "I have never seen an organization that operates so poorly and has neither culture, goals nor communication. It is so bad. I can fix this with just 10% or 20% of my several decades of experience."
He emphasized that ATV does not want to become a red CCTV. "It is a dead end to work for the mainland blokes. This is not the strength of ATV. We cannot be compared with mainland television stations on resources and cultural backgrounds." He wanted to target a middle-class audience: "There is no way to compete with TVB, unless I buy them out! We don't have the resources to produce serial drama, so we will not go after that audience."
An informed source said: "The next day, the newspaper reported that he showed contempt about the 'mainland blokes.' As soon as the word got out, certain Chinese-capital companies got upset. Someone quickly yanked the video, excised the sensitive portions and reloaded it."
Ricky Wong paid each worker who spoke up HKD 200. When one of them asked what the new management expected them to do, Ricky Wong upped the reward to HKD 500. "Do you think money buys everything? His behavior was repulsive." One worker said.
(2) The most disturbing thing to the ATV workers was that Ricky Wong brought in five women who knew nothing about television operations. Maggie, Amanda, Elsa, Jelly and Jessica all came over from City Telecom where they worked in marketing, purchasing overseas programs, buying equipment and cost control. In the new organization chart at ATV, they rank just below Linus Cheung and Ricky Wong and higher than even the Operations President. "At the first meeting with the management team, Ricky Wong lined them up in a row and introduced them. He said: 'These five people represent me. Whatever they say is what I say. If they want you to do something, then it is my wish. You must do it!'" The five people have no specific job functions, but any one of t hem can order anyone to do anything.
Since the five knew nothing about television operations, they caused chaos. The workers there have nicked them the "Five Fuwas." Whenever Ricky Wong holds a meeting, the five are always present. "They will jot down notes and they will question the managers on behalf of Ricky. They were like five Ricky's challenging the managers. At each meeting, Ricky will praised how the five have worked hard to help him and how they understand what he wants. Everybody is appalled."
Among the five women, Elsa is considered the bitchiest. "She was like a housekeeper who wants to meddle in everything. If you tell her something is impossible, she will say: 'Then I will tell Mr. Wong that you said that you can't do it.' The paychecks require her signature. She said that all the previous articles in the contracts are going to be voided. The Human Resources Department told her that all 900 plus employees won't be paid in that case. Then she signed. And she goes to the production department to tell them that their work is poor."
(3) After Linus Cheung and Ricky Wong took charge, they said that they won't produce any more serial drama. They also called a stop to all new productions after December 4 in order to save money. By next year, there may be no programs left to snow. When ATV has no good programs, there is nothing the sales people can sell.
According to an informed source, Ricky Wong also ordered the sales people to refuse mainland advertising. "He told the sales people to get Hong Kong advertisements. The sales manager told asked me whether to accept a mainland advertisement worth several dozen million. Ricky said, 'Not unless that client change the name of the brand!'"
In order to avoid head-on competition against TVB, Ricky Wong said during the press conference that he wanted to go after niche audiences. But television veteran did not think that this was feasible. "First, there are already so many pay cable/satellite television channels showing all sorts of programs. If you want to be cheap and buy some lousy programs, why should I watch you? Secondly, the government gives you a license to operate an over-the-air television channel for the masses. Why are you running niche programs? Is that acceptable to the government?"
(4) The image of Ricky Wong suffered even more when he met with several Miss Asia winners. He flippantly asked Bonnie Yuen: "Are your tits fake?" Then he flippant made fun of Miss Asia runner-up Belinda Yan for having "tiny tits." Those present were stunned.
It has now been pointed out that four-place Miss Asia finisher Belina Yuen had previously participated in another ATV pageant in 2001. Back then, she measured 32-22-35. Today, she measures 35-23.5-34. In 2001, she was booted out after appearing in a PENTHOUSE front cover.
Since there are two explicit explanations as yet from Ricky Wong or Linus Cheung, here are the divergent speculations in the press.
(South China Morning Post) Ricky Wong denies resigning ATV post. Ng Kang-chung. December 16, 2008.
At his inaugural press conference after becoming chief executive, Mr Wong said that as a Hong Kong person he only knew how to run ATV as a local station, and he would not run it like the mainland's state-run China Central Television (CCTV). This reportedly prompted some mainland advertisers to pull their commercials.
At a staff meeting last week, a video-recording of which was posted on YouTube, Mr Cheung said ATV's news treatment should not be like that of Beijing-backed newspapers such as Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao.
Mr Wong also reportedly planned to reform the way the station would handle news, making it more colourful and sensational, a move some news staff at the station described as being "demoralising".
A senior source from ATV said last night Mr Cheung's remarks about the Beijing-friendly newspapers' credibility drew an angry response from the mainland authorities, who demanded an apology. The source said this had sparked a row between the two men. ATV's board would deal with the situation in the next few days. During separate internal meetings, Mr Wong was also said to have told staff that ATV's digital platform should drop CCTV's international Chinese channel.
According to information, Beijing directly ordered the Cha family to dismiss Ricky Wong. This incident showed that Beijing was extremely displeased with Rick Wong. According to people close to Beijing, the Cha family was able to control ATV with some help from Beijing because it gave the central government another propaganda channel. Although the Cha family wanted Wong to improve the financial situation of ATV, they would not dare deviate from the CCTV role. But Wong stated publicly that he does not want a CCTV channel, and this infuriated the central government.
On the other hand, as soon as Wong took charge at ATV, he began to meddle with the affairs of the news department. He emphasized that he does not news and he only cares about money. This infuriated the ATV workers. Even those people who supported reform thought that his heavy interference at the news department was improper and reflected their views to the company leaders. This is another reason why Wong was out of favor.
Mainland commercials account for 30% to 40% of ATV's revenue. But Wong Ricky said that he was a "typical Hong Kong person" who does not think that he needs anything from the mainland. This antagonistic attitude towards mainland advertisers caused the latter to be unhappy. Some mainland advertisers threatened to stop advertising at ATV. Certain mainland government mouthpieces such as Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po have told their reporters to boycott ATV until Ricky Wong leaves.
Federation of Trade Unions chief executive officer Wong Kwok-kin believes that Ricky Wong's fatal flaw was "running his mouth off": "You can refuse to become a CCTV. It does not matter, but there is no need for saying it out loud so publicly." He pointed out that as soon as Ricky Wong took charge, the news department leader resigned immediately: "It was a serious problem when you break the news department up."
Hong Kong Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho believes that Rick Wong is leaving for offending Beijing with his speeches. ATV has relied on the economic support from Beijing and it is the practice of Beijing to use money to interfere politically. So if Beijing used economic threats such as withholding advertisements to force ATV to maintain its political position, then the Cha family has to abandon Ricky Wong.
Linus Cheung's public statement was that there were big differences in opinion with Ricky Wong. Since Cheung did not elaborate on what the differences were, many speculations arose. A top broadcasting figure said that Cheung ousted Wong for saying on his first day at work that he does not want ATV to become a CCTV. Those words offended the mainland powers, which applied political and economic pressures. The other reason was that Wong took a look at the account books and felt discouraged at the terrible shape ATV is in.
But persons familiar with Beijing politics denied the theory about "pressure." This informed source said that the pro-China camp was unhappy about Wong's public call for "the people of Hong Kong to oppose the mainland." But so far they are still at the observation stage and there was no move to apply pressure immediately to get ATV shareholder Payson Cha to do anything.
A Hong Kong government official said privately that he received no clue beforehand and only learned about the storm from watching television. He said that everybody was astonished by what happened. The gossip was that the officials are most concerned whether the story will be presented as the powers being unhappy with Wong's CCTV statement and therefore had him purged.
Actually, there is another version going around yesterday, and it involves a case of sexual harassment. Last Friday, Ricky Wong met with the Miss Asia winners. It was reported that Wong asked the fourth place finisher Bonnie Yuen if her tits were real or fake 「你個波真定假」？ As a result, he was criticized inside and outside the company for sexual harassment. Since sexual harassment is a crime in Hong Kong, there may be further consequences.
At 3pm on December 15, 2008, I received a telephone call from the family of Guan Jian. At 12:32pm, a man claiming to be with the Hebei province Zhangjiakou city police department economic crime investigation squad used Guan Jian's mobile phone to call them. The man said that Guan Jian was taken away by Zhangjiakou police at 6pm on December 1 from the Jinjiang Star Hotel and is presently criminally detained by the Zhangjiakou police.
The man asked the family to bring some money and medicine over. When asked why, the man said that the medicine was for Guan Jian's coronary heart ailment, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, while the money was for improving Guan Jian's living conditions at the detention center.
Why was Guan Jian taken away? What crime did he commit? Why did they notify the family fourteen days later? The Zhangjiakou policeman refused to answer any of these questions.
At 5pm, I contacted the Zhangjiakou city police department economic crime investigation squad on behalf of my work unit. I asked about Guan Jian's present condition, the reason why he was detained and why they waited so long before informing the family. A police officer named Tian gave unfriendly answers such as "It is not convenient to say," "It was necessary for the case," "we informed Guan Jian's family at noon today."
At 8pm on December 15, Xinhua's Shanxi bureau issued: "The Shanxi provincial public security bureau learned that the missing Network News reporter Guan Jian was taken away on December 1 by Hebei province Zhangjiakou city police officers on suspicion of taking bribes."
When Beijing News called Su Hao on the night of December 14, Su said that he knew nothing about the disappearance of Guan Jian. After asking the relevant persons at the Taiyuan city public security bureau, Su said that there is a special case squad that is seeking the missing reporter through technical means. Su also said "a human life is invaluable and we will do our best to find the truth."
But just one day later, the Shanxi police turned from "actively looking" to ... they knew beforehand that the Zhangjiakou police was crossing borders to make an arrest. Isn't this a very quick turnaround?
After learning that Guan Jian was taken away by the Zhangjiakou police, our chief editor said something that comforted me.
He said, "First of all, we will not avoid anything. Although we don't know as yet why Guan Jian was taken away, we will continue to support Guan Jian. If Guan Jian really broke the law, then he will be punished by the law. But before everything is clear, he is still a good reporter for us. The unit is obliged to protect our reporters. I hope that the media colleagues in China will all stand up, pay attention to the case and report it in a fair and objective manner. We believe that black and white cannot be reversed, and that the rights and wrongs will eventually be known. The newspaper's legal counsel has been notified to proceed with us tomorrow morning to Zhangjiakou to find out what is going on."
A lot of media colleagues began to curse aloud when they learned that Guan Jian was taken away by the Zhangjiakou police. Regardless of anything else, the action of the Zhangjiakou police has seriously violated China's Criminal law with respect to the detention of criminal suspects. The main points of the law are:
1. When the police crosses border to arrest people, they must notify the local police and ask for assistance.
2. After a person is detained, the family or unit must be notified within 24 hours by either oral or written communication
3. When the arrest is to be effected elsewhere, permission is required from a public security bureau that is higher than the city level.
Someone also pointed out that a bribery case is to investigated by the procuratorate. So why is the Zhangjiakou police jumping in?
When they refuse to follow the law because "of the needs of the case," I don't know what kind of world I am living in. It is a scary thought ...
A China New colleague noted correctly: "He has been fucking detained for fourteen days already. How could he not be charged with taking a bribe?"
I thought that this statement realistically and deeply summarized the essence of the way our public security bureau works!
On December 16, I will be going to Zhangjiakou with my newspaper leader. We will discuss the reason for arrest with the local police. I really don't know how old Guan is coping after 14 days of detention.
"I am Ye XX, I like Lin XX, I want to go to bed with him." "The people in the Fourth and Fifth Grades are so full of themselves! If you bother me, I am going to chop you to death!!!!" Such are the contents at the Baidu forum for the Quanhai Elementary School of Shenzhen.
Netizens report that ever since 2006 to now, the Baidu forum of the Quanhai Elementary School of Shenzhen has been replete with tens of thousands of pornographic and violent posts. All those people who were discussed and mentioned in those posts are verifiably current or past students. The alacrity of these elementary school students astonished adult netizens. But it has just been revealed that the entire forum was created by a 34-year-old woodcraftsman named Chen.
Around November 24, there surfaced posts with titles such as <The Most Awesome Elementary School Forum In History> and <Shenzhen's Quanhai Elementary School Is Red Hot>. Although the titles are different, the content are basically the same. According to the posts, the Baidu forum for the Quanhai Elementary School has been filled with tens of thousands of posts with pornographic and/or violent content. Basically, the content at this forum was about "chopping people up," "fighting for females," "going to bed" and so on. The people named (such as Cai Xiaoshu, Zheng Yuying, Chen Zhiqi, Shen Bo, Zhao Xiaofu and so on) can be verified to be either current or past students.
On December 11, netizen "chengnwangmi" posted <The truth from the investigation of Shenzhen city Quanhai Elementary School student Cai Xiaoshu going to a tryst with her teacher at a hotel after a school examination> at the NetEase Current Affairs Forum. He claimed that the administrator of the Quanhai Elementary School Forum named Chen had courted Cai Xiaoshu but was rebuffed. Meanwhile during the National Holidays, Chen was caught stealing the panties of a young female from a Nanjing hotel in order to masturbate. As a result, Chen was fired from his job. So Chen sought revenge by applying to become the administrator of the Quanhai Elementary School forum and then fabricating this whole farce. Most of the posts there were made by Chen using sock puppet ID's and proxy IP addresses. After the police were informed, Chen erased the evidence.
At the same time, netizen "chengnwangmi" posted the detailed information about Chen, including his birthday, schooling and family background. Using human flesh search, netizens determined that he is a wood craftsman at a certain Shanghai company. Many netizens condemned Chen for his activities.
But the allegations of "chengnwangmi" also raised doubts. Netizens wondered: "When did Chen court Quanhai Elementary School student Cai?" Was it recently, or many years ago? If it was recently, why is a 34-year-old man chasing an elementary school student? Is that plausible? If it was many years ago, then why would Chen wait so many years before taking revenge on Cai? Could he have created such a huge storm on his own? Did any other elementary school students participate? More importantly, this obscene website has been operating for several years. Why didn't anyone pay attention? What is happening to our elementary school students?
(Reuters) Chinese reporter chasing corruption claims disappears. By Emma Graham-Harrison and Yu Le. December 15, 2008.
A Chinese newspaper reporter investigating a suspicious real estate deal has not been seen since hotel security tapes showed five men pushing him into a car two weeks ago, his son and a newspaper said on Monday.
The case appears to be the second in recent weeks involving journalists who colleagues said were targeted for probing graft in a part of north China rich in both coal and corruption claims.
Guan Jian, reporter for the small Network News (Wangluo Bao) paper, was seized from a hotel lobby in north China's Shanxi province on December 1 and forced into a waiting four-wheel drive.
Video footage from the Jinjiang Inn, published in the Beijing News, showed Guan in the lobby when the men arrived. He has not contacted his family since, his son told Reuters.
"His friends couldn't reach him, his colleagues couldn't either. At first we thought he had just gone on a reporting trip, but then after several days when he still wasn't in touch, we got worried," Guan Yufei said in a phone interview.
He traveled to Shanxi to look for his father, who was in the provincial capital,, investigating claims of illegal land-use by a real estate company with official connections.
The younger Guan came back with only tapes of the apparent kidnapping, but said he was hopeful his father was still alive. "We have basically confirmed that he has not had a 'mishap'," Guan told Reuters. He declined to say more for fear of jeopardizing the search for his father.
The Network News held a meeting to discuss Guan's disappearance and decided the best course of action was to work with local police to try to find him, a colleague told Reuters. Police in Taiyuan told Reuters that they were investigating the case, but declined to comment further.
Here are the photos from Beijing News (via Xinhua):
A man enters the hotel lobby
The main sits down in front of Guan Jian
Guan Jian is taken out of the hotel by five men
The five men put Guan Jian into a car and leaves.
On December 7, 2008, Guan Yufei went to the hotel and obtained the surveillance videotape. The tape showed that at 17:13 on December 1, 2008, Guan Jian was seated on a sofa at the corner of the hotel lobby. At 17:58, a man went up to Guan Jian, made a telephone call and walked away. One minute later, the man came back with four other men. They entered the lobby and surrounded Guan Jian, who was taken away out of the lobby and put into a silver-white Volkswagen Touareg car.
(Southern Metropolis Daily) The Taiyuan city public security bureau has just said that they were notified that the Zhangjiakou city police were the ones who took Guan Jian away. Guan Jian is suspected of taking bribes.
Just as I was beginning to enjoy <Boston Legal>, this serial drama announced that it has just shown its final episode ... more disappointing to me was the fact that the Chinese translation team collectively refused to create Chinese language sub-titles for the 12th and 13th episodes of the fifth season. The reason was that the two episodes attacked the Chinese people, which made it emotionally impossible for the translators to continue their work.
So one week after the final episode, there is still no translated version on the Internet. There is only a version without sub-titles, for which a netizen added this comment in English:
I am not sure how to explain this show to the Chinese people who live in China. The producer and writers of this show are liberals. They don't hate everybody (they don't hate Chinese), but they don't like anybody either. The best part of <Boston Legal> is to attack this imperfect world with legal drama. I am really sorry to hear this show went away on its own terms.
To a certain degree, I respect the decision by the translation team. I am also grateful to them for their translations of various American shows and movies. People have funny feelings. I believe that after five seasons of translating the show, they must have felt very close to the scriptwriters and directors. They are familiar with all the plots and words. Then all of a sudden they felt hurt by the attack on their own government. After so long, they thought that they were on the same team, but it turned out to be untrue.
When I first saw [famous female CCTV host] Chai Jing, I thought she was so familiar that she was my own kind. I wanted to go over and shake her hand. But as soon as I advanced, I realized that I knew her but she does not know me. In reality, I know her only through television, but there is no friendship between us. When an American drama has given us joy for so many years, we may be misled. In truth, <Boston Legal> has never created an episode for the Chinese audience. The scriptwriters and directors may not even be aware that they have a group of yellow-skinned fans on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
All the same, I was very surprised to hear that the translation team refused to translate the final two episodes of <Boston Legal>. The translation team (as well as spectators like myself) are self-made men twice over. First, we violated the protection of intellectual property rights and openly stole the programs of other persons. Secondly, we violated our own state laws because this American drama cannot theoretically be shown in China. But patriotism melds these two pieces together perfectly to achieve a peculiar identity: these ersatz products are also patriotic and therefore piracy becomes a minor action under the flag of patriotism. Meanwhile we all forget one point: why can't we watch American serial drama under normal circumstances?
The netizen comment says it well: The best part of <Boston Legal> is to attack this imperfect world with legal drama. Yes, the world is imperfect. I cannot install my own satellite television at home. I cannot watch American serial drama on any publicly available television channels. But I have my sub-title translation team. And I have the heroes who make video recordings in the United States and send them back to China so that the translation team can add sub-titles. This allowed me to watch the American serial drama in almost real-time fashion ...
When I learned that the translation team refused to translate those two episodes, my first reaction was to jump up and yell: "Objection!" But I did not get "Objection sustained!" from the court. In truth, I don't even have the right o say "Objection!" on a lot of things in my life. Thus seasons come and seasons go, and the year has just gone by.
(The Standard) Infotainment Looking Large. By Mary Ma. December 10, 2008.
There has been no lack of gossip flying around concerning Asia Television since the Cha family recruited "top whore" Linus Cheung Wing-lam and "price- killing superman" Ricky Wong Wai-kay to administer first aid to the red ink- bleeding private television station.
First, Wong, the owner of Hong Kong Broadband Network, was believed to have a hidden agenda to merge ATV and HKBN after nursing the free-to-air station back to financial health.
Within days, there was speculation that ATV's editorial direction would take a radical turn after several senior executives resigned under suspicious circumstances at the same time.
Will both Cheung and Wong bounce out of their ivory towers to join actors or news anchors on air from time to time? It is possible, given their personal flamboyant tendencies.
According to insiders, Cheung, as executive chairman, is responsible for overseeing the station on behalf of the Cha family, while Wong, as chief executive, is in charge of the day-to-day operations, with a clear mission to restore the station to the black.
Wong has already brought with him - from his own company - a team of beauties, talented in marketing and cost control, to help him fix what's been broken for a long time at ATV. It is going to be an horrendous task to rebuild the station. Will "top whore" and "superman" succeed in pulling off a stunning coup by converting ATV into a Ferrari-class station at the cost of only a Honda Accord?
(South China Morning Post) Ricky Wong resigns from Asia Television. By Lai Ying-kit. December 15, 2008.
High profile telecom executive Ricky Wong Wai-kay has resigned as chief executive of Asia Television — less than two weeks after his appointment to the position, the private broadcaster’s new chairman said on Monday afternoon.
Mr Wong’s resignation was announced by ATV’s executive chairman Linus Cheung Wing-lam, who appointed to his new role on December 4th, the same day that Mr Wong was appointed.
At the end of a press conference for the Miss Asia Beauty Pageant 2008 on Monday, Mr Cheung confirmed Mr Wong had earlier tendered his resignation and he had accepted it.
Mr Cheung declined to comment when asked whether Mr Wong’s resignation was related to different views over the handling of the pageant’s results — saying only that they found a “discrepancy” in their working styles.
“After days of co-operation, we have found that there is a considerable discrepancy between his working style [and mine],” Mr Cheung said. He did not elaborate further.
“It was I who recommended Mr Wong for the position of chief executive to the Cha family,” he said. “I feel deeply sorry about Mr Wong’s resignation,” added Mr Cheung, who was the former chief executive officer at Cable & Wireless HKT.
At around 10pm tonight, Rick Wong Wai-kay issued a statement: "Mr. Ricky Wong Wai-kay has not submitted a resignation so far; Mr. Ricky Wong Wai-kai has not received any notice from the board of directors requesting his resignation (even though this resignation does not exist).
Okay, so what are the reasons for his 'resignation'? That is a matter of considerable speculation.
(Ming Pao) First, there is the entertainment angle. Linus Cheung Wing-lam was holding a press conference about the Miss Asia beauty pageant when he mentioned that the resignation of Rick Wong Wai-kay was not over the handling of the event. Earlier, it was reported that when Wong met with Miss Asia, he asked whether her tits were real or fake. That was clearly very impolite.
Next, there is the political angle. When Ricky Wong and Linus Cheung held their first press conference more than a week ago, he said: "I am not familiar with the taste of mainlanders. Okay? If they want to turn this into a mainland television station, it is none of my business. I am not interested. I want to ... I am a thoroughly Hong Kong person. This is a television station for Hong Kong people. It is a very shameful thing for when Hong Kong people want to ask 'grandpa' for favors. Even if the north wants to provide support, I won't take it. I have been through even tougher times. I am not someone who gives up so easily. I am someone who does not like to admit to losing ... I am someone who has never admitted defeat. And I have never been defeated before."
Today, Kuomintang legislator Chiu Yi went down to the Control Yuan to lodge a complaint against judge Chou Chan-chun for releasing former Chen Shui-bian without bail. When he exited, he ran into a group of Bian supporters. One of those people managed to snatch Chiu Yi's hairpiece, so that his bald head was exposed. The attacker was quickly subdued by the police and taken away. The crowd booed the police and said: "How can the police do that! Why are you arresting him? Release him, release him!" It took a while before the police car could depart with their arrestee. According to information, the attacker is the president of the Tainan Friends of Bian, and he came to Taipei with Chiu Yi's itinerary on hand.
(TVBS) Chiu Yi said, "I found that this is the greatest mockery on democracy. I found it quite unbelievable." Will he sue? He said: "I am thinking about it, but I don't know who this person is. If he is just an ordinary citizen, then I can only say that the mightily corrupt Chen Shui-bian has been able to manipulate certain pathetic fools to rally for him. If it is the media report that he is an official with the Friends of Bian and he planned the action, then I will considering suing him."
(TVBS) The man told the police: "You can see that Chiu Yi is trying to sell out Taiwan. Taiwanese people must stand up bravely. The Taiwanese people must stand up bravely. Ah Bian has fallen Down. I cannot fall down."
(Xilu's Military Forum) December 12, 2008.
Another university professor has been taken away for counter-revolutionary activities!!! Yang Shiqun's blog post titled <A student accused me of being a counter-revolutionary> caused a storm on the Internet. Recently, another student informed the police that a professor has been spouting nonsense in class and possibly engaged in subversion. This incident occurred in Huai'an, Jiangsu province. The accused professor is Huaiyin Teachers School's Department of Chinese Language's Miao Zhenfu. The incident took place at Room 501 of the Combined Teaching Building on Wednesday, December 10. Miao Zhenfu discussed the case of Yang Shiqun and spoke up on Yang's behalf. Miao also criticized the government and the Communist Party. He raised his arm to praise certain counter-revolutionary viewpoints of Yang Shiqun. He did the same during both class sessions that he taught. At the time, a student recorded his lecture on a mobile phone. In the afternoon, the student reported to the police and provided the recording! Since the recording contained such very reactionary speech, Miao is suspected of subverting the state. In the afternoon of December 10, the police came to the school to fetch Miao Zhenfu and took him away!
(Cat898) December 14, 2008.
Because of the widespread rumors on the Internet, I make the following declarations:
1. The Internet story about my situation was fiction written by individual students and people delighting in my misfortunes. I did not promote counter-revolutionary ideas and I was not taken away by the police.
2. I did express my views about teacher Yang Shiqun. But my main point was to discuss the unique thinking processes of individual students and their scary logical judgments. As for the counter-revolutionary stuff, that is all fictional.
3. I am truly grateful for the sympathy and concern from my friends, relatives, students, the media and the many netizens! I am very angry that certain websites released information without verification. I condemn them strongly and I hope that these websites can delete those posts on a timely basis in order not to mislead people.
Once again, I thank my friends, relatives, student and media friends for their concern.
December 14, 2008
(Reuters) Dozens injured in Hong Kong from dropped acid. December 14, 2008.
Dozens of people in Hong Kong were hurt after two bottles containing an acidic liquid were dropped from a building into a busy commercial district on Saturday, said the police, which are investigating whether the act was intentional. The 750 ml bottles containing an acidic and corrosive liquid exploded after hitting the ground, causing injuries and burns to 46 people, some of whom had to be treated in hospital before being released, a police spokeswoman said.
(Japan Today) 'Change' voted Japan's character of the year. December 13, 2008.
变, which means ‘‘change’’ in English, has been chosen as the single best kanji to characterize the year 2008, a Kyoto-based kanji promotion organization said Friday. The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation said it received a total of 111,208 entries for its poll to select the single best kanji reflecting society in 2008.
(Hungry For Words) Words of the year 2007: fake.
This year's kanji character of the year in Japan, as selected by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation in Kyoto, is the one pictured here. Read as 偽, it means "fake" or "lie". It was a year of fakery and lying in Japan, lead by several incidents of food companies using out-of-date ingredients and faking labels, embezzlement scandals, faked up reports on TV, and the like.
Here is the Chinese spoof version from blogger Hecaitou:
On December 13, 2008, the result of the annual national "Word of the Year" competition was announced. This year, the "Word of the Year" activity is organized by the China Hanzi Aesthetics Association. Out of 91,251 Hanzi characters, 2,937 received nominations from around the country. The top vote-getter received 5,713,855 valid votes. It is 亂, which means "chaos." According to the organizers' spokesperson, nothing in 2008 happened as expected, so that everything was like a rollercoaster ride: the snowstorm-interrupted Lunar New Year, the unforgettable earthquake, the bumpy sports meet and now a global economic crisis.
On December 19, 2007, the result for the annual national "Word of the Year" competition was announced. This year, the "Word of the Year" activity is organized by the China Hanzi Aesthetics Association. Out of 91,251 Hanzi characters, 3,484 received nominations from around the country. The top vote-getter with 35,114,755 valid votes is 漲, which means "rise." According to the organizers' spokesperson, 2007 was a year in which prices for goods rose, housing prices rose, gas prices rose, the stock markets rose, everything rose until people got dizzy and afraid.
On December 12, 2006, the result for the annual national "Word of the Year" competition was announced. This year, the "Word of the Year" activity is organized by the China Hanzi Aesthetics Association. Out of 91,251 Hanzi characters, 3,427 received nominations from around the country. The top vote-getter with 2,792,845 valid votes is 操, which means a number of things but is actually most frequently used nowadays as the homonym for a very rude curse word. According to the organizers' spokesperson, the series of remarkable incidents this year such as The Bloody Steam Bun Incident, The Bronze Moustache Affair, The Tsunami Gate Affair, The Real Name Internet Registration, The Sex Video Tape and the Rao Ying Sex Diaries caused people to share the same feelings.
- Daily Telegraph hoaxed by spoof "character of the year" story Joel Martinsen, Danwei
- 向英国《每日电讯报》致歉 槽边往事
On December 9, there was an election in Longmen village, Han city, Shaanxi province. The candidates for village committee were Wang Wenxuan and another villager named Yang. In the end, Wang Wenxuan won the election. Afterwards, Wang Wenxuan carried out his election platform as promised.
Before the election, Wang Wenxuan had promised to turn Longmen village into the number one village in all of Han city, through economic developments such as the establishment of a coal-washing factory to provide employment and so on. More concretely, he promised that he will prepay the villagers for the anticipated wealth over the next three years. Specifically, each village resident was to receive 5,000 yuan for the first year, 5,000 yuan for the second year and 10,000 yuan for the third year. "In order for the villagers to become wealthy quicker, I will prepay 20,000 yuan to each villager out of my own pocket. Then everybody can use that money to make more money." On the morning of December 9, Wang Wenxuan sent a copy of his campaign promises to each village home.
Wang Wenxuan is 50 years old. He is a well-known private entrepreneur in Han city. Since he is very wealthy already, why did he bother to run in an election? According to a worker at the village committee, Wang Wenxuan wanted to make the whole village wealthy. In a flyer, Wang wrote: "I have my own business and there is no need for me to get this tough job. So why do I want to run for election? Because my business was able to develop thanks to the support of my hometown folks, to whom I have yet to repay ... Personal wealth is wealth, for prosperity occurs only when the entire village is wealthy ... A person should know how to give thanks and realize his values ..."
On the day after the election, Wang Wenxuan fulfilled his promise by bringing 13 million yuan out and giving 20,000 yuan to each village resident (regardless of age).
Some people thought that this was a form of sensationalistic vote-buying. So did the losing candidate named Yang complain? On the evening before the election, Yang had sent a copy of his own campaign promises to each village home. Yang promised that the villagers would earn 5,000 yuan the first year, 10,000 yuan the second year and 15,000 yuan the third year, for a total of 30,000 yuan. The villagers thought that Wang's upfront cash and the details of his proposals for the future were more attractive.
The prosecutors have requested the most severe penalties for former president Chen Shui-bian and his wife. Do you find it acceptable?
23%: No opinion
Do you believe that Chen Shui-bian is clean and did not engage in graft?
77%: Do not believe
13%: No opinion
(the other column of numbers was recorded one month ago when Chen Shui-bian was detained)
Yesterday, Deyang city citizen Mr. Chen reported that the Mianzhu city people's government website has a link to a pornographic website. According to Mr. Chen, he entered the Mianzhu city government website and proceeded to the link to Qitian website (www.mzqitian.com). In front of him popped up photos of nude women which were "very pornographic." The accompanying text was in Japanese. The links to other towns were normal though.
The reporter contacted the department in charge of website administration for Mianzhu city. The reply was: "I don't know why this is happening. I will contact the town government to see what is going on." When the reporter called back again, the response was: "The town government's domain registration had expired. Because they did not renew, the domain was taken over by a pornographic website."
When the reporter went back to check the Mianzhu city website, the link to Qitian town was deleted. But the Qitian link continued to link to the same Japanese pornographic website. According to information, the Qitian town government is "dealing with the case right now."
For memory's sake, here is the screen capture:
(Boxun) Beijing Secret: Hu Jintao Personally Ordered The Arrest of Liu Xiaobo. December 11, 2008.
According to Beijing insider information, Hu Jintao personally ordered the arrest of Liu Xiaobo this time.
Hu Jintao thought that the vital point of Charter 08 lied in Article 18.
18. A Federated Republic. A democratic China should seek to act as a responsible major power contributing toward peace and development in the Asian Pacific region by approaching others in a spirit of equality and fairness. In Hong Kong and Macao, we should support the freedoms that already exist. With respect to Taiwan, we should declare our commitment to the principles of freedom and democracy and then, negotiating as equals, and ready to compromise, seek a formula for peaceful unification. We should approach disputes in the national-minority areas of China with an open mind, seeking ways to find a workable framework within which all ethnic and religious groups can flourish. We should aim ultimately at a federation of democratic communities of China.
Hu Jintao also thought that the vital part of article 18 was in the last sentence about building a federation of democratic communities in China under a democratic framework. This was no longer "dissident notions" about human rights and demcoracy. This was a big problem about splitting the country up! This is a serious problem of subverting the People's Republic of China and building a new nation -- The Federated Republic of China."
Hu Jintao made the conclusion: All those who signed Charter 08 have committed treason in fact! They need to dealt with seriously.
(Apple Daily) Hu Jintao ordered the arrest of Liu Xiaobo. December 12, 2008.
According to information from Beijing, the arrest of one of the initiators of Charter 08, Liu Xiaobo, was personally ordered by Chinese Communist Party Secretary-general Hu Jintao. According to information, this was connected to the proposal of "building a Federated Republic of China" that was considered to be dividing the country up.
(Boxun) Rebutting "Beijing Secret: Hu Jintao Personally Ordered The Arrest of Liu Xiaobo." By Hu Ping. December 12, 2008.
On December 11, Boxun published an article titled "Beijing Secret: Hu Jintao Personally Ordered The Arrest of Liu Xiaobo." This is a strange essay because there isn't even an author.
Is this insider information reliable? (I think it is false.)
(Yangzi's blog) Why Aren't People Supporting Charter 08?
As soon as Charter 08 came out, it was reported that people connected with it have been arrested. I express extreme anger and condemn strongly the violation of human rights by the Chinese Communist authorities, who should release the arrestees as quickly as possible.
While I offer my strongest support to the people connected to Charter 08, I express contemptuous contempt for the content of the charter.
I had immediately criticized the Charter 08. I pointed out precisely that article 18 of Charter 08 was advocating a Republic of Greater Tibet, and that is the reason why the Tibetan version of FLG Woerser signed it.
Article 18 is the big reason why mainland and overseas Chinese are not supporting Charter 08. So far, very few overseas people have signed the Charter. The idiotic Chinese democracy elite think that selling out territory to the Dalai Lama will get his magical blessing. Instead, they find themselves being opposed by the Chinese people.
Some Internet idler read my essay and made up the fake news story <Beijing Secret: Hu Jintao Personally Ordered The Arrest of Liu Xiaobo." That idiot editor at Boxun believe it and published it like as if a treasure had been found. This caused the democracy movement elite member Hu Ping to come out and comment too. What a mess!
In summary, Charter 08 advocated certain good things but it is naturally flawed and is destined to be relegated to become garbage. If the best from the Chinese rightwing elite is this stuff, then democracy will never come to China with advocates like them.
(Xinhua) Chinese president underscores international cooperation on human rights. December 12, 2008.
Chinese President Hu Jintao has vowed the Chinese people will, as always, work together with the international community to promote healthy development of the human rights cause in the world. Hu made the remarks in a letter to the China Society for Human Rights Studies on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the publication of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
He said China will strengthen international cooperation, as it has always done, in the human rights field to make its due contribution to the building of a harmonious world featuring lasting peace and common prosperity. China, however, will base its human rights development on the basic situation of the country while acknowledging the universal value of human rights, Hu said in the letter. The country will prioritize people's rights to existence and development in its socialist modernization drive and ensure, in accordance with law, the equal rights to participation and development of all society members, Hu said, stressing the principle of "people first".
Citing the enshrinement of human rights in the Constitution, Hu said the country has recorded a new chapter of human rights development since the founding of New China and especially since the reform and opening-up 30 years ago, which has been witnessed by the whole world.
[ESWN Comment: To make this clear, I believe that the Hu Jintao angle is a fake story. The purpose of these translations here iis to trace the path of this meme. It began with a blog post in which someone pointed out that article 18 of Charter 08 may be taken to support secessionism. Then someone made up a story about Hu Jintao being upset at this apparent secessionism and posted it at Boxun, which has a known policy of not verifying its stories. The story was then picked up by a mainstream newspaper Apple Daily and you should read how deftly Hu Jintao was named in the title and a scowling photo was included, but the story could only cite 'information from Beijing.' So far the western media have not picked this up.
Why am I so sure that this is a fake story? Just consider the circumstances. Before we even begin, please remember: The penalty for leaking state secrets is DEATH. A very small number of people have firsthand knowledge of Hu Jintao's orders. One of these people decides to leak the information. What is the purpose? It may be to help Liu Xiaobo. To whom? The CIA, the New York Times and Amnesty International come to mind. If this person is leaking the information in order to help Liu Xiaobo, then it is a mistake to go to Boxun, where all information is automatically suspect.]
Background: Charter 08 Perry Link, New York Review of Books.
(Wang Xizhe's Blog)
Charter 08 is the accusation/judgment document used by the rightwing forces of China to oppose the Chinese Communist Party (and especially the "New China" created by Mao Zedong) based upon their values and historical views. After Charter 08 is published, the usual path for the model of "Color Revolution" of the 20th century would be to hope for the emergence of a Gorbachev or Yeltsin from within the Communist Party to accept these accusations and judgments against the Chinese Communist Party and use the existing centralized power apparatus of the Chinese Communist Party to carry out the verdict by force, implement a rightwing "democratization" and send the Chinese Communist Party and their "New China" into their graves. Will "democracy" arrive then? No! They will then exercise rightwing dictatorship over the "pro-Communist," "Communist-friendlies," "fifty cent gangs" and other dregs of the Chinese Communist Party.
Does the Chinese rightwing have the right to issue an accusation/judgment document against the "New China" of the Chinese Communist Party? Yes. Absolutely yes. It is their natural right. Any oppression, ban and oppression against them is wrong, and we would resolutely oppose any such action.
But the Chinese rightwing does not have the right to take their values and historical viewpoints to represent those of all the Chinese people. They even pretend that these are the viewpoints of all mankind. They pretend that these are "universal values" of all mankind in order to intimidate and scare other people.
Why? Because any accusation/judgment made by the Chinese rightwing against the "New China" of the Chinese Communist Party is like any particular matter in that there will always be disagreement among the people. It is not the opinion of all of the people of China; it is merely the opinion of the Chinese rightwing. There are other kinds of public opinions in China, such as the leftwing or the pan-left. These other public opinions will have different degrees of criticisms, discontent, anger or even verdict about the history of the "New China" of the Chinese Communist Party based upon their own feelings and class interests. They will not fully negate everything. The rightwing always bring up the land reform, the anti-rightist campaign, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and other "crimes" of the Chinese Communist Party, but the mainstream opinion of the leftwing will affirm these events. The reason is that the whole world can see how grand China has become, and the accumulated capital of the Mao Zedong era laid down that foundation through the hard work of the people. You can criticize Mao Zedong, but you cannot completely negate Mao Zedong.
In order to beat back the Chinese rightwing pretending to represent Chinese opinion and even "universal values" through their accusation/judgment document, the Chinese leftwing should bring out their own socialist version of Charter 08. Similarly, this is their natural right. Likewise, it is wrong to suppress, persecute, insult or curse them.
Although the opinions of the Chinese leftwing have broad grassroots support, they are less powerful today compared to the Chinese rightwing. This is because they were totally devastated after the October 1976 incident. They are worse off than the Chinese rightwing which receives strong support from western nations. This puts the Chinese leftwing in a highly disadvantaged position with respect to the Chinese rightwing. It is precisely for this reason that the Chinese leftwing must stand up firmly, get organized, become a force and articulate its own voice. The world and the Chinese people must not hear only the rightwing voice pretending to be the voice of the Chinese people and all of "humankind." When the strengths and voices of the two sides are unbalanced, "democratization" can lead to fascism. What is fascism? It is a kind of "democracy" wherein the people are inflamed by extreme forces and living in a state of terror. Then a group of powerful people present their will to represent the "will of the people" and then proceed to oppress and persecute weaker groups until they achieve dictatorship. A democratic movement is not a fascist movement, but a fascist movement is definitely a "democratic" movement.
In the published documents of the rightwing elitists such as this Charter 08, they will not state their intention behind their "democracy" to dictate over the leftwing masses. On the contrary, they will say that their democratic republic is based upon "joint rule," "peaceful coexistence," and "peaceful handling of public affairs by having multiple interest groups, social groups, cultural groups and religious groups participate equally and fairly."
I used to believe in these kinds of colorful talk, but I don't anymore. When did I start disbelieving it? It began with the the start of the so-called "Taiwan democracy."
The Chinese rightwing elite keeps praising "Taiwan democracy" passionately. They keep telling people that "Taiwan democracy" is the "model" and "beacon" for mainland democracy.
So let us look at the "Taiwan democracy" that is the blueprint behind the elaborate Charter 08. Let us look at this "Taiwan democracy"!
The Taiwan independence movement, which is founded on local Minnan chauvinism, have always misrepresented their will as the will of the people of Taiwan, and their demand for Taiwan independence (and thus separation from China) is presented as "universal" "human rights. When the Kuomintang's "Gorbachev"/ /"Yeltsin" gave up authoritarianism and opened up democracy to them, did they "rule together and coexist peacefully" with mutual respect and fair competition under the same constitution? No!
After they seized power, they prettified the Japanese occupation and they used their "sense of tragedy" to incite hatred against "people from outside Taiwan" and "Chinese people," and they wanted to oust the "foreign political power" that came from China. After they seized power, they brought about green terror to chase away "Chinese people," they wanted to "reform the Chinese people," they wanted to destroy the dregs of the Kuomintang," and they wanted to "ban the foreign political power from China from reacquiring power"; all mass movements against corruption and abuse of power are just "mob rules". (please recall how the signers of Charter 08 praised the green terror at the time!)
When the greens lost out, "Taiwan democracy" went away along with them because they are the "democratic system" itself. They immediately declared that the Kuomintang authoritarian rule has returned. Yesterday, the same constitutional laws that they used to defend their hard-won political power, oppress the Red Army and send Shih Ming-teh to court now represent "a retreat in human rights" and "violation of human rights" in the hands of the ruling Kuomintang party. Because they represent public opinion in Taiwan, they declare that they have all rights (including methods of violence, bloodshed and "revolution") to overturn the restored Kuomintang political power. Since their party is "democratic," all the ugliest, world-shocking criminal acts of their leader are politicized such that he becomes a heroic figure. All investigations of those crimes are "political revenge" and "political purges." In the name of party loyalty and interests of Taiwan independence, all crimes are legitimized.
Such is the "beacon of democracy" and "model of democracy" behind the Charter 08 that the rightwing elite wants to promote! If such a "model of democracy" is transplanted to mainland China, is it so hard to imagine the destructive consequences?
It suffices just to bring out this example: As long as the Chinese rightwing never make any criticism of "Taiwan democracy," then they have not expressed any sincere intention to "rule together and co-exist peacefully." They have not show that they will accord equal respect for those leftwing masses such as the "pro-Communist," "Communist supporters" and "fifty-cent gangsters." Without that, the Chinese people can only use the example of the pan-greens trying to destroy the "Chinese power" of the Kuomintang and realizing their dictatorship under the current "Taiwan democracy." This is the right way to read their Charter 08 and understand their "transitional justice." You should remember not to believe all their fancy talk in the Charter 08 document.
Someone might rebut: "No matter how crazy the Taiwan independence green forces were, they lost the election in 2008 and they were ousted!"
That is because there is a "birdcage" sitting on top of "Taiwan democracy" under the joint de facto control of China and the United States of America. This caused the greens to be wary. Without the control by this "birdcage," the Kuomintang "Chinese restorationists" will have no chance to regain power. They probably couldn't even find burial grounds for themselves.
This means that the Taiwan model of democracy can still offer some good lessons. In a place where there are two large opposing classes/groups of masses, it will have to take a long time for democracy to be opened up. On top of this "democracy," there has to be "birdcage." If not, society will spin out of control, violence and civil war will ensure, and the eventual outcome that will be one side becomes a dictatorship over the other side.
"Taiwan democracy" can have a "birdcage" controlled by China and the United States. What kind of "birdcage" can mainland Chinese democracy have? The United States of America? Without even addressing the issue of national sovereignty, do you think that the United States of American can maintain a balance between the rightwing and leftwing masses in China? Impossible. So it seems that the "birdcage" of democratization in China can only be the "authoritarian rule" of the Chinese Communist Party. Perhaps this is a historically necessary "evil."
The Communist China today is no longer the Communist China of the era of Mao Zedong. Its mainstream rightwing faction has deep resonance and support from the capitalists and rightwing elite. But its historical origins and ruling interests, especially the presence of non-mainstream opposition, compels it to do its best to take care of the interests of the laborers, farmers and the leftwing forces. The changes in economic conditions have made it impossible for China to return to the Mao Zedong era. This means that the leftwing elements within the Communist Party will not be able to seize control of the central government again. The authoritarian rule of the Chinese Communist has this characteristic of having both rightism and leftism, which is precisely the requirement for developing a "birdcage" that balances the leftwing and rightwing forces in China.
I have become increasingly certain that the democratization of China will not come about in the way that the rightwing elite longed for -- namely, the emergence of a "Gorbachev" or "Yeltsin" from within the Communist Party to accept and promote their "constitution." It will not be realized by means of a rightwing violent revolution either. Rather, the development of economic and social conditions will force the Chinese Communists to expand the space of the "birdcage." As a result, the rightwing and leftwing political forces will grow up together naturally through interaction over the long term. During the process, the "birdcage" of "authoritarian rule" by the Chinese Communist will weaken and die off naturally. Through the long-term interaction, the rightwing and leftwing masses of China will get used to and respect each other through their long-term interaction, and be willing to achieve a genuinely fair and equal "joint rule and peaceful co-existence."
Today, the most important thing is for the Chinese leftwing to produce its own socialist version of Charter 08. A comparison against the rightwing charter will reveal the basic framework for two-party rule in China. The leftwing may not be strong enough this year, because the pan-leftists have not yet reached a consensus among themselves. This can wait until 2009 or 2010. It does not matter. But they need to develop as quickly as possible.
According to Ming Pao, the "nude flash mob" fashion has now reached Hong Kong, whereby cerain people take nude photos in public places for the thrill and excitement. Recently, someone uploaded ten photos of a female exposing her tits in public under broad daylight onto a popular Hong Kong discussion forum.
A Hong Kong Democratic Party district council Kwan Wing-yip filed a complaint with the police, which has referred the case to the Commercial Crime Unit for further investigation. Kwan said that the post appeared at an adult forum on Monday under the title "I took my wife out to the countryside." There were ten photos included, with the backgrounds being the Taipo Seaside Park, the Shuen Wan Freshwater Dam and the Taipo Industrial Village public parking lot. The woman pulled up her clothes to reveal her breasts for the photos.
Kwan Wing-yip said that he is concerned that this trend of taking nude pictures in public may become popular. "Previously, someone had take similar photos of people being totally nude the Shek Kip Mei subway platform." Therefore, he is bringing up the problem quickly so that the situation does not get out of control. He pointed out that some of the photos showed four-wheeled cycles in the background. This meant that these photos could be taken on a "children's holiday" and thus "could corrupt small children."
On the afternoon of December 10, Kwan Wing-yip went to file a complaint at the Taipo police station. The police said that the persons in the photo may have committed the crime of disorderly public conduct. Kwan has demanded that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department increase its patrol of public parks, although he acknowledges the impossibility of preventing all such actions.
The police spokesperson said that the case has been classified as "dissemination of indecent material" and has been assigned to the Commercial Crime Unit. The discussion forum has deleted the relevant comments and photos on the afternoon of December 10.
More than twenty days have passed. Under the joint pressure of more than one hundred retired senior government/party officials, generals and media workers as well as overseas public opinion, this matter appears to be fading away. According to a source close to Yanhuang Chunqiu: "It seemed that the authorities even saw that the action was inappropriate. Given that the reactions were so strong, they will probably back off. The friends of Yanhuang Chunqiu are not going to push the issue. But this is the first round. In the next round, they will continue to respond in kind. If the other side is soft, they will be soft; if the other side is hard, they will be hard."
This incident was triggered by the Central Publicity Department's Reading Group. This group used to be called the Censorship Gropu and was formed after the June 4th incident in 1989. For all the years since its founding, Yanhuang Chunqiu has been an important target for the reading group. For the long essay about Zhao Ziyang, the Reading Group wrote a crticial report that was sent to the members of the Politburo as well as a former member. This former member wrote a directive to sanction Yanhuang Chunqiu.
The task was delegated to the Ministry of Culture. On the afternoon of November 14, two leaders of the Yanhuang Cultural Research Associationi went to see the publisher Du Daozheng. The two sides were frank and open. The two leaders expressed the purpose of the Ministry of Culture to the effect that the 80-something-year-old Du Daozheng should voluntarily resign as publisher and legal representative. Du Daozheng responded that he understood the message and he responded.
First of all, the top management of Yanhuang Chunqiu consisted of six people. Du Daozheng and the deputy publisher Xu Kong are both over eighty. However, the actual work is done by middle-aged persons. Du was merely the helmsman who set the general direction of the magazine as well as exercising editorial judgments, while Xu assists him on these aspects. This particular management team has increased circulation by more than 10,000 issues in the year 2008. Therefore, there was no reason to reorganize the magazine.
Furthermore, Yanhuang Chunqiu is a private magazine that does not receive any state subsidies. Therefore, it does not have to abide any state policies with respect to the ages of the personnel. Even Party, government and military workers can continue to work beyond the stipulated age of retirement. At the sizeable and powerful Central Publicity Department's Reading Group, most of the readers are retired media workers. There are any number of other cases of non-state publications where the workers are older than the age of retirement.
Yanhuang Chunqiu has published 201 issues over 17 years and 4 months. It has received severe criticisms nine times: once for Zhao Ziyang, five times for Hu Yaobang, once for Xie Tao and socialism, once about the separation of the three branches of the government and the balance of power, and once for Mao Zedong's early life as written by Li Rui.
The retired senior officials, generals, media workers and cultural workers who back the magazine does not even think that the Ministry of Culture itself was in agreement about the directive on Yanhuang Chunqiu. Recently, there have been numerous positive stories about Lin Piao. So why can't people speak objectively about Zhao Ziyang?
People are treating Yanhuang Chunqiu as a standard. The strong reactions against this incident has given people a signal that the tide of democracy cannot be stopped. Surprisingly, this tide included not just the various sectors of society. But the views of Zhongnanhai about the rule of the party and the government and the concepts and methods of media management have also improved.
Related Link: Yanhuang Chunqiu and the News Commentary Group David Bandurski, China Media Project
The students at two elementary schools in Dongguan -- the Dongguan City Construction Elementary School and the Dongguan City Experimental Elementary School -- have their own forums at Baidu. Recently, the forum participants have been running a war of words. The words were often filthy, including terms such as BT ("pervert"), SB ("stupid cunt"), LJ ("trash"), 死仔("damned boy"), 贱种("bastard"), 扑街("go to hell") and so on.
As of December 10, the Dongguan Experimental Elementary School forum has 784 posts with 9,229 comments. The Dongguan Construction Elementary School has 320 posts with 4,005 comments. These included many abusive comments directed at the rival school, such as "Experimental Elementary School is trash," "Construction Elementary School is garbage" and so on.
When one school curses another out, the students from the other side counter-attack. Thus when someone posts "You Experimental Elementary School people are lousy," the comment may include "This must be coming from a Construction Elementary School piece of trash."
The war was probably started on June 20, 2007 when someone posted at the Dongguan Experimental Elementary School with the title <If you are from Experimental, you must go to the Construction Elementary School forum!" The post claimed that "they trashed us Experimental Elementary School people until we have no dignity left." The link to the Construction Elementary School forum was included.
At the same time, the reporter also noticed that there were other content materials which did not match the ages of elementary school students. For example, the forums contain terms such as 扎波("breast fondling"), 大佬("gang leader"), 大姐大("female boss"), 叫鸡("procuring a prostititue") and so on. Generally speaking, apart from the war of words between the students of the two schools, there were also love notes, comparisons of the looks of male and female students, recruiting into gangs and factions, etc.
On December 9, a mother of a Dongguan City Construction Elementary School second-year student said that the children sometimes don't even understand what they are saying. "They might have thought that it was fun. They watch what grown-ups do and they imitate ... When I encounter such a situation, I usually explain to my son. I told him that you may be having fun cursing someone's mother out. But when someone else curses you, they are talking about me!" She also found out that her son has a dual character. In front of the parents and teachers, he is well-behaved. Once outside, he is very naughty, and even more mature than this age. "I hear children cursing in the streets. My son is completely different in front of me and the teachers. I am still trying to figure out how to solve this problem.
A father of a Dongguan City Experimental Elementary School student said: "You should not think that children don't know much. They carry in their minds as much as grown-ups do. It is therefore no surprise that they use grown-up vocabulary."
In 2008, we searched for "Wenchuan earthquake." Everybody knew what was going to happen on August 8, 2008, but nobody knew before May 12, 2008 that there would be an earthquake. We experienced many things for the first time. For the first time, national flags were lowered to half mast. For the first time, we held a national day of mourning. For the first time, we saw so many people on the edge between life and death. For the dead, everything is over. For the living, witnessing the effect of the force of nature is the cruelest part. Faced with the sudden deaths, people rediscovered the value of life. Faces that had been numbed by the repetitious routine of life now felt the warmth of tears flowing down. A small city known as Beichuan vanished from the map, but the population in China continued to grow in size ...
The term "Wenchuan" was searched 200,000 times more often after May 12 than before. On the morning of May 13, there were 2,710,000 searches for "earthquake," 4,950,000 for "Wenchuan" and 3,820,000 for "Sichuan earthquake." The various portals and forums were plastered with appeals to look for relatives. This time, people were not just looking for information because they were searching specifically for relatives whom they have not heard from. Out there were these families with uncertain futures and the lives themselves.
In 2008, we searched for "Beijing Olympics." All the sorrows and hardship of the year seems to be waiting for the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At 8:08pm that evening, we received the long-awaited answer. Will the world admire us? Will our efforts over several decades finally be realized? Does this mean that we can finally say to the world: We can do it too! It took only one minute for the footsteps created by the fireworks to traverse Beijing. But we had already walked many years just for this moment. Beijing is a city with 10 million residents. But it is still far too small for the Olympics. Thus, we needed the power of the Internet to witness this historical moment, to learn to sing the Olympic theme song and to figure out why Liu Xiang withdrew from his race.
In 2008, we searched for "Sexy photo gate." A careless computer maintenance job exposed any number of carefree women along with a man. In this era of entertainment-to-death, we deplored the people who disseminated the photos and sympathized with the stars and artistes whose privacy was violated. At the same time, we could not help but snicker secretly, because this was the single most massive group exposure of stars. Usually, they stand under the aura created by the media and public relations companies. But everybody wants to see some genuine human character. So this is like a flock of peacocks opening their feathers on stage and enjoying the ebb and flow of flash bulbs going off. Suddenly, someone quietly turned the peacocks around and showed us their behinds. Thus, even the police statement about the 200 photos became a famous quotation: "I viewed every single one of the photos down at the police station, I shook my head and I said: No, these do not include the photo that I saw.'"
In 2008, we searched for "Sanlu milk powder." At first, people thought that the 30 yuan per bag milk powder was only affecting small babies in small and medium-sized cities and rural villages. Then everybody realized that the stuff was also in cakes, sugar, ice cream, mocha coffee and so on. We discovered that adding melamine in milk powder was an industry practice, with the only difference between whether to add the melamine into the milk powder or vice versa. Since we all live under the same roof, no one was spared. This raised the alarm, which hopefully made 2008 the year for food safety in China. People cannot live carefree until they know that their food is safe.
In 2008, we searched for "financial tsunami." Experts and scholars can use all the words in the dictionary, but they cannot explain clearly just why Americans buying houses with mortgages could cause a global economic crisis. When Wall Street sneezes, why should the entire nation of Iceland catch pneumonia and almost expire? There are so many new concepts to learn, financial derivative products, bank bailouts, sub-prime mortgage markets, the four investment banks, etc. The Wall Street bankers played deftly with the financial products and managed to spend the next 30 years of America away. Amidst this financial tsunami, the Chinese people saw the cold-hearted capitalist marketplace at work. They experienced the perils of liberal economics. At the same time, they saw the gulf. We cannot participate in the game passively. We have to actively participate and define the rules of the game, or else we will have no means of defense.
In 2008, we searched for "stocks," "stock disasters," "bear market" and other frightening terms which can be grouped under "stock market shake-up." After living through the bull market of 2007, if you are not a stock investor, then you should at least own some mutual funds. At the beginning of the year, many people optimistically expected the Shanghai stock exchange index to rise to 8,000 points. Ten months later, 8,000 points was indeed reached but that was for the Shenzhen stock exchange index. At a time when stock buyers propelled the market along while analysts kept saying that the bull market was not yet done, the stock market was already posting "bear warning" signs. When everybody tried to predict where the bottom of the market is, nobody really have a clue. Many people thought the bottom had been reached, except it continued to get worse. Many people thought that they had reached the floor, except that there turned out to be a basement underneath. How many more bubble bursts and how many heavy falls will it take to remind people not to lose their minds over money? Once upon a time, "mutual funds" and "won't sell even if I die" were prominent search terms. But now we have gone past "stay put," "hold steady," "cut off" and even "amputation." Do we sell or not?
In 2008, we searched for "Olympic torch relay." The attitudes of the people became fully unified after Jin Jing was assaulted. After watching the televised news, everybody reached the consensus: "We will use the torch to hit whoever tries to grab it!" At first, our attention was on the torch. Then we paid more attention to the Chinese people around the torch. The young overseas students defending the torch in London and Paris and the old men carrying the placard with "Hello, motherland!" i San Francisco were such moving figures that we could not hold back their tears. The torch was warm, and so is the word 'compatriot.' Behind the word is the same warm blood in all the bodies and the same feelings in all the hearts.
In 2008, we searched for "southern snow storms." The roads were frozen, the airports were shut down, the electric cables were snapped and the electric pylons were down right before the Lunar New Year came. During the Spring Festival, every Chinese person wants to go home. Millions of travelers were stranded in airports, train stations and bus depots. Hundreds and thousands of cars were stuck on the expressways. Dozens of cities became isolated islands when the electricity and communication systems failed. We searched for our home towns. We searched for travel information. It has never been harder to go home than this Lunar New Year. So many people wanted information that the major search engines provided maps that gave the latest weather and traffic conditions. A young man named Du Dengyong walked 100 kilometers on foot for three days and three nights to look for his girlfriend who was stuck in a car. He finally found her, but the romantic relationship was broken up later. The Lunar New Year of 2008 was not perfect. It snowed very hard during the Lunar New Year of 2008.
In 2008, we searched for "tiger photo gate." A mountain resident named Zhou Zhenglong claimed to have seen a south China tiger and thus began a farce that went on for most of the year. Netizens analyzed the photos and proved that this "tiger" was a two-dimensation figure. Then netizens came up with the calendar poster of the original "tiger." Even though the facts were clear and the proof was solid, there were many twists and turns before Zhou Zhenglong was finally arrested and charged. Even in court, Zhou Zhenglong did not reveal the truth as he insisted that he bore full responsibility just as he insisted that he saw the tiger. But how did he explain his PhotoShop skills to the judge? There is a persimmon tree at the house of Zhou Zhenglong. The continuous stream of reporters ate up all the fruits.
In 2008, we searched for the "Weng'an incident." The death of a young girl in this previously unheard of small city became known all over China, because it led to a mass incident involving several tens of thousands of people. Nobody knew what happened that night. Why were four young people chatting by a bridge in the middle of the night? Why the one young man begin to do push-ups on the bridge? Why did the young girl choose death? A young life was gone, leaving behind endless guesses. On the search engines, endless number of people persisted in ferreting out the truth. But the life has departed and only silence remains.
2008 may be over, but how many people cannot forget it? How many people want to start a new calendar as quickly as possible? After so many joys and sorrows, who can use a single phrase to summarize this year? Everything will be bygone. Spring will return, the flowers will bloom and the moon will be full. But in looking back, the tears hang on the smiling corner of the mouth as joy and sorrow mix with a sense of heaviness.
Related Link: Google’s Top Ten Lists for China Sky Canaves and Juliet Ye, China Journal (WSJ), December 11, 2008.
- December 1-10, 2008
- November 21-30, 2008
- November 11-20, 2008
- November 1-10, 2008
- October 21-31, 2008
- October 11-20, 2008
- October 1-10, 2008
- September 21-30, 2008
- September 11-20, 2008
- September 1-10, 2008
- August 21-31, 2008
- August 11-20, 2008
- August 1-10, 2008
- July 21-31, 2008
- July 11-20, 2008
- July 01-10, 2008
- June 21-30, 2008
- June 11-20, 2008
- June 01-10, 2008
- May 21-31, 2008
- May 11-20, 2008
- May 1-10, 2008
- April 21-30, 2008
- April 11-20, 2008
- April 1-10, 2008
- March 21-31, 2008
- March 11-20, 2008
- March 1-10, 2008
- February 21-29, 2008
- February 11-20, 2008
- February 1-10, 2008
- January 21-31, 2008
- January 11-20, 2008
- January 1-10, 2008
- December 21-31, 2007
- December 11-20, 2007
- December 1-10, 2007
- November 21-30, 2007
- November 11-20, 2007
- November 1-10, 2007
- October 21-31, 2007
- October 11-20, 2007
- October 1-10, 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- March 2007
- February 2007
- January 2007
- December 2006
- November 2006
- October 2006
- September 2006
- August 2006
- July 2006
- June 2006
- May 2006
- April 2006
- March 2006
- February 2006
- January 2006
- December 2005
- November 2005
- October 2005
- September 2005
- August 2005
- July 2005