Q1. How satisfied are you with the performance of President Ma Ying-jeou?
  5%: Very satisfied
28%: Somewhat satisfied
26%: Not very satisfied
25%: Very dissatisfied
22%: No opinion

Q2. The Democratic Progressive Party believes that President Ma Ying-jeou has been inadequate in his performance.  They propose to recall the President around May 20th.  Do you support the recall of President Ma?
18%: Yes
63%: No
19%: No opinion

Q3. If the Democratic Progressive Party were the ruling party, do you think that their governance would be better than the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party)?
15%: Yes
50%: No
14%: About the same
22%: No opinion

Bullog.cn is a group blog and its contributors include a number of very popular progressive bloggers such as Han Han, Lian Yue, Beifeng, Ran Yuanfei, Pro States In Flames, Chai Jing, Zhao Mu, Drunkpiano, etc.  Does the shutdown mean that they are now silenced?  Not at all.  Before Bullog.cn, these people were scattered all over the Chinese Internet.  Some of them were perennial nomads because they would use one blog service provider after another, moving on whenever they got banned but there will always be more options out there.  Bullog.cn was a place that tried to provide a home for all of them.  If bullog.cn is shut down, they will simply go back and seek shelter in other parts of the Chinese Internet.

But this is a nuisance for a reader such as myself.  ESWN readers will notice that I have translated/linked to the bullog.cn extensively in the past, and bullog.cn was a one-stop website for all those bloggers.  From now on, I will have to keep a list of who has moved to where.  Fortunately, the Chinese blogger Hecaitou has already compiled such a list.  He has titled that blog post as "More zheteng."  (Update: Another list at Gettao)

Indeed, that is correct because the shutdown of bullog.cn meets the three criteria for zheteng:

(1) If the authorities want to shut these people up, they should just arrest them.  Instead they only shut down their existing communication platform.  Therefore, this action does not accomplish the only meaningful purpose of shutting them up.
(2) The shutdown achieves no real effects, because these people will simply move on to other blog service providers and continue their blogging.  The only guarantee is that their next few blog posts will be about the shutdown of bullog.cn.
(3) The shutdown does cause physical and mental anguish among those involved (the bullog.cn operators, the bloggers and their readers). 

In other words, this is zheteng+.  I add a '+' here because this action has the addition effect of bringing the unreasonableness of the action to the attention of the Chinese and international communities.

I, Yuan Zhanxing, have done innumerable good and practical deeds for the people ever since I assumed my post three years ago.  I would like to say a couple of words about the flyers that have been going around the village recently.

1. I am the village party secretary who was unanimously elected by the Communist Party members of this village.  I did not appoint myself to this post.  During the current village mayoral election, my family interfered with the election process, and cursed people out on the main street.  It was my fault, and I ask for your forgiveness.

2. Concerning the tobacco-growing affair, I was going to be promoted up to the county if I was successful.  But I had an attack of conscience and I did not do it.  I will not insist again in the future, and I will not take a cut of the revenue.  The entire tobacco-growing budget will be given to the people.  Each mu of land set aside to grow tobacco will be compensated with 960 yuan.  Each mu of land that does not have grow maize will be compensated with 820 yuan.  The money can be claimed at my office.

3. Each student at the Dukang Elementary School was given 80 yuan by the government, but I and the school leaders had used the money for reasonable causes.  As of this school term, I promise that I will not collect any more fees.  The people should be reassured.

4. I used public funds to start a liquor factory, even though the factory production permit has been sold, the location has been moved and the place is illegal.  But I managed to hire a large number of physically handicapped people to work there.  Just like many other liquor factories here, my factory manufactured fake Dukang wine.  I ask you not to make any denunciations.

5. Concerning the Bairui Company cutting across the road to erect water pipes and the construction of the road from the east side of Lei Village to the liquor factory, the factor has given 150,000 yuan in cash plus a cooling system worth 80,000 yuan to the village.  When my liquor factory begins to make a profit, I will return every cent of the money back to the village.

6. The concrete road by the village was built by the sub-contractors using sub-standard cement.  It has nothing to do with me.  Also, I misappropriated the government subsidies belonging to the migrant Xin Wancheng, and I will try my best to make it up to him.

These are the words that come from the conscience of Yuan Zhanxing.  I hope that the masses will continue to watch over me.

Anyone who tears this letter off will die.

What are you most concerned with?
63%: Economic problems (56%)
31%: Social problems (35%)
  5%: Political problems (3%)

Satisfaction/dissatisfaction for ...
22%/47%: Economic condition (31%/34%)
35%/31%: Social condition (40%/27%))
29%/36%: Political condition (30%/33%)

Better/worse in the last three years ...
10%/75%: Economic condition (48%/35%)
19%/52%: Social condition (41%/31%)
25%/38%: Political condition (39%/28%)

Better/worse in three years' time ...
55%/18%: Economic condition (31%/36%)
43%/22%: Social condition (31%/31%)
36%/20%: Political condition (33%/24%)

(SCMP)  Beijing shows new signs of forcing media to toe line.  By Vivian Wu.  January 7, 2009.

Guangdong propaganda authorities ordered the popular Guangzhou Television media-watch programme News Eyes to remove its outspoken chief editor and anchorman, Chen Yang, last weekend, station sources said.

The sources at the Guangzhou TV station said they were ordered to "tighten news administration and reinforce positive propaganda" on Sunday and to reshuffle several programmes, including News Eyes.

Chen, who earned a reputation in Guangzhou for his sharp commentary on current affairs, was banned from any management role on the programme, possibly because of remarks he made on Saturday's show, the source said.

Responding to the vow that President Hu Jintao made in a speech commemorating the 30th anniversary of reform and opening up "not to fix things that are not broken", Chen suggested officials not make "unnecessary exertion but sincerely serve people in a down-to-earth way", the source said. The comments were interpreted as sarcastic.

A member of the News Eyes staff confirmed Chen had not anchored the show since Sunday but did not say why, or if he would return.

(Danwei)  Interpreting the wisdom of Hu Jintao.  By Joel Martinsen.  December 31, 2008.

President Hu Jintao's speech last week commemorating the 30th anniversary of China's reform era contained a number of quotable phrases, and the one that has received the most attention was the "three don'ts": 不动摇, 不懈怠, 不折腾. The China Daily translated this as "don't sway back and forth, relax our efforts or get sidetracked."

(Strait Times)  What is that again, Mr Hu?  By Peh Shing Huei.  December 31, 2008.

During a commemorative event to celebrate 30 years of China's reform and opening up policy on Dec 18, Mr Hu took a rare break from official speak and used a colloquial phrase. 

His words "bu zhe teng" - or do not "zhe teng" - drew audible gasps and laughter from audience in the Great Hall of the People. "Zhe teng" is a phrase popular among the people in northern China, but rarely, if ever, used by central government officials in a formal setting.

What does it mean in English? Here's the tricky part. It is one of those Chinese phrases that seem almost impossible to be neatly translated into English. 

Some foreign English media translated it as "don't flip flop", "don't get sidetracked", "don't sway back and forth" and "no major changes". 

Perhaps finding the task too cumbersome, the official Xinhua news agency left the phrase out of its English dispatches altogether.

The wordy "don't do something over and over again, and to little effect" seem to capture it best. Essentially, the phrase "zhe teng" has negative connotations and is usually used to refer to someone who keeps trying new things, but in a messy and disorientated way and with no useful final product to show.

The interest here is just how Chen Yang translated bu zheteng into Cantonese, and whether he deserves to be banned from the air as a result of his speech. (KDNet (deleted now))

(in translation)

This news report is scary: The international media are stumped by how to translate bu zheteng.  In commemoration of the 30 years of China's reform, Secretary-general Hu Jintao gave an important speech.  He said that as long as we don't sway back and forth, don't relax our efforts and bu zheteng, and we persist firmly down the path of socialism with unique Chinese characteristics, we will victoriously realize the grand blueprint and goals.  This phrase bu zheteng has stumped the expert translators of the Chinese and overseas media. 

How should bu zheteng be translated?  No matter how it is translated, it is still not quite right.  The term bu zheteng is hard enough to translate into Cantonese, never mind into putonghua.  This news story showed up on the Internet yesterday, and I spent a long time thinking about it.  We aren't that good with the English language, so we will try to translate it into the Cantonese dialect. 

What do you think it should be translated into?  Then I came up with a lousy solution.  You should not scold me yet, for I translated bu zheteng as "don't fry beans 不炒豆" in Cantonese.  Does "fry beans" mean something like zheteng?  This is definitely inaccurate, but it is at least better than coming up empty-handed.  If Secretary-general Hu Jintao found out that I translated it this way, he is definitely going to scold me.  But there is nothing that I can do. 

The State Council's Information Office has decided that this task is hopeless and they are just using the direct pinyin "bu zheteng".  But I feel that is a good thing, because this term has drawn the attention of many people on account of the impossibility of translation.  Bu zheteng may even eventually be included in the Oxford Dictionary so that we will have a deeper appreciation and yearning for the concept that we will do whatever needs to get done while the people bu zheteng.  In addition, the various levels of government officials also bu zheteng, so that they can serve the people sincerely and wholeheartedly.

Another possible translation of the term is "don't cause trouble 不搞事."  Just like bu zheteng, everybody puts their feet on firm ground, with the officials acting like officials should and the citizens acting like the citizens should.  We get things done and we bu zheteng.  If instead we decided to "fry beans" and "cause trouble," how can we get the reforms accomplished, especially during a financial crisis?  We definitely can't do it.

My own feeling is that none of the attempts at translating bu zheteng has worked.  This is because there are three factors underlying that term zheteng: (1) it serves no real purpose; (2) it achieves no real effects; (3) it causes physical and mental anguish among those involved.  "Don't flip-flop," "don't get sidetracked," "don't sway back and forth" and "no major changes" do not get to the third factor about "causing physical and mental anguish among those involved."

One good example about zheteng that I came up with is the name changes at Chunghwa Post.  According to Wikipedia:

In February 2007, ROC President Chen Shui-bian announced that the name of the postal service would be officially changed to Taiwan Post, with sign changes occurring at branches in Taiwan on February 12. [Note

In 2008, the Kuomintang took power in Taiwan following a landslide legislative election victory and the election of Ma Ying-jeou to the presidency.  On 1 August 2008, the company resolved to reverse the name change and restored the name "Chunghwa Post".

According to Taipei Times: The Taiwan Post Co (台灣郵政) said yesterday it would soon change its name back to Chunghwa Post (中華郵政), a measure expected to cost NT$8 million (US$260,000). The company changed its name from Chunghwa Post to Taiwan Post in February last year at a cost of around NT$12 million. Chunghwa Post vice president Su Tien-fu (蘇添富) said NT$8 million was only an estimate for the cost of the name change.  The bottom line may add up to less than that, Su said. “When we took the Chunghwa Post signs and billboards down last year, we put them in our storage just in case we might need them again,” Su said. “And to save all the trouble, we simply put ‘Taiwan Post’ stickers on top of the name ‘Chunghwa Post’” on smaller signs such as at ATMs. “Now, we only need to wash those billboards and tear off those stickers,” he said.

In the Chunghwa Post example, a lot of money was wasted that could be better spent, many postal workers wasted their time, Taiwan did not gain any more international recognition as a sovereign nation and Taiwan democracy gained a reputation for zheteng.

(The mother of all examples of zheteng is The Great Leap Forward: With no personal knowledge of metallurgy, Mao encouraged the establishment of small backyard steel furnaces in every commune and in each urban neighborhood. Huge efforts on the part of peasants and other workers were made to produce steel out of scrap metal. To fuel the furnaces the local environment was denuded of trees and wood taken from the doors and furniture of peasants' houses. Pots, pans, and other metal artifacts were requisitioned to supply the "scrap" for the furnaces so that the wildly optimistic production targets could be met. Many of the male agricultural workers were diverted from the harvest to help the iron production as were the workers at many factories, schools and even hospitals. Although the output consisted of low quality lumps of pig iron which was of negligible economic worth, Mao had a deep distrust of intellectuals and faith in the power of the mass mobilization of the peasants. Moreover, the experience of the intellectual classes following the Hundred Flowers Campaign silenced those aware of the folly of such a plan. According to his private doctor, Li Zhisui, Mao and his entourage visited traditional steel works in Manchuria in January 1959 where he found out that high quality steel could only be produced in large scale factories using reliable fuel such as coal. However, he decided not to order a halt to the backyard steel furnaces so as not to dampen the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses. The program was only quietly abandoned much later in that year.)

Here is the front page of Southern Metropolis Daily today.  Yesterday marked the closing of the Fourth Session of the Tenth Guangdong Provincial Party Congress.  Guangdong provincial party secretary Wang Yang analyzed the coming economic crises and opportunities that Guangdong will have to face this year.  Here is the money quote that made it onto the front page of Southern Metropolis Daily: 现在摆在我们面前的任务只有一个字,干!不干,那些目标措施形同虚设,半点价值也没有。("The mission in front of us is described by just one phrase: Do it!  If we don't do it, then all our goals and measures are empty and worthless.")

However, the message is less than clear if you just read the screaming headline from afar.  That is because the word 干 usually means something else in Chinese.  That something else is just like the verb "do" in English.  In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the 21st meaning of the transitive verb "do" is "to have sexual intercourse with."  An example is the title to this news story from Philadelphia: "I Did Her In The Shower."

In like manner, the Chinese word 干 means ... well, let the following painting from Wang Ning's blog says it all:

That is not the word to be associated with the protection of economic development in Guangdong.

[in translation]

The local governments have opened up communication channels with citizens.  Have you been able to get through?  This is the topic for the survey conducted jointly by <People's Daily> and the People Net website.  The survey showed that 96.8% of netizens said "No."  More than half of the netizens said that it was hard to get through to the telephone hotlines and that their mailed letters were like rocks that sink to the bottom of the ocean.

If these survey results are accurate, then it is a terrible thing.  Just imagine -- the local governments set up telephone hotlines to the mayor, build websites, assign public servants to man the windows of the petition office and expend a significant portion of the government's budget on all that, yet the results are negative according to almost 100% of the netizens!  More incomprehensible is the fact that it is hard to get through on the telephone lines.  That should mean that the hotline is very busy because many people are on the line talking.  Could it that those people who got through to the hotlines are not survey participants, or could it be that the hotline telephone operators just take the phones off the hook and not take calls?

This survey tabulated the usage of the various communication channels: 37.5% go directly in person to the relevant government departments; 25% call the telephone hotlines; 30% send email, post at government websites or send SMS; 4.5% use traditional postal mail.  But people could not get through by phone, their emails do not receive replies, posting at websites is treated as "unreliable Internet information," sending SMS is rumor mongering and mailed letters may never even be opened, the surest thing is to show up in person directly.  It is ironic that in an age where communication is so well-developed that so many people choose to show up in person.

What do these people show up for?  Regrettably, the survey does not address this issue.  Yet this is the question that I am most concerned about.  After reading about this survey, I remember the phrase that everybody is familiar with: "Do not add more trouble for the government."  The point is that it is not clear why these people show up at the government offices, even though this survey assumes that they are doing so for some reason.

Cambridge University lecturer Liu Yu had written on December 18, 2008 in Southern Weekend about needing to dispose her garbage after moving house.  She called the city government, which sent workers as scheduled.  When I read that, I thought that if we were to trouble the government over something this here, we would be condemned by public opinion.  If you don't believe me, please read the next two news stories.

In July 1008, a blind couple came down to the Neighborhood Committee's office in Aiguo district, Songren street, Hankou city and applied  to cancel their minimum living subsidy from the government on the grounds that "they don't want to add trouble for the government."  What kind of trouble were they adding for the government?  Previously, they lived on the 199.40 yuan per month income of the wife, and therefore they applied to receive 420 yuan in government subsidy.  But now the husband has gotten a 160 yuan per month in additional income.  "The family economic situation has improved."  The cadre with the Neighborhood Committee believed that this couple still has a very meager income.  Furthermore their daughter has been unable to find a job since graduating from university.  Therefore, this family should still be considered eligible for government subsidy.  However, the couple was adamant that "they do not want to add trouble for the government," and therefore their application had to be processed.  The reporter gave praise, "Master Luo's action showed that he is a master of himself and he has a good sense of self-reliance.  This admirable action is surely very moving to people."

The other news story comes from the Sichuan earthquake zone.  When the earthquake struck, it is the natural instinct to survive and it is only right that one should try to live.  But a victim told the reporter, "I want to help myself and not add trouble for the government."  When the crops get damaged, the victims go down to save the crops and they say, "We must try to salvage the damage and not add trouble for the government."

By comparison, a well-paid teacher who has suffered neither disaster nor ailment needs the government to dispose of her own garbage.  Shouldn't she be embarrassed?  But you should not under-estimate the effect of these little things in life irrespective of how the British dislike their own government.  When a Chinese person cannot move an old refrigerator or find a parking space, they would be too embarrassed to call the government telephone hotline.  But if we count these needs as well, then why would the aforementioned survey results look like?  "Do not add trouble to the government" may be more abstractly phrased as "do not add trouble for China" or more concretely phrased as "do not add more trouble for the leaders."  This is deeply ingrained in people's minds and requires no further proof.  Yet if everybody does not want to add trouble, then why do we even need a government for?  This is like the reader's comment to the newspaper chief editor: In order not to add trouble to you, I won't be reading your newspaper anymore.

Recently, a netizen posted a scanned form whose origins were not disclosed.  This is supposed to be the "commission prices during a certain month in year 2007 to be given to the deputy director of the Party Political Office of a certain development area in Ganzhou, Jianxi province."  For example, the first item is Hennessey KO, which came at list price of 840 yuan/bottle but vendor paid a commission of 252 yuan/bottle to the deputy director.  Basically, the commission rate ranged between 20% to 30%.  In total, 104,916 yuan was paid by the vendors and this included 30,097 yuan in commission to the deputy director.

When the list was published on the Internet, an uproar did not occur immediately.  While many netizens hated these leeches, they were also cautious because the origin of the form was unclear and therefore not credible.

One netizen wrote: "This is theft.  They are stealing from the pockets of every one of us.  They are stealing the hard-earned tax money from the taxpayers."  Another netizen said: "Why do they need so much alcohol?  One can imagine that they are eating and drinking merrily.  It is going too far to steal 30,000 yuan from a 100,000 yuan bill!  This must be thoroughly investigated!"  At a mainland forum, one netizen said: "A deputy director earns a maximum salary of 4,000 yuan per month, but he is getting ten times as much in kickbacks.  This is unbridled greed." 

But other netizens pointed out that this so-called list is of "unknown origins and the name of the deputy director and other details are missing (e.g. a 'certain development region."  So the possibility cannot be excluded that this was a sensationalistic smear.  It is noted that some of the Internet posts about "Kickback Gate" are being deleted.

This is quickly followed by another spreadsheet published at Zhao Mu's blog.  This is purported to be the 2009 public relations plan of the Xinao Liquid Gas Company in Liaocheng city, Shandong province. 

There are 212 target persons to whom a budget of 1,063,000 yuan was allocated.  Leading the list was the Liaocheng city party secretary Song Yuanfang who will be dealt with by the company's general manager Li Shilin.  78,000 yuan was budgeted for Song Yuanfang with these items: (1) personal visit four times a year, with 2,000 yuan for meals/gifts each time; (2) Mid-Autumn Festival and Spring Festival gifts, at 5,000 yuan per occasion; (3) 2009 group inspection trip at 50,000 yuan; (4) Unspecified maintenance for 10,000 yuan.  By comparison, the city mayor is budgeted only for 24,000 yuan, primarily because he does not get a group inspection trip.

Relevant Link Netizens Expose Shandong Company’s “Public Relations Maintenance” Budget  China Digital Times

According to the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, Section 10:

In determining whether an article is obscene or indecent or whether any matter publicly displayed is indecent, or in classifying an article, a Tribunal shall have regard to-

        (a) standards of morality, decency and propriety that are generally accepted by reasonable members of the community ...;
        (b) the dominant effect of an article or of matter as a whole;
        (c) in the case of an article, the persons or class of persons, or age groups of persons, to or amongst whom the article is, or is intended or is likely to be, published;
        (d) in the case of matter publicly displayed, the location where the matter is or is to be publicly displayed and the persons or class of persons, or age groups of persons likely to view such matter; and
        (e) whether the article or matter has an honest purpose or whether its content is merely camouflage designed to render acceptable any part of it.

In practice, if the Obscene Articles Tribunal wants to classify the Apple Daily report as indecent, the following reason might be given:

The article is entitled <Zhang Ziyi: Real life nude show>.  There are two photographs showing movie star Zhang Ziyi and her fiancé Vivi Nevo sunbathing on a beach.  The larger photo occupies half the page with the title <Fiancé sniff, squeeze, snatch and grab> and Zhang Ziyi is shown topless with half her right breast being revealed and her bikini bottom being half pulled down; Vivi Nevo is lying on his side with his left arm propping himself up and his right hand on the buttocks of Zhang Ziyi.  The smaller photo occupies about 1/8-th of the page and shows Zhang Ziyi in the process of taking off her bikini bra.

The Tribunal observes that Vivo Nevo's right hand is placed close to the genitalia of Zhang Ziyi in the larger photo.  Although the two people are not engaged in sexual intercourse nor are they preparing to do so, this photo with the suggesting title as well as the undressing act in the smaller photo convey the overall effect that the two individuals are engaged in sexual activity or about to do so.  This is in violation of the standards of morality, decency and propriety that are generally accepted by reasonable members of the community.  In consideration of the sizes of the photos and the choice of words in the titles, the Tribunal holds the opinion that this article is using the body of a female star to attract readers by satisfying their sexual curiosity.  There is no other real purpose otherwise.  As such, this article is not suitable for distribution to minors.

But of course, the Obscene Articles Tribunal may also want to classify this article as 'neither indecent nor obscene' with the following reasoning:

The Tribunal believes that the degree of nudity is extremely low and similar to ordinary bikini photographs.  Although it is not legal everywhere in the world for a female to lie down topless to sunbathe, this sort of activity is very common.  The two persons in the photographs are engaged to each other, and their activities do not constitute sexual activities.  Although the language in the titles is vulgar and it is used to sate the curiosity of readers about the sexual lives of celebrities, any common person should be able to tell the the titles do not match the photographs.  The overall effect of the article is similar to the photos of ordinary lovers engaged in intimacy at beaches.  Therefore, this article does not violate the standards of morality, decency and propriety of reasonable members of the community and does not harm any minors.

This is the type of open-ended essays where you can assume one position or the other without even seeing the photographs first, and then argue based your position using the same information as the other side.  Your "standard of morality, decency and propriety" may not be the same as mine, and we are all reasonable members of the community.

As a different exercise, try today's <Next Weekly> with the front page headers: "The whole nation is shocked and angered," "Full 81 lusty photos" and "Zhang Ziyi in trouble because of licentiousness."  If found to be "indecent," <Next Weekly> will probably be fined HKD 5,000 (~USD 700).  Meanwhile, this issue may sell several tens of thousands copies more than usual  (UPDATE: Upon information from an absolutely authoritative and trustworthy source, the print run of this issue remains at 136,000).



Hong Kong SAR government
42%: Trust
19%: Distrust

Beijing government
56%: Trust
14%: Distrust

Taiwan government
14%: Trust
45%: Distrust

Hong Kong's future
69%: Confidence
24%: No confidence

China's future
91%: Confidence
  6%: No confidence

"One country, two systems"
73%: Confidence
21%: No confidence

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou is a Harvard Law School graduate with a professed commitment to the rule of law. But two incidents during his first seven months in office are prompting unflattering comparisons with his Nationalist Party's dictatorial past and raising questions about Ma's ability to protect Taiwan's fragile democracy.

His apparent willingness to countenance his party's actions against opposition politicians is provoking stinging criticism of his administration, both at home and abroad. It is "reminiscent of Richard Nixon's behavior, as in ordering IRS investigations of groups he didn't like," said June Teufel Dreyer, a China-Taiwan expert at the University of Miami, in an e-mail response to questions. The IRS is the American tax agency.

No one suggests Ma wants to turn the clock back on free elections and other democratic reforms that swept the island starting in the mid-1980s. What worries some is the efforts by Nationalist lawmakers to pressure the Ministry of Justice into prosecuting former officials of the rival Democratic Progressive Party, including former President Chen Shui-bian.

Chen was indicted on Dec. 12 on charges of money laundering, looting a special presidential fund and taking bribes during his eight years in office. Few deny that there is probably substance to the allegations. The problem, the critics contend, is that Ma has failed to stop a campaign by lawmakers to keep Chen in jail pending trial.

Following his indictment, a three-judge panel from the Taipei District Court ordered him released on his own recognizance. Lead judge Chou Chan-chun said it was unlikely that Chen would attempt to flee before his trial.

Prosecutors initially accepted the decision but, following intense criticism from Nationalist lawmakers, they changed their mind and filed an appeal. On Dec. 18, the court rejected the appeal.

This provoked a new round of attacks led by Nationalist lawmaker Chiu Yi, who spent eight months in prison for leading violent protests against Chen's narrow re-election victory in 2004. "If Chou knows about shame, he should resign and let others handle the case," Chiu told reporters. "If he doesn't do so ... I will impeach him so that he loses his job."

On Dec. 25 the District Court took the unusual step of shifting Chen's case to a different three-judge panel, giving the lead role to Tsai Shou-hsun, who had acquitted Ma on graft charges of his own in 2007. Three days later, the new panel accepted the prosecution's argument that Chen was a flight risk and ordered him back to jail.

"The pressure from critics has been undisguised," The Apple Daily newspaper said in an editorial. "If a judge does not hand out a verdict according to their wishes, they ... besmirch his reputation. The judiciary should avoid considering political elements in a case."

Ma spokesman Wang Yu-chi denied any political intervention in Chen's case. Taipei District Court spokesman Huang Chun-ming said the decision to change judges was for efficiency, so that the same panel would handle the cases of both Chen and his wife, who also faces graft charges. Typically, though, his wife's case would have been moved to the judges hearing his case, since hers is a less important one.

Political scientist Wang Yeh-lih of Taipei's National Taiwan University said the most disturbing aspect of the Chen affair has been the readiness of Nationalist lawmakers to leak information from the investigation to allies in the media. He also blamed prosecutors, saying they "consistently violated the principle of guarding the details of investigations during Chen's case."

Wang said Ma's apparent inability to stand up to lawmakers in his own party was also evident in his reluctance to prevent senior Nationalist officials from holding talks in Shanghai last month with China's Communist Party.

The negotiations, on two-way investment and cooperation in financial and service industries, circumvented the Straits Exchange Foundation, the Taiwanese body established to conduct talks with the mainland. The leaders of the Nationalist delegation included honorary party chairman Lien Chan, whom critics chide as a supporter of reunification with the mainland, something most Taiwanese oppose. Ma has pledged not to discuss the issue while in office.

Wang said the meeting signaled the government's willingness to abdicate its authority to the ruling political party _ much as the Nationalist Party dictated policy during martial law from 1947 to 1987.

Wang Yu-chi, the Ma spokesman, said any agreements reached with the mainland would need government approval. "The only agency recognized by the government to hold talks with China is the Straits Exchange Foundation," he said. "Non-governmental talks will not bring about the implementation of deals that are agreed upon."

But Wang Yeh-lih, the political scientist, has his doubts. "The Nationalists are circumventing public supervision when they talk to the communists on its own," he said. "This is not something a democratic country would normally tolerate."


Wang Yu-chi, the spokesperson at the President's Office, said: "The president does not interview about the various cases and he does not influence the judiciary.  This is completely different from the example of the foreign leader mentioned in the report.  They are two extremes.  As for the various things that legislators say, the President does not want to interfere and actually does not have the means to interfere either."

The Government Information Office issued a rare midnight press release on January 5 in order to rebut the absurdity of the AP report, especially with respect to the baseless charge that President Ma is allowing the KMT legislators to interfere with the legal cases surrounding former president Chen Shui-bian.  The Executive Yuan is also issuing rebuttals because they are concerned that this foreign news report is using selective viewpoints to hurt the image of Taiwan democracy.

(Those Were The Days blog)

Let me quote the questions about laws that pertain to the Internet in Hong Kong that were published in the Hong Kong Economic Journal:

Question 2 asks whether it is legal to forward photos/videos that involve pornography and crime to your friends.  The correct answer according to Caritas is yes.  I can say for sure that they are one hundred percent "wrong!"  This is completely so because they are confounding pornographic photos/videos with the so-called criminal photos/videos together as if they are the same.  This is blurring right and wrong, black and white.

According to the <Control of Indecent and Obscene Articles Ordinance>, it is illegal to distribute obscene photos/videos on the Internet.  However, it is legal to distribute indecent articles on the Internet provided that there is sufficient warning not to distribute to young people.  It goes without say that it must be legal to send such photos/videos to adult friends.  In the case of sending obscene photos/videos to friends, even the Hong Kong police aren't so sure, for that is why the police said that it was alright to send to friends during Edison Chen's Sexy Photo Gate last year!  Presently, the only law concerning the sending of photos/videos is when they involve people who are not yet adults.  What is the legal basis for Caritas to equate pornography and crime?  If pornography equals committing a crime, then I would be committing a crime if I lend a pornographic publication to a friend?  How can such an example be used when it confounds the legal rights and wrongs?

Question 6 is even more indicative of ignorance of the laws.  The question is, Is it legal for two lovers to consent and post their love-making photos onto the Internet?  Well, if the lovers consent and those photos do not show sensitive body parts (such as genitalia), it is not against the law!  The conservative standards for defining indecency/obscenity in Hong Kong is based upon the showing of genitalia and/or female nipples and whether the genitalia were in action.  So if a man bares his chest, a woman wears a bra and the genitalia are not shown, it is not against the law even if  they are "making love"!  As long as the couple consents and they don't show any 'naughty' body bits, what law are they breaking even if the love-making video is posted on the Internet?

How do you justify in your conscience that in order to achieve certain moral goals, you invoke the name of the law which you then promptly misrepresent in order to mislead the citizenry?  Is this consistent with your beliefs? ...

This was not a good thing because if it keeps happening, then all the Chinese netizens will be stationed in front of their computers every New Year to wait for more sexy photos.  Last year, it was Edison Chen.  This year, it is Zhang Ziyi ...

Zhang Ziyi did not go as far as Master Edison Chen this time, nor did she adhered to the principle of photography that "your photos are not as good because you did not get close enough."  But it tore open the hidden wound inside Chinese men: "Why is it always white men screwing Chinese women?"  Based upon the Internet reaction, it seems that the photos came from the mysterious X17 website.  As of this afternoon, more than 1 million netizens probably saw them.  Within the next 72 hours, the number should go past 10 million or even 100 million.  Many of the comments were angry shouts from Chinese men.  Even though they are somewhere else on the Internet, you can still imagine the masses of mouths yelling and the millions of tongues wagging in anger.

Among the comments, I spotted a very classical one:

Go to hell!  Racist white pig!

This is matched only by an old joke: First of all, I hate all racists; secondly, I hate black people.

If Zhang Ziyi was intimate with a Chinese person on the beach, she would be guilty only of being "skittish."  But she did it with a white man, and that is of a completely different nature.  For the next few days, Zhang Ziyi will become the object of condemnation of all the Chinese guys who couldn't find a wife or who could only find an ugly hag.  Although it is seldom mentioned among the media or at formal occasions, it is obvious that many people are upset at white men scoring Chinese women.  Zhang Ziyi is helping them right now, because they might have gotten cancer otherwise from all the repression.  I hope that the sociologists and psychologists can tell us why the Chinese people are so sensitive about this.  And what if Zhang Ziyi's boyfriend was black?  What would happen then?

At this moment, I am most sympathetic with the couple Vivian Chow and Joel Nieh.  He had tried everything within his power to get the media to focus on their wedding.  But these 82 photos of Zhang Zihi have deftly ruined all of Nieh's machinations.  On this evening, their wedding becomes secondary news.  By tomorrow, the world will probably forget about them altogether ...

I like January and February because it is a season for sexy photos.  But I am somewhat worried: This year seems like a copy of last year.  There are sexy photos, there will be pompous ceremonies [note: the 2008 Beijing Olympics], but will there also be ... [note: the reference is to the Sichuan earthquake]

(The Sun)

Within a short few hours, the sexy photos of Zhang Ziyi on the beach have spread all over the world.  Apart from the broad discussions on mainland Chinese Internet forums and the demand to delete the official Zhang Ziyi website, overseas forums were also flooded with condemnations in Chinese and English.  Chinese people all over the world are upset at her for being intimate with a foreigner in public.

Netizens recalled that Zhang Ziyi looked so elegant in the movie <Mei Lanfang>, but now she acted this way.  So they called her "hypocritical."

Netizne "Club.ChinaRen" made a strong demand at the official Zhang Ziyi website for a total shutdown.  People asked: "What has Zhang Ziyi done to gain glory for China and work to the benefit of its people?"  They pointed out, "The official Zhang Ziyi website's webmaster must be brain dead, or else he has some ulterior motive."  Another netizen said: "This slut has now been caught in these extremely vulgar nude photos, being the toy of some foreign guy.  Should we still adulate her in the discussion forums>"

Apart from the mainland Chinese websites, foreign photo community websites were also flooded with vicious criticisms of her.  Many people  called her "embarrassing."  They called her a "gold digger," they reviewed her past history and they used words that are personal attacks.  It can be said that she is facing global condemnation.

Last Lunar New Year, the Internet was embroiled in Edison Chen's Sexy Photo Gate.  So the photos of Zhang Ziyi and her fiancé are now being described as "Sexy Photo Gate #1, 2009."  At the two major mainland Chinese forums, there were more than 200,000 page views and more than 1,000 comments within two hours.  Netizens there reacted strongly against the public nudity of Zhang Ziyi and called her "an embarrassment to all Asian women."

Some netizens thought that Zhang Ziyi was just "sunning" herself on an foreign beach.  It is no big deal to go naked," "she is conservatively dressed by comparison" and "many foreign women go nude on beaches."  They condemned the paparazzi for invasion of privacy.  They said that the intimate actions between Zhang and her fiancé were just "manifestations of love" and "much less than in Edison Chen's Sexy Photo Gate."  Some netizens said that the critics of Zhang Ziyi are "jealous," "their ideas are still fixated around the 1900's," "it's alright to be nosy, but you don't have to condemn a fellow Chinese."  Another netizen praised Zhang Ziyi for maintaining a good skincare regime.

(China News)

Hong Kong Journalists Association chairman Tam Chi-keung said that journalists should follow their codes of conduct and not employ unethical methods to obtain photos or information.  In this case, it is legal if the photographer used a long photo lens to obtain these photos.  Instead, the problem is that the readers have poor taste and like to see such photos.  That is the reason why the media will buy and publish there photos.  "Normal and decent newspapers should not be publishing these photos."

The Caritas Youth and Community Service Centre interviewed more than 2,500 young persons between ages 13 and 25 in Hong Kong in order to understand their Internet usage habits and awareness of the laws related to the Internet.  The survey found that more than half of the respondents use the Internet on a daily basis.  Almost 20% acknowledged that they have seen or download photos, videos or texts that may violate certain laws in the last 3 months, and 11% have even stored them.  The principal reason was curiosity.  Some of the surveys were given out in schools, so it is possible that the incidences are understated.

The survey also showed that of 15 questions that tested knowledge of laws related to the Internet, 43% got fewer than half right and 57% got 10 or few right.  Almost 40% of the young people do not think or do not believe that forwarding pornographic photos to friends is illegal; more than 60% did not know that it was illegal for lovers to post their erotic photos onto the Internet.  Previously, the police had said that "it is not against the law to share photos among friends."  According to Legislative Council Alan Leong, the police made an erroneous interpretation of the law in that case.

Q1. Is it illegal for two lovers to agree and post photos of their love-making onto the Internet?  Correct answer: Illegal
Q2. Is it illegal to forward photos/videos with pornographic or other criminal content to other friends?  Correct answer: Illegal
Q3. In the case of the "rape video," is it illegal for netizens to post it onto various discussion forums?  Correct answer: Illegal
Q4. Is it illegal to surreptitiously film a female in public and post the photos onto the Internet: Correct answer: Legal
Q5. Is it illegal to post the personal information (such as name, date of birth, age) of a friend onto the Internet in order to locate this friend?  Correct answer: Illegal
Q6. Is it illegal to post the photos/videos of friends onto the Internet without their consent?  Correct answer: Legal
Q7. Is it illegal to download the photos of others, modify them to denigrate them and then transmit the results to netizens?  Correct answer: Legal


(The Sun)  At around 3am yesterday morning, the N691 bus had just reached North Point.  An intoxicated male passenger then urinated publicly inside the bus.  The other passengers told him to stop, but this shameless man aggressively told them to mind their own business.  A quarrel ensured between this man and another male passenger and escalated to a fight.  The police were summoned.  The two men were arrested for fighting in a public area.  Both claimed to be injured and were taken to the hospital for treatment.

According to a legal expert, many citizens hold the mistaken belief that it is an act of self-defense to punch someone back after they punched you.  This is wrong.  Self-defense only works while the attack on you is ongoing.  If the other party has completed their attack on you and then you retaliate, you may be found guilty of assault or fighting in a public place.

At 8am, the grandfather leaves
the 4-year-old granddaughter
with a female neighbor
in order to do an errand

When the grandfather returned at 9am,
the granddaughter was missing.
The police were called.

The family searched for
the girl everywhere.
The police even went to
the suspect's home but
found nothing suspicious.

The grandmother and friends
found bloodstains on the rug
in front of the suspect's home.
He tried to prevent them from

The grandmother called the
police again.  They found the
body of the girl cut up into
seven or eight pieces inside
a small refrigerator.

According to neighbors in Panyu (Guangdong province), the suspect is a man in his 30's from Sichuan province.  He moved into Number 54 two months ago.  He is a loner who never socializes with others.  He had previously worked at a garment factory, but is now unemployed.  "One night we were watching a war movie on television in the street.  When there was a scene of people dying, this guy Ah Wo said 'Actually human flesh is delicious.'"  Two neighbors said that this guy must be psychologically perverted.  The neighbors aid that the suspect likes to watch war movies and he talked to himself.  He also liked to cross-dress, sometimes wearing skirts or even female underwear in public.  Female neighbors said that he liked to gawk at women.

On December 30, 2008, Jilu TV aired a news story about the abrupt death of a woman from Laiwu at a mental hospital.  The segment included several video clips taken by a surveillance camera.  On December 31, the videos began circulating on the Internet and drew a huge public response.  The segments show a female nurse wearing a white coat kicking the patient, tying the patient down with a rope and hitting the patient with a broomstick.

It was Zhu Chuanming, the son of the deceased patient, who provided the video clips to Jilu TV.  Many netizens were curious as to how Zhu procured these video clips which were highly negative about the hospital.  Zhu said, "It was actually very simple.  I asked them and they gave it to me."  The hospital was not even aware that their videos contain such scenes. 

According to the published report of an official investigation, the family of the deceased discovered that the hospital workers had assaulted her.  The hospital identified three workers named Liu, Lu and Jia.  The three were interrogated and it was confirmed that they assaulted the deceased on December 9, 11, 12 and 13 by punching, kicking or hitting her with a broomstick.

At issue is now the cause of death.  The hospital is claiming that the deceased died due to a sudden cardiac arrest.  An autopsy remains to be conducted due to lack of concurrence about the procedures.  On December 19, the family of the deceased filed a lawsuit against the mental hospital.  A trial will be scheduled.  The public security authorities have begun their investigation.  They have viewed the videos, interviewed the hospital workers and the family of the deceased but they could not determine the cause of death until after the autopsy.

The family of the deceased has demanded (1) determine the time of death; (2) the hospital must apologize to the family; (3) the hospital must compensate the family in accordance to the requirements of the law.  The Ministry of Health has barred the mental hospital from taking in more hospital.  Present patients are being transferred out as quickly as possible to other institutions.  Then this hospital will be re-organized.  The three hospital workers involved in this case have been suspended from their duties pending investigation.

There is another post on the Internet: "According to the Ministry of Health in Laiwu city: This entire incident was fabricated.  The deceased died because of a 'sudden cardiac arrest,' which is a difficult medical condition.  But the family of the deceased demanded a sky-high price of 400,000 yuan in compensation and brought idlers and loafers to cause trouble at the hospital for an entire week.  They broke down the gate, they injured many hospital workers and they created a bad social influence.  These complaints have been reported to the Laiwu city police."

I found out some information
But it was deleted several times by Douban
Since I have two severe warnings on me already, I didn't want to put up a major war of resistance
If they terminate me, it will be a real hassle to get re-born

If you want to find out more, you can email me
Since the magazine's office is not easy to find, I have even drawn out some routes
When you receive the email, you can try to publish it

Here is the information as published at Prostates Still In Flames:

On the last day of 2008, I went down to the office of Yanhuang Chunqiu magazine
If you want to go there, you can take bus 65 from the Zoo and get off at Sanlihe Street, and go to the second floor of courtyard of number 69, Yuetan South Road
You can also take the subway to the Muxi station and go to 69 Yuetan South Road

Today, I bought all the issues from 2008 as well as the January 2009 issues
The price of the magazine has gone up in 2009
I asked the auntie at the distribution department whether they sell as many as 10,000 copies
She said no, and she figured that they sell several thousand
She said that most of the buyers are old men and women, and very few young people like me
This caused me to give thought

Why is Yanhuang Chunqiu able to hold on strong?
Another old lady at the distribution department asked, Do you know who our chief Du is?
I said that I heard that he was the secretary of Zhao Ziyang
The old lady shook her head and said Du is 85 years old and was the first head of the General Administration of Press and Publications
Liu Yunshan worked for him
So he is not going to be ousted so easily
I mentioned that the Southern Daily group was purged
The old lady said that it was JZM who did that
It seems that even an old lady at Yanhuang Chunqiu knows her politics very well
I asked about what is happening with chief Du
She said that Du is basically resting and Wu Xi is the executive deputy publisher
Then she mentioned the daily threatening phone calls
Because Yang Jisheng wrote the book "Tombstone" which touched on the real history (note: about the famine)
It touched on the reputation of Ma Zedong
Certain ultra-leftists have vowed to take revenge against Yang
One middle-aged man called the various departments of Yanhuang Chunqiu and said: "Don't let Yang Jisheng write anything more that attacks Chairman Mao, or else someone is going to stick a clean knife in him and pull out a bloodied knife."
The old lady said that the police have been called, but I don't think that these so-called police can find anything
It is not easy trying to accomplish something in China!

(Huai'an City Public Security Bureau Huaiyin Station)  On October 30, Wangying Town Elementary School sixth grade student Cai Zhuoyue picked up a coin at on Xima Road and handed it over to the traffic police officer on duty at the location.  The owner should bring his personal ID and claim his coin at our station.  Contact telephone number 84977760.

(Netizen comments)

  • I cannot believe that taxpayers are paying the salaries of idiots like these
  • This telephone number must be one of those 1-yuan-per-minute numbers
  • Even little children don't care about 50 cents any more, so how can the "fifty-cent gang" people live with themselves?
  • "I have come to claim my lost coin."
    "What proof do you have it's yours?"
    "It was a fifty cent coin.  It is copper.  It is round."
    "The characteristics are not unique.  You cannot prove that you lost it."
    "I am willing to swear."
    "Cut it out.  We don't accept that sort of thing."
    "So what can I do?"
    Whisper: "You gimme ten yuan and I'll process it for you ..."

On the other side, there is the 'official propaganda' from Southern Metropolis Daily:

In early December last year, the news came out that the Junjing power substation would be resuming construction.  Certainly overly excited residents convened and incited other residents through Internet postings and flyer distribution to "defend their rights."  They hung out banners, assembled, marched and even blockaded major traffic arteries.  On December 13, more than 200 Junjing residents charged down Zhongshan Avenue and halted traffic for more than one hour.  Since December 31, certain residents began to block the district gate and disturbed people.  These people held up banners, chanted slogans and even incited old people and children to lead the group.  They threw rocks and eggs at the police and security guards.  Some of these people are not even residents of the Junjing neighborhood.

On the evening of January 1, some residents threw hard objects from high above and injured two police officers and nine security guards, six of whom are still under observation at the hospital.  A 25-year-old security guard named Xu was hit by a flower pot from above and suffered a brain concussion.  Afterward the throwing incident, thy continued to block the street illegally.  The Tianhe district public security bureau acted decisively to protect the lives of those present and took away 13 troublemakers.  Afterwards, two were criminally detained, one was administratively detained and the other ten were given educational lectures and released.

In order to assuage public doubts, Huadong Electricity Testing Institute professor Yang Xinchuan came to address the Junjing residents in three meetings.  He said that in high-density cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, there was no way to choose sites for power substations that are far away from people.  The key is to reduce the impact to a minimum.

Yang said that the World Health Organisation had conducted an international electro-magnetic field study project in more than 60 countries over ten years and the USA's National Institute for Environmental and Health Sciences had spent more than US$ 45 million to cold on electro-magnetic field study and public information communication project over six years.  China joined the WHO project in 1998.  In 2006, WHO issued four related documents.  "The standards that China uses for protecting the environment against electro-magnetic radiation is even more rigorous than certain European and American countries," said Yang Xinchuan.

In 2007, the Guangzhou City Department of Environmental Protection measured the electro-magnetic radiation from thirty different power transformer stations.  The results show that the electro-magnetic radiation were last lower than the minimum national statndards. Yang Xinchuan said, "The residents can hire a third-party to measure.  The electro-magnetic field in the surrounding buildings will be no different before and after the power transformer station is built."

Some residents are concerned that the power transformer station will attract lightning.  According to experts, this is a misunderstanding.  Lightning strike because the clouds had accumulated a large amount of electricity which get attracted to ground surface.  Compared to the clouds, the electro-magnetic field of a power transformer station is a tiny fraction.  In rural areas, the power cables and towers are higher than other objects and therefore they are more likely to draw lightning.  The Junjing power transformer station is lower than the surrounding buildings and therefore it is very unlikely to draw lightning.  All cables for the electricity going in and out of the transformer station are underground and will not be affected by lightning.

Other residents are worried about an explosion at the power transformer station.  Experts explain that heat may be released but not sufficient enough to cause an explosion.  The high-voltage equipment may become distorted, displaced or broken, but there won't be the kind of explosion that people are imagining.  Electricity has been available in Guangzhou for 120 years, and there has never been any incident at a power transformer station that affected people in surrounding buildings.

But where is the definitive and credible science on this public health issue?  Here is the American Physical Society's official statement on Power Line Fields and Public Health:

The scientific literature and the reports of reviews by other panels show no consistent, significant link between cancer and power line fields. This literature includes epidemiological studies, research on biological systems, and analyses of theoretical interaction mechanisms. No plausible biophysical mechanisms for the systematic initiation or promotion of cancer by these power line fields have been identified. Furthermore, the preponderance of the epidemiological and biophysical/biological research findings have failed to substantiate those studies which have reported specific adverse health effects from exposure to such fields. While it is impossible to prove that no deleterious health effects occur from exposure to any environmental factor, it is necessary to demonstrate a consistent, significant, and causal relationship before one can conclude that such effects do occur. From this standpoint, the conjectures relating cancer to power line fields have not been scientifically substantiated.

These unsubstantiated claims, however, have generated fears of power lines in some communities, leading to expensive mitigation efforts, and, in some cases, to lengthy and divisive court proceedings. The costs of mitigation and litigation relating to the power line cancer connection have risen into the billions of dollars and threaten to go much higher. The diversion of these resources to eliminate a threat which has no persuasive scientific basis is disturbing to us. More serious environmental problems are neglected for lack of funding and public attention, and the burden of cost placed on the American public is incommensurate with the risk, if any.

Hong Kong University Faculty of Law Dean Johannes Chan spoke on the RTHK program <Letter from Hong Kong>.  He said that the Obscene Articles Tribunal has been the butt of many jokes in the past, including classifying certain internationally works of art as indecent; coming up with different classifications for the same article submitted at different times. 

There is also a conflict in the role of the Obscene Articles Tribunal, which was supposed to be a way for citizens to find out if an article is indecent or obscene (such as a publisher wanting to classify their magazine).  But instead the Obscene Articles Tribunal is now serving as the precursor for criminal prosecution.  As such, Chan questioned whether the Obscene Articles Tribunal is capable of maintaining an objective stance about the integrity of its classification during the criminal trial proceedings.

Chan also pointed out that indecent publications continue to appear in large numbers anyway, so this system does not help to stanch their sales.  He proposed the elimination of the classification system and retaining only the criminal code with clear definitions of indecency and obscenity.

Another problem is that the system of adjudicators at the Obscene Articles Tribunal lacks representativeness of society as a whole.  Since the definition of indecency and obscenity involve moral judgments in society, the trials should turn over to juries.  Presently, about 570,000 people are qualified jury members in Hong Kong,and that number is far more representative than the 300 or so Obscene Articles Tribunal adjudicators.

(Apple Daily)

In Taipei City, two people persons died inside their home.  They were an 89-year-old mother living with her 55-year-old son.  The mother had both legs amputated due to diabetes and is bedbound.  The son left his job in order to take care of her.  Neighbors had not seen the two for a few days and broke into the apartment because they were worried.  Inside they found the mother dead in her bed.  The son was found dead sitting on the toilet with his pants down.  It is believed that the son died unexpectedly due to the cold, and the mother died because there was no one to take care of her.