Recently, a post titled <35 militia police officers use their real names to denounced the Yuncheng (Shandong) county party secretary> became red hot on the Internet and drew attention from netizens.  This denunciation was signed by 35 police officers from Yuncheng, with their real names and mobile phone numbers listed.  Even the phone numbers of the top government leaders of Yuncheng were listed.  But when a reporter followed up, many of the police signatories said that their names were used without their knowledge.  The Yuncheng party committee said that the post was inaccurate, given that the signatories were unaware and three of them are even deceased already.

The official preference has always been to encourage "denunciation using real names" because that would be easier to investigate and verify.  But many citizens prefer to denounce anonymously because of the fear of retaliation by the enemies.  The conflict between using real names versus anonymity has now produced a strange hybrid -- a denunciation using seemingly real names that were in fact forged.  This time, the forged names were of 35 police officers who denounced the county party secretary for practising deception, handing out illegal job promotions, requisitioning land by force, misuse of police power, etc.  This was an astonishing event.

Why were the names forged?  According to the news reports, there appeared to have been two reasons.  Firstly, this was done to attract attention so that the mass audience will form public opinion pressure.  According to the news report, the particular information had previously circulated on the Internet.  However, such information is too "commonplace" and does not draw much attention.  But once the gimmicky <35 police officers use their real names to make an denunciation> is added, the result was an Internet storm.  Secondly, given incidents such as the Wang Shuai case, denouncers face certain risks and costs when they use their real names to make denunciations on the Internet.

So this demonstrated why there were two other pieces of news on the same day.  In the first news report, it was pointed out that there are too many criticisms of the government and denunciations of government officials that are scattered all over the Internet.  This meant that unless an item carries something refreshing, it will be probably sink into oblivion.  Thus, the Jiaozuo government announced that it was going to send special people to read and respond to Internet posts.  In the second news report, it was pointed out that there were too many cases in which denouncers were retaliated against.  The result was a severe erosion of public confidence in the government.  This meant that it was inevitable that the four officials involved in the Wang Shuai case would have to be punished in order to restore public confidence.

It remains to be seen whether the Jiaozuo government is interested in collecting critical opinions, or just interested in keeping an eye on negative information and maintaining the so-called image of the government.  If the Jiaozuo government is only interested in arresting critics such as Wang Shuai, then they should not bother.  Although the Wang Shuai case was eventually overturned and the officials involved were punished, the bad influence had already been spread.  The key to restoring public confidence is to eliminate the public anxiety that "I may become the next Wang Shuai."

According to the news report, the relevant departments in Yuncheng are busy checking on the 35 named police officers.  But if these 35 police officers actually made the denunciation, would they dare admit it now?  While verification is needed, does anyone seem to care about the substance of the denunciation?  Online surveys showed that the netizens believe that the matters in the denunciation are true.  But what how much hope can we have in what the Yuncheng county party secretary and the relevant departments will find out in their investigation?

If the investigation turned out that the names of the denouncers were forged, then the denounced officials may breathe a sigh of relief because the matter can be dropped.  But this phenomenon of using forged names to make a denunciation should be a warning to society: Why are so many "injustices" being forced to be aired only in a virtual network world?  Why do they require "something special" to attract attention?  Why do the denouncers have to carefully conceal their own identities and use a group of other people to expose the conflicts?

"Using fake names to make a denunciation" is not a good start.  When the two forces collide together, this may become a normal method to make denunciations in the future.  We have been saying that the Internet era has made it easy for citizens to express themselves freely.  But if we enter an era of "using fake names to make denunciation," all the joy over the "progressive conditions" will become nought.

(1) Operation Chrysanthemum: As of April 28, many Kaixin users received a message about using the Kaixin Garden online game: "May 12 will be here soon.  In order to remember the dead and encourage the survivors, let us do something ... (1)  Please plant Chrysanthemum in your patch with 68 hour maturation period so that they can all blossom on May 12.  (2) On May 12, please do not go and steal chrysanthemum from other people's patches.  (3) Please forward this message ... "  The message was initially sent by a person named "Sun Na" at 22:58 on April 28.  As of 10am on April 30, the message has been forwarded 345,249 times and seen by 1,060,243 times.  This is a display of the power of social networking.

(2)  Recently, it is common to append the following statement to cross-postings on the Internet.  A cross-post occurs when an Internet users comes across an interesting post and then posts it on another website in order to bring more attention.  The message is this: "The above content is purely reproduced from elsewhere.  I do not understand the import of this message.  Therefore I bear no legal responsibility for the content.  Please do not cross provincial borders to arrest me.  For further details, please contact the original author.  Thanks!"  The background of this message is the two cases of netizens Wang Shuai and Wu Baoquan.  The message purportedly appeared first in the cross-post of the Southern Metropolis Daily article on Wu Baoquan, the Inner Mongolian netizen who was arrested in another province for making an Internet post.  Somebody commented: "The sarcastic message to ask people not to cross provincial borders to make an arrest expresses the anxiety and helplessness of the present reality.  But is also reflects a mass tide of persistent non-cooperation."

At around 12:25pm, a man immolated himself by the Liberation Stele in the Yuzhong district of Chongqing city.  According to eyewitnesses, the man was about 30 to 40 years old, and he poured inflammable substance on himself and started a fire.  The police and fire brigade were summoned, and they put out the fire.  When the reporter arrived at the scene, he saw a "public statement" on the body of the man.  Just as the reporter was about to read the statement, the police took it away.  At 12:35pm, the man was taken away by an ambulance.  The police is starting an investigation.

On March 21, the netizen 'catandmouse' made five posts to the The Voice of the People of Qilu section of the Bailing Information Net.  Three of these posts were about 35 police officers denouncing government officials for misdeeds with with respect to land requisition, and they were promptly deleted.  The other two posts were about the same land requisition problem but without the joint signatures from 35 police officers, and they can still be read today.

The land requisition matter had been brought up by others as early as early March.  For example, a blog post  on March 2 was about "the four-month struggle between the villagers of Lulou village, Xuguantun town, Yuncheng county, Shandong province and the county government over illegal land requisitioning."  The content of that post is essentially the same as that in the post by 'catandmouse.'

Although the "35 police officers" post by 'catandmouse' was deleted, another blogger managed to re-post it on his own blog, where it languished until it suddenly became red hot yesterday.  The title of this post is <35 militia police officers use their real names to denounce the Yuncheng county (Shandong province) party secretary>.  The charges include practicing fraud and deception, exaggerating his accomplishments, illegally handing out job promotions, land requisition and clearing, abuse of police power, etc with the main focus being on the conflicts that occurred over the land requisition.

The post listed the mobile and home phone numbers of the country party secretary, the county mayor, the public security bureau director and other government officials.  It ended with the names and mobile phone numbers of the 35 police officers.  The post also claimed: "At the time when this post was made, three of them have suffered retaliation and an arrest warrant was approved for a fourth."

At, netizens began to verify the information.  The netizen "Reform Command Center" contacted the Yuncheng county Personnel Department and found out that the majority of the 35 petitioners were indeed police officers.  At KDnet, the netizen "Legal Advisor 201" said that he called the listed telephone number of the county mayor and the other party denied being the mayor.

This reporter began to call the 35 police officers whose numbers are listed in the post.  Some of the phones have been shut off while others are non-working numbers.  Some of the telephone owners hung up immediately.  The militia police officer Ma Jianjun told the reporter that he has already received many calls from reporters.  He said that he only found out about this from the reporters, and he stated that his name had been misappropriated.  The militia police officer Zhang Chuntao said that he knew nothing about the matter.  The militia police officer Liu Jinjiang said that he knew nothing about the case but had just learned about it from someone else.

This reporter also called the telephone numbers of the government officials.  The answer was either wrong number of no pick up.  The so-called public security bureau Liu Rong told the reporter that he has not been working in Yuncheng for several years ago.  The reporter checked the personnel directory of the Yuncheng county public security bureau and could not find his name.

According to a female spokesperson from the Yuncheng Publicity Department, "We are presently studying the matter of the 35 militia police officers using their real names to denounce the county party secretary.  We checked and there were maybe one or two people involved.  The rest of the people don't know anything.  Those one or two people were not happy with personnel moves within the department.  Also, three members of the list are deceased.  So while this forum post is going to impress everybody as being significant, its veracity is dubious."

At the Yuncheng forum over at Baidu, one netizen wondered: "Zhang Chuiling (note: one of the signatories) died six months ago!"

Right now, the story about the police denunciation is being deleted at the various Intenet forums, but the posts about land requisition in Yuncheng are still there.  This is a story that generated only mild interest until the hook about 35 police officers using their real names to denounce the party secretary was inserted.

How long before someone comes up with this photo from the Hunan Polytechnique Institute?  How long before they find the individual?

(Southern Metropolis Daily)  (04/27/2009)

Yesterday afternoon at 2:07pm on the pedestrian overpass bridge in front of the Walmart store on Progress 2 Road, Shenzhen, the Xin'an Street municipal administrator Lian Shitao was stabbed by the street vendor Lao Shi on the left waist from behind.  When Lian turned around, he received another stab on his right chest.  Lao Shi then fled, but his wife Fang Jinqun was detained by the police.

According to the Xin'an Street Party deputy secretary Zhao Junping: at just past 2pm, four municipal administrators enforced the law on the pedestrian overpass near the Walmart on Progress 2 Road.  One of them was using a digital camera to record the action.  There were seven or eight street vendors on the bridge.  But apart from Lao Shi and his wife Fang Jinqun, the others managed to flee.  The law enforcers began to to advise the couple to leave.  "They were only advising them to leave and they had no intention to confiscate their wares."

According to another street vendor named Luo who was present on the overpass, "at around 2pm, a municipal law enforcement vehicle stopped under the bridge and the administrators came onto the bridge.  We hurriedly packed our stuff and ran away.  But those two had too much stuff and they did not get away in time."

According to the Xin'an Street law enforcement squad captain named Liu, this couple was "incorrigible."  The municipal administrators have had multiple encounters with them.  He produced another photo of a previous encounter that was similar to the incident yesterday -- Fang Jinqun used her camera phone to record the municipal administrator who had the digital camera while holding a paper cutter in her other hand.

According to Zhan Junping, Fang Jinqun took out this knife from her waist pack yesterday.  The municipal administrator Lu Guangwei used his left hand to grab the knife and got slashed.  Meanwhile, his right hand was bitten by Fang Jinqun.

In the two photos provided by the municipal administration, the municipal administrators both had their hands on the horizontal bar of Fang Jinqun's clothes rack, while Fang used her left hand to grab the vertical bar.  In the second hpoto, Fang Jinjun and Lu Guangwei were both looking at Lao Shi, who was standing behind Lian Shitao.  In the photo, Lao Shi was holding a sharp knife about 30mm in length.

"This was a restricted knife."  The first stab from behind penetrated all the way to the front of the chest and blood burst out.  The third photo showed Lian Shitao turning around to see what was happening behind him.  At that moment, Lao Shi administered a second stab which entered from the front of the right chest and broke a soft bone.

Lu Guangwei pushed Fang Jinqun aside and took Lian Shitao down the bridge and rushed to a hospital.  Lao Shi fled during the chaos.  One municipal administrator had Fang Jinqun under control.  The video showed that after her husband stabbed Lian and fled, Fang calmly went back to take care of her wares.

According to the police, 28-year-old Fang Jinqun denied at first that she was married to Lao Shi.  The police quickly found out the two were from Anqing (Anhui), lived near the Walmart and have two children.  Then Fang Jinqun said that she did not see her husband injuring the municipal administrator.  After being shown the photos, she said that she only realized that her husband did this after seeing those photos.  Fang Jinqun admitted that before the stabbing, there was only some jostling but no fighting.

The street vendors admit that they were breaking the law, but they also find it unacceptable to have their wares being confiscated sometimes.  Some of them carry knives to defend themselves.  Zhao Junping said that the Xin'an Street administrators usually advise the street vendors to leave.  He said that they are doing their job for the sake of the appearance of the city.  "If your child eats something from an unlicensed vendor, or they set up a stall right outside the entrance to your house, would you still agree with this way of making a livelihood?"

(Southern Metropolis Daily)  April 28, 2009

In 2000, Shi Jianhua and Fang Jinqun got married in An'qing (Anhui) and went down to Shenzhen to find work.  At first, they went to Nantou.  "We had both learned how to use computer software.  So we found a place in Nantou and started a software training class."  The first class began in 2001 and had many students.  They were hopeful, but then business deteriorated.  "The main reason was that we had no money to take out advertisements.  By the end of 2006, we closed down the business."

In 2007, the two went to live with Fang Jinqun's parents.  They tried to run a print shop, but they lost their investment.  Finally, Fang's father obtained some shoe pads and socks, and they made some money by selling them in the street.  Thus, the two became vendors on the Walmart overpass.

At first, there were just a couple of vendors there selling shoe pads and socks.  This year, there were five or six vendors selling clothes, decorative items, etc.  Fang Jinqun said that they earned only about one to two thousand RMB per month.  Recently, law enforcement has become tougher and they barely make enough money to get by.  Over the past three months, they can only set up during the morning and evening rush hours as well as lunchtime.  During the weekend, the inspections are less rigorous and they can set up the whole day there.  Their income came primarily from weekend sales.

The couple have a dream: "We would like to have a store for children's accessories.  But we made inquiries and we don't have the money to find a store space and pay the rent.  So we have to keep selling in the street.  Who wants to sell in the streets if they have the money?"

Fang Jinqun recalled certain unpleasant incidents in her encounters with the municipal administrators.  "Last year, we had our stuff confiscated twice.  One time, there were twenty bags.  The other time, it was the shoe pads.  The municipal administrators came this month to confiscate stuff.  I refused to give it to them, so they took the table."  Fang Jinqun said that her husband was very angry at the time and she consoled him, "It was a good thing that they did not confiscate the other stuff."

Xin'an Street's captain Liu said that there was no record of the two alleged confiscations, so that may not be true.  There was a large-scale clean-up this month, and it is possible that the table had been confiscated.

With so many contacts with municipal administrators, the couple began to be familiarized with them.  Fang Jinqun said that one division captain told her after the incident: "Hey, how could he do that?  Was it necessary?"

When asked what she had to say to the municipal administrators?  Fang Jinqun wiped her tears but did not apologize: "I hope that they don't overblow this incident.  Municipal administrators get wages, but ordinary people don't."

Among the four municipal administrators on the overpeass, Fang Jinqun had seen three of them except for the one who got stabbed, Lian Shitao.

There is a great deal of discrepancy among the descriptions of what happened on that overpass.  Fang Jinqun said that she was holding a paper cutter, but she did not open out the blade.  This was the same as the last time: "The last time, my husband moved some of the wares away, but I was not strong enough to move the rest myself.  The municipal administrators asked 'Do you want me to help?'  I used my camera phone to film him, because I can film him just as he was filming me.  I also took out my knife to intimidate him.  It was the same thing this time."  Captain Liu said that Lu Guangwei's hand was injured by Fang Jinqun's knife and had to be treated at the hospital.

Xin'an Street deputy secretary Zhao Junping said that the Walmart overpass has been the focus of complaints: citizens complain that their passage is blocked and the businesses complain that the law is being violated.

Fang Jinqun said that when the municipal administrators came, they wanted to detain the wares.  Captain Liu said, "Usually, we only take temporary custody if the vendors repeatedly ignore our advise.  We don't take the wares.  We usually take the tools such as tables and racks.  In principle, if they are willing to admit their errors and write a promise, we will return their stuff."

As for the two knife stabs, Fang Jinqun said that she only realized after she saw the photos.  "I can't guess why he did it.  If I knew that he had this knife, I would never let him take it with him.  I don't understand why he did it."  After spending a sleepless night down at the police station, Fang Jinqun is thinking about her husband and the uncertain future of her family.

In the field of journalism, there is a famous saying: "You are not afraid of missing an exclusive that nobody else has, but you have to be afraid of being the only one who missed a story."  However, this New York Times exclusive story from The Editors claimed that China's president Hu Jintao gave the keynote speech at the Bo'ao Forum.  However, not a single Hong Kong media outlet reported on that speech.  How about that?  What can we say?

Answer:  Premier Wen Jiabao delivers keynote speech at 2009 Boao Forum for Asia

... but why should we let a small detail interrupt the hunting of Jackie Chan?

On April 24, 2009, 1,200 persons gathered together to sing songs in praise of the motherland which is celebrating the 60th birthday of the People's Republic of China.  This sets a record.

Oh, surely there must have been much bigger choirs elsewhere.  Yes, but this one was organized by the Hefei City Prison Bureau and the choir members are prisoners currently serving time.  It is believed that this is the biggest prison choir ever in China.

Since inception, the <Joint News Broadcast> has been described as a three-part program: In the first ten minutes, the state leaders are very busy; in the middle ten minutes, the people of China are very content; in the last ten minutes, the people outside China are living in hot water.

There is now news that the State Administration of Film, Radio and Television is recommending CCTV to set up an appraisal system for the <Joint News Broadcast>.  The first-generation <Joint News Broadcast> announcers Zhao Zhongxiang and others have expressed support for this recommendation, and offered their "evaluations."  Zhao said that not only does <Joint News Broadcast> need to be reformed, but the reforms should have occurred a long time ago (see Nanfang Daily, April 22, 2009).

<Joint News Broadcast> began its first show on January 1, 1978.  The contents included politics, economics, science & technology, society, military, diplomacy, culture, sports and so on.  At present, it is the television news program with the highest audience rating and the most influence in China.  The reason why <Joint News Broadcast> has so many viewers is not because it is a good program!  The reason is that <Joint News Broadcast> directly presents the positions of the central government.  This shows that the Chinese people are concerned about politics as well as international affairs.  More importantly, they are used to the format of <Joint News Broadcast>.

<Joint News Broadcast> began in 1978.  Why do they have to reform only after people criticize them?  Does it mean that they wouldn't be reforming without the criticisms?  After all, not everybody holds opinions about <Joint News Broadcast>.  I do not support any changes to <Joint News Broadcast>, but it is because I simply do not believe that they can come up with any content that is worth bothering with.  Will they present international news first?  then the Chinese people?  and finally the leaders?  Since this is <Joint News Broadcast>, what can they possibly broadcast except those contents?  The hairstyle of the <Joint News Broadcast> announcers have not changed over the years.  Could the reformatting consists of new hairstyles for the announcers?

Comrade Zhao Zhongxiang said: "The purpose of <Joint News Broadcast> is like the historical document and its text, or the train and the railroad track.  It will forge a consensus among everyone who can then progress ahead under the leadership of the Party."  We all know that we cannot have everything.  <Joint News Broadcast> has a hard time trying to please both the government as well as thepeople.  The needs of the government are very simple: communicate its policies and messages.  The people are harder to please.  Each year, CCTV works hard on its Spring Festival Gala, but each year its ends up with a lot of messy distractions that can hardly be said to please the audience.

I am worried that the reform of <Joint News Broadcast> may end up pleasing nobody.  Who is going to direct this reform?  It is definitely not Zhang Yimou, or Zhang Benshan.  Who really understands the needs of the government as well as what the masses think?  No matter what, CCTV will have to put in ten times as much effort for one Spring Festival Gala for the reform of <Joint News Broadcast>.  This will be challenging.

CCTV <Joint News Broadcast> is known for its strict discipline and seriousness.  But even the CCTV workers are tired of the old production processes and methods of <Joint News Broadcast>.  This is why the series of missteps known as "Make-up Gate," "Yawn Gate," "Misspeak Gate" and others occurred.  For that reason, the reform of <Joint News Broadcast> will not be just to meet market needs, but also the needs of the workers should be considered.

According to information, one reason that the higher-ups want to reform <Joint News Broadcast> is the decline of audience ratings.  If CCTV want the audience ratings to rise, they need more realistic and incisive news reporting.  They cannot have the same old kind of news reading that as soon as the announcer opens his mouth, we already know what he is going to say next.  If they become more incisive, they will offend many local government officials or even higher-ups.  Does CCTV dare to do so?  They will have to step on the knives one by one and win over the audience one by one?  Is there any possibility for this to happen?

(Taipei Times)  Two PRC tourists killed in crane crash in Taipei.  By Shelley Shan and Mo Yan-chih.  April 25, 2009.

The boom of a crane plunged 37 floors from a construction site in Taipei City’s Xinyi District yesterday afternoon, smashing the back end of a tour bus carrying 25 visitors from China, leaving two passengers dead, another in critical condition and two slightly injured.

The tour group from Guangdong Province was on their way to Taipei 101 when the boom fell and struck the bus in an alley between the Xinyi Eslite Bookstore and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store. The rear end of the bus was crushed by the impact.


(Apple Daily (TW))

(Apple Daily (HK))

(The StandardPopular football commentator Spencer Lam Seung-yi has died. He was 75.  Lam was one of the most popular football commentators on both radio and television for more than 20 years, regaling fans with his colorful comments about players' performances and vivid descriptions of play.  Lam represented Taiwan in the 1960 Rome Olympics.

(South China Morning Post Born in 1934, Lam began his professional career as a striker for Eastern in the local First Division League. Then just 16, he was one of the youngest players in the league's history.   In 1958, when Hongkongers could play for Taiwan, he represented the island at the Asian Games in Tokyo, where the team won gold after beating South Korea. Two years later, he represented Taiwan again as a midfielder at the Rome Olympics.

(The Sun 林尚義,廣東南海人,十六歲加入甲組球隊,一九五八年代表中華民國勇奪亞運足球金牌,曾參加六○年羅馬奧運。(Lam Seung-yi, Nanhai (Guangdong), joined a First Division football team at age 16, represented the Republic of China in 1958 to win the Asia Games gold medal, participated in the 1960 Rome Olympics.)


(Oriental Daily)   十六歲加入甲組球隊東方,之後在本港頂級球賽征戰廿載,一九五八年代表中華民國勇奪亞運足球金牌,亦曾參加六○年羅馬奧運,而亞運奪金時,其教練正是中國球王李惠堂,阿叔在一場預賽不聽教練安排,臨完場前由後場開上前線助攻一腳定江山。(Uncle joined First Division football team Eastern at age 16 and played at the top level in Hong Kong for twenty years, represented the Republic of China to win the Asia Games gold medal in 1958, participated in the 1960 Rome Olympics; when they won the Asia Games gold, the coach was Chinese football king Lee Wei-tong; during one of the preliminary games, Lam ignored the coach's arrangements and came up from the backfield to win the game with a goal in the final minutes.)

(Apple Daily)  1934 年 出 生 的 林 尚 義 , 16 歲 便 加 入 香 港 甲 組 足 球 隊 東 方 , 24 歲 代 表 中 華 民 國 勇 奪 亞 運 足 球 賽 金 牌 , 26 歲 參 加 羅 馬 奧 運 會 。(Born in 1934, Lam Seung-yi joined the Hong Kong First Division football club Eastern at age 16, represented the Republic of China at age 24 to win the Asian Games gold medal and participated in the Rome Olympics.)

(大公報 「阿叔」十六歲便加入本港甲組足球隊,曾勇奪亞運足球金牌,六零年參與羅馬奧運,七十年代掛靴轉為職業「講波佬」(Uncle joined a First Division football club at age 16, won the Asian Games gold medal and participated in the 1960 Rome Olympics.  In the 1970, he retired to become a football commentator.)

(頭條日報林尚義踢球的年代,正值本港足球水平極盛之時,其中最輝煌的成就,要數一九五八年代表台灣勇奪亞運足球金牌。(Lam Seung-yi played football in an era in which Hong Kong football flourished.  The most glorious result was that he represented Taiwan to win the Asian Games gold medal in 1958.)

(明報 他曾參加1960年羅馬奧運會等10多次國際賽事,最威水莫過於曾代表中華民國贏得1958年東京亞運金牌。(He participated in more than ten international competitions including the 1960 Rome Olympics.  The most glorious moment was when he represented the Republic of China to win the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games gold medal.)

Those Were The Days reported that ATV used Chinese Taipei.

[ESWN comment: The 1958 Asia Games team and the 1960 Rome Olympics team consisted of players from Hong Kong who played for the Republic of China.  Lam Seung-yi and his Hongkonger teammates played as Chinese players for China.  They did not play for Taiwan.  It is doubtful that they would play for a team named Taiwan or even Chinese Taipei.]

On December 1, 2008, <Network News> reporter Guan Jian was taken away by Zhangjiakou (Hebei) police officers from a hotel in Taiyuan (Shanxi).  The case drew public attention.  At the time, the police announced that Guan Jian was suspected of taking a bribe as a non-state employee.  The <Caijing> reporter learned that Guan Jian was arrested for involvement in the cover-up of a mining disaster in Weixian county (Hebei) and has been charged by the Kangbao county procuratorate on March 27.  The trial will commence soon, with the charge now being changed to coercing a transaction.

On December 1, 2008, Guan Jian was taken away by unidentified persons from a Taiyuan (Shanxi) hotel.  Fourteen days later, the disappearance of Guan Jian was reported by the media, leading to many speculations.  The next day, the Zhangjiakou (Hebei) police announced that Guan Jian had been detained for suspicion of receiving a bribe.  There was plenty of talk about the case.

Later, the reporter learned that the detention of Guan Jian was connected to the cover-up of the 7-14 explosion at the Lijiagui coal mine in Weixian county, Zhangjiakou city, Hebei province.  This incident took place on July 14, 2008, and 35 persons died.  The incident was exposed 85 days later.

After the disaster took place, the Zhangjiakou city publicity department deputy director Chang Yifeng paid "gag fees" multiple times to the media.  In the indictment document from the Kangbao county (Hebei) procuratorate, a great deal of details was disclosed.

The indictment document claimed that on July 16, 2008, the <Network News> worker Feng Hu and Xu Jungang who were based in Datong city (Shanxi province) learned about the 7-14 disaster through an informant.  They forwarded the information to the newspaper leader.  Afterwards, <Network News> chief editor Ren Pengyu arranged its top reporter Guan Jian to investigate the case.

Around July 20, 2008, Guan Jian with Feng Hu and Xu Jungang went to the coal mine site to investigate and obtained video evidence that confirmed the 7-14 disaster.  They attempted to interview the State Land Resources Bureau and the Coal Resources Bureau without success.  Over the next two days, Guan Jian completed a report on the 7-14 mining disaster and sent it back to the home office via the Internet.  At the same time, he informed Ren Pengyu that he was heading to Zhangjiakou the next day and he wanted the edited report sent directly there.  Ren Pengyu told Guan Jian that he would immediately edit the report.

On the afternoon of July 24, the indictment document claimed that Guan Jian turned the report over to Zhangjiakou city publicity department deputy director Chang Yifeng.  After reading the report, Chang said that the investigation of the 7-14 incident has not yet been completed and he would get back to <Network News> after the investigation is complete.  Guan Jian said that the report has gone through the regular process at the newspaper and "the decision to publish or not is beyond my hands."

Later, the Weixian county vice-mayor in charge of coal-related activities Wang Fengzhong read the report forwarded from Chang Yifeng and asked Chang to "use whatever means possible to suppress the report."  The reporter learned that Wang Fengzhong is under investigation by the relevant authorities, because he is the principal decision-maker and executor of the cover-up.

Later, Chang Yifeng contacted Guan Jian and asked for a delay of the report.  Guan Jian said that he could not decide.  So Chang Yifeng contacted <Network News> chief editor Ren Pengyu, who said that he could hold the report back but the details will have to worked out with Guan Jian.  Chang Yifeng contacted Guan Jian again.  Guan Jian said that since the chief editor agreed to postpone the report, "I don't have an opinion, but you have to spend 540,000 yuan to buy three pages of advertisements in <Network News>."  After some further negotiations, Weixian county agreed to buy two pages of advertisements worth 250,000 yuan, as well as 30,000 yuan in newspaper subscriptions in return for the temporary postponement of the report on the mining disaster.

When everything was done, Guan Jian took out a reel of videotape, snapped the tape and handed it over to Chang Yifeng.  According to Guan, this was the video recording for the 7-14 mining disaster.  Chang Yifeng and his companions left the <Network News> office and tossed the tape into a garbage receptacle.  He had no further contact with Guan Jian after that.

The indictment document said that the State Council began in an investigation of the 7-14 mining disaster and found out about the cover-up.  Guan Jian called Chang Yifeng and wanted the two advertisements for Weixian county be published as quickly as possible.  Chang Yifeng turned the project over to a subordinate.  On September 25 and October 9, <Network News> carried full page ads for cultural tourism in Weixian county.

As the cover-up was becoming unraveled, Chang Yifeng came under investigation for paying "gag fees" to reporters and also receiving bribes for himself.  Chang Yifeng quickly produced a list of reporters who received bribes, including Guan Jian.

The Zhangjiakou police began an investigation of Guan Jian.  On December 1, 2008, they took Guan Jian away from Taiyuan (Shanxi).  On the next day, they put Guan Jian under criminal detention for taking a bribe as a non-state employee.

On January 7, 2009, the Zhangjiakou procuratorate obtained authorization to arrest Guan Jian for "coerced transaction."  On March 9, the case was assigned to the Kangbao county court for trial.

In the indictment by Kangbao procuratorate, "Guan Jian used the information that he had on the 7-14 mining disaster as his bargaining chip and threatened to disclose the truth about the 7-14 mining disaster.  He applied mental pressure on Weixian and forced them to come up with 250,000 yuan in gag fees in an illegal transaction" and "therefore he should bear criminal responsibility for coercing a transaction."

Under the <Criminal Law Code>, a coerced transaction means the use of violence and threats to force others to buy products, provide service or receive service.  This is a serious offense punishable with not more than three years of imprisonment with possible fines.

The indictment document showed that <Network News> chief editor Ren Pengyu has returned the money.  The Kangbao procuratorate has also obtained information that other <Network News> persons have coerced transactions with other places in Zhangjiakou city in recent years.

At the time, it is not clear whether <Network News> will be held accountable over the Guan Jian case.

Related Link: Detentions raise old questions about protecting journalists  Emma Lupano, China Media Project, December 22, 2008;   Web of Silence Tied to Coal Mine Disaster   Wang Heyan, Caijing, February 22, 2009

April 20 marked the debut of the English-language version of Global Times.  At the launch cocktail party, People's Daily publisher Zhang Yannong gave a speech in which he said that Global Times is a major international news newspaper that the People's Daily publishes.  Since its debut in 1993, it has presented a real world to the Chinese readers, continually satisfying the right of Chinese readers to be informed about international affairs and thus receiving broad acceptance.

The Global Times chief editor Hu Tinjin said in his speech that Global Times has increased information exchange between China and the rest of the world, so that each side can see the complexity and diversity of the other side and hence decrease mutual misunderstanding.

When I read the speeches of these two gentlemen, I had to laugh inside.  This is not because I harbor any dark thoughts, but because of the result of my long-term attention paid to Global Times as a Chinese media worker.

What kind of "real world" did Global Times present to the Chinese readers over the past 16 years?  In my view, it is a false world in which China is still being besieged by hostile western powers like old times.

In this old world, China is being harassed by the western capitalist countries who are still bent on destroying China.  The old western enemies led by the United States are still hostile to China.  Japan, India and the South East Asian countries are all demonizing China.

Overall, China still faces a dangerous world in which the international situation is becoming increasing severe.  Under such circumstances, this is only going to increase the misunderstanding and hostility between China and the rest of the world.  How can there be "any decrease in misunderstanding"?

For example, Global Times never explains the American separation of powers (the executive, the legislative and the judiciary branches of government) to Chinese readers.  They do not explain the differences between the legislature and the government to their readers.  When the U.S. Congress or other social groups make anti-China legislative proposals, Global Times does not care what the President thinks and they will report it as the position of the United States.

For example, Global Times never explains the political system in France to the Chinese readers.  They don't explain the leftist background of the mayor of Paris, who opposes Sarkorzy and that the Snow Lion flag of Tibetan independence hanging in front of city hall was opposed by the Sarkorzy administration.

For example, Global Times never explains the democratic systems in Hong Kong and Taiwan to its readers in any detail.  They don't tell their readers about the importance of protecting human rights, as well as the social calm and order under these systems.  On the contrary, they keep playing up the street demonstrations in Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as the chaos inside their legislatures.

Favorite Global Times headlines are "America surrounds China strategically," "Japan's Self Defense Force treats China as imagined enemy," "Sarkorzy once against spouts nonsense talk," "Dark clouds in Taiwan Strait" and other sensationalistic topics.

Over the course of a dinner, a Global TImes editor answered the criticisms from others by saying that the headline stories in Global Times are based upon the feedback from the various distributors around the country and therefore they are satisfying what their readers want.

I objected that since China is fertile earth for extreme nationalism, a newspaper which is a public tool bears the responsibility for enlightening and leading the public instead of having no principles in front of the public on account of money.

It is possible to attract plenty of advertisements by being objective and neutral.  The success of the Southern Daily Group is proof.  Global Times is horrible not just because it is catering to but because it is often stimulating and manipulating extreme nationalism.  As a result, the new generation cannot look objectively at the world with many young people being narrow-minded and bigoted in their international views.  Global Times is one of the biggest home bases for Chinese angry youth.

So Global Times now has an English-language edition.  It claims to "use a rational and open-minded attitude to report and interpret important news in China and the world through the Chinese perspective."  It inherits the "objectivity and acuity of the Chinese-language Global Times, with the style of not avoiding sensitive issues.  The reporting will be even broader than the Chinese edition.  The world can see a dynamic world and listen to the sincere and candid voices of the Chinese people."

Frankly, I think that Global Times is likely to succeed.  As long as it stimulates and manipulates extremist nationalism just like the Chinese-language Global Times, there will be a market for it in China.  As to whether its reporting will be "rational" or "open" and whether its voice will be "sincere" and "candid," it is doubtful.

It would not matter if this was such for self-entertainment and self-deception.  But if as Associated Press says, "the publication of the English-language Global Times reflects the new soft power being promoted by China to set up a worldwide reputation," then I must say that this grand vision will likely fail.  Westerners do not believe in mouthpieces and they are not so easily fooled.

Related Link:  Journalism at the Global Times  Joel Martinsen, Danwei

The person who exposed <The Municipal Administrator's Practical Guide To Law Enforcement> on the Internet is Nanjing city Xuanwu district municipal administrator Zhao Yang.  It is perhaps the most famous municipal administrator on the Internet because he has published many essays about municipal administrative problems over the years.  In 2002, he established the "Municipal Administrator Home" forum the Xici Hutong BBS and made many self-critical and scandal-exposing essays there.

"I have been transferred several times, and I have been criticized by my supervisors," said Zhao Yang.  He regards the Internet exchanges as a way of letting "the outside word see the true situation of municipal administration" and therefore he continues to write about various problems, including more than 1 dozen posts on excerpts from <The Municipal Administrator's Practical Guide To Law Enforcement>.

Yesterday, Zhao Yang was interviewed by Southern Metropolis Daily.  Although he does not agree with the guideline "to make sure that no blood is visible on the face and no wounds are observable on the body" and although he is opposed to "violent law enforcement" and although he is sympathetic with small businessmen and vendors (sometimes even helping them to find work), he often used violent methods to enforce the law because he cannot accomplish his mission otherwise.

Q. You don't seem to agree with certain presentations in the book, but why were these methods chosen in the "official training"?
A: This book reflects reality relatively.  There are many technical things that are very practical.  For example, the part about how to intimidate resisters is very useful.  As another example, the book explained that when there are many spectators around, you should assume a moderate attitude.  When there are fewer people, you can use forceful techniques.  This is all you can do when you encounter violent resistance.

Q. This is the only way?
A. In the present reality, you can't get anything done if you don't follow this way.  For example, your supervisor issues order to evict all the curbside stands.  This is hard to do.  What should you do?  You can block them out, but as soon as you do so, you will encounter violent resistance.  Under the pressure, is there any way to avoid violence?  If you fail to accomplish your mission, you will flunk your evaluation.  Take us as an example.  Suppose the order was to have no curbside vendors.  The supervisors comes around to inspect and we get fined 40 yuan for each curbside vendor present.  Some of our law enforcement colleagues gets fined 500 or 600 yuan a month.  So the relationship between municipal administrators and street vendors is one of life and death.  To a certain degree, this book reflects reality.  We can also see from the book just how severe the situation has gotten to.

Q. What is the root of the problem?
A. I feel that the municipal administrators are a local law enforcement force.  This means that the various local municipal administration teams have different equipment, they lack a national set of laws and they are of uneven quality.  There are different levels of municipal administrators.  Some of them are public servants in charge of law enforcement, and they basically don't go into the streets.  There are the law enforcement squads who are business units.  Underneath them are the assistants who are hired from the outside and therefore may have many poor-quality persons.  They all wear the same uniforms, so nobody knows who is a permanent or temporary employee.

More importantly, a local law enforcement team will obey the orders of local leaders.  Therefore, the image of a local municipal administration squad depends largely on the ideas of the leader.  Some municipal leaders are open-minded and so the administrators are more gentle with the vendors.  Other municipal leaders are more demanding and so the administrators use more force.

Q. But municipal administrators usually have lousy images.
A. The reason why municipal administrators have lousy images is that their leaders are being evaluated on their accomplishments.  When their supervisors come and see that the streets look messy, they lose on impression.  Thus, the managers are under pressure.  It is not enough for the people to judge.

(HKGolden Forum)  Here is the cover story in the April issue of City University Monthly:

The headline asks: "The City University Student Council, how can you forget '64'?"  The opening line is: "Year nineteen eighty-nine, month June, fourth day, Communist Party Secretary-general Hu Yaobang suddenly passed away due to illness, the students held commemorative activities, they expressed their discontent with the various ills in society."  This has drawn strong reactions all around the Hong Kong internet forums, because the sentence can be read as factually inaccurately stating that Hu Yaobang died on the fourth day of the month of June in the year nineteen eight-nine.

The Student Editorial Committee responded with a public notice:

Some readers have made inquiries about the headline of the April Issue of City University Monthly.  We respond here.

The readers point out that Hu Yaobang was no longer the Communist Party Secretary-general at the time of his death; furthermore, Hu Yaobang did not pass away on the fourth day of the month of June in the year nineteen eight-nine.  Some readers believe that the writer was unclear in presenting the aforementioned information, which led to misunderstanding among readers.

After discussing this issue, we decided that this essay was indeed unclear in places and the cited information was lacking in precision.  We sincerely welcome the reader feedback, and we will make thorough reviews before we publish the next issue.

Our committee welcomes fellow students to continue to provide feedback about our publications.

A student posted a response underneath:

When a mistake becomes lack of clarity
When inaccuracy becomes misunderstanding
It is no wonder that someone before say that it is "somewhat problematic" to say that there was a massacre on the fourth day of June
This student made a JUDGEMENT, not an OPINION
You refuse to admit your error, and you even dare to use your lousy Chinese writing to get away?
You are a mere City University Editorial Committee.  Why use officialese on me?

Note: There is a byline on the article, and a human flesh search has been run on the author of that essay.

Democratic Progressive Party member Lai Mao-hsiung (賴茂雄) was interested in running for parliament, but he was handicapped by being yet another unknown candidate  So he decided to legally change his name to Lai Ching-lin (賴勁淋).  What is so good about this name?  It is a homonym for Lai Ching-lin (賴勁麟), who is a well-know member of parliament.  Candidates can also choose to state a nickname, so the former Lai Mao-hsiun  (and new Lai Ching-lin) chose "Legislator" as his nickname.

The preliminary primary election within the Democratic Progressive Party was based upon a survey to gauge public support.  In the survey, one question was supposed to be: "Do you know this candidate's nckname?"  So if the interviewer asks "Do you know Lai Ching-lin's nickname or alternate name?"  and the interviewee answers, "Oh, that member of parliament," the new Lai Ching-lin gets points.  Given the present circumstances, that question has been excluded from consideration.

Nevertheless, this ersatz edition of Lai Ching-lin ended up with the second highest score and will move on the next round ahead of two other rivals  The real Lai Ching-lin was not amused: "I think that this is unfair to others.  The Democratic Progressive Party ought to set up some rules and regulations, or else it would be even more chaotic in the elections."

The statement from the Democratic Progressive Party was: "The results are out.  It is inconvenient for us to comment here whether fairness was affected."

Performance with respect to developing a democracy in mainland China?
18.9%: Satisfied
47.3%: So-so
25.8%: Dissatisfied

Performance with respect to economic development in mainland China?
59.6%: Satisfied
29.5%: So-so
  6.0%: Dissatisfied

Management of Hong Kong affairs by the central government?
50.1%: Satisfied
35.1%: So-so
11.4%: Dissatisfied

Overall performance of the central government?
58.1%: Satisfied
32.5%: So-so
  5.8%: Dissatisfied

Performance of Chairman Hu Jintao?
73.0%: Satisfied
21.9%: So-so
  2.8%: Dissatisfied

Performance of Premier Wen Jiabao?
84.2%: Satisfied
11.9%: So-so
  1.6%: Dissatisfied

Performance of National People's Congress Standing Committee Chairman Wu Bangguo?
18.5%: Satisfied
40.0%: So-so
  7.2%: Dissatisfied
34.3%: Don't know/no answer

Trust in the central government?
50.7%: Trust
37.0%: So-so
  8.3%: Don't trust

Prospects for political future in mainland China?
51.8%: Optimistic
33.1%: So-so
10.2%: Pessimistic

Prospects for economic future in mainland China?
76.5%: Optimistic
16.2%: So-so
  5.2%: Pessimistic

Your personal identity?
49.3%: Hong Kong person
38.2%: Chinese person
11.4%: Both
  0.2%: Neither

The historical trend for "Hong Kong person":
2003 April: 57.1%
2004 April: 50.8%
2005 April: 54.8%
2006 April: 54.5%
2007 April: 52.4%
2008 April: 51.8%
2009 April: 49.3%

This historical trend for "Chinese person":
2003 April: 31.9%
2004 April: 34.9%
2005 April: 31.9%
2006 April: 35.2%
2007 April: 35.9%
2008 April: 37.4%
2009 April: 38.2%

Xici Hutong is a famous BBS forum in China.  A few years ago, someone came up with the idea of having a real-life Xici Street District in Nanjing to provide Internet users with a place to gather and spend money.  At first, this seemed a good idea.  Shortly afterwards, all sorts of other Internet-related businesses began to spout up all over the city.  Today the Xici Street District is a dying business district.  Therefore, a special apology ceremony was held with the big banner "I was wrong" to acknowledge the failed business model.  The Xici Street District will have a different kind of model in the future that does not rely solely on the Internet economy.




(Apple Daily)

The Legislature proved yesterday that it is the source of chaos in Taiwan!  Kuomintang legislator Lee Ching-hua criticized the Democratic Progressive Party legislator Chiu Yi-ying that she "should get some style and family upbrining" and called her a "shrew."  An angry Chiu attacked Lee from behind and administered a slap to his face.  The two camps then engaged in a physical tussle.  The meeting was then adjourned without hearing any reports about cross-strait affairs.

Afterwards, Lee Ching-hua went to the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office to charge Chiu Yi-ying with assault and public insult; Chiu said that she would file charges of public insult against Lee the next day and also said that she will not let "a low-class mainlander escape the long arm of the law."  But citizens and scholars are extremely annoyed at how the legislators from both sides won't engage in regular business but only know how to set bad examples for children in front of tv cameras.  One scholar that the Legislature resembles an "insane asylum."  Another scholar said, "The most regrettable thing about this violent incident is that it proved what Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan say that 'Taiwan is too chaotic.'  It is wrong to hit someone and to use gender-colored terms to curse other people.  But Chiu Yi-ying was also wrong to curse Lee out as a low-class mainlander.  Both sides need to improve their manners!"

Internet comments:
- One has a cheap mouth, and the other has zero EQ (emotional quotient)
- A bunch of idiots who just finished criticizing Jackie Chan a couple of days ago, but now they are showing that he was right.  They are retarded.
- Blue or green, verbal and physical violence must be deplored.
- So it is alright now to hit someone if they curse you!
- Stop using your parents as the excuse.  This is really disgusting!  She hit someone and wants to change the subject.
- She has the nerve to say that "she hit someone in order to preserve her good name."
- It was a good smack ... I don't like that family of Americans.
- Lee Ching-hua spoke inappropriately and provocatively.

(Apple Daily)  492 persons interviewed by interactive voice system

Do you approve of Chiu Yi-ying hitting Lee Ching-hua for scolding her?
31%: Approve -- Lee Ching-hua deserves to be hit for his cheap talk
53%: Disapprove -- this proves that Chiu Yi-ying is a shrew with poor family upbringing
16%: No opinion

Title: <The Municipal Administrator's Practical Guide To Law Enforcement>
Publisher: Chinese Academy of Administrative Science
Year: 2006
Available: Xinhua Bookstores, Chinese Book Net, and other outlets
ISBN: 7801404920
Summary of content: Basic principles of municipal administration, the four difficulties in enforcing municipal law, etc.

This book is currently a very hot topic of discussion on the Internet, because people have discussed certain astonishing paragraphs.


1. Do not let those who oppose you off easily.  Take your opponent onto your law enforcement vehicle and bring him down to either the police station or your office.  Ask them where they come from? How long have they been here? How dare they use violence to resist the law?  Do they know what appropriate penalties they should receive for the serious offense today?

2. Do not use violent methods to enforce the law in front of the public.  If you cannot avoid the presence of spectators, you should employ more moderate efforts.

3. Plan and make moves against violent resisters of law enforcement.  You must pay attention to make sure that no blood is visible on the face, no wounds are observable on the body and no witnesses are around.  You should complete your action in one rapid action sequence.  You should not leave any trails.  Once you decide to go ahead, you must act cleanly without any hesitation.  You must apply full force.

(South China Morning Post)  TVB panned for its film awards broadcast   

The reviews are in and they're not good for TVB. Hundreds of people have written to the Hong Kong Film Awards Association to complain about the broadcaster's handling of the awards show on Sunday, with viewers faulting editing decisions and the timing of advertisements.

Some viewers complained about TVB's decision to cancel a segment paying tribute to filmmakers who died in the past year and to show a shortened version of Josephine Siao Fong-fong's acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award.

Viewers were also upset that the broadcaster cut short a speech by Paw Hee-ching, who won best actress, in which she thanked ATV, TVB's competitor.

Despite cutting the segments, TVB kept a part in which best supporting actor nominee and co-host Louis Fan Siu-wong let slip a swear word while on stage.

(Apple Daily)  April 21, 2009

  • In handling out the best newcomer's award, Prudence Liew said: "Many newcomers are like mud nowadays.  Worse yet, they are soft mud which won't stay on the wall."
  • Sammo Hung commented on Jackie Chan for his recent remarks at the Bo'ao Forum: "What he said did not represent the Seven Little Fortunes, and the other things that he said does not represent the people of Hong Kong either."
  • In accepting the best male supporting actor's award, Liu Kai Chi said, "Here, I am very thankful to God for giving me the talent to act."
  • In presenting the best actress Paw Hee-ching, the master of ceremony Sandra Ng first said: "Sister Paw represents Asia.  She is the representative from ATV.  Awesome?"  This drew broad laughter among the audience. 
  • In her acceptance speech, Paw Hee-ching thanked her colleagues over at ATV.  Then master of ceremony Sandra Ng said that TVB senior executive Virginia Lok will be displeased.  The other master of ceremony Eric Tsang then said: "She wouldn't, but that segment will definitely be excised."  Indeed, TVB excised that part of the speech.
  • In chatting on stage, Louis Fan Siu-wong talked about the hardship involved in costume dramas, because the rock inside the shoe can be very (obscene term) painful.  (Apple Daily)  In a telephone interview, Fan said: "We were trying to figure out what to say three minutes before we went on stage.  Because the preparation was inadequate, I improvised.  I have been doing films in mainland China recently, so I had to switch between putonghua and Cantonese, so I might have slipped my tongue.  How can I utter an obscene term on such a grand event?  I don't usually use obscenties."  He also said, "My manager said that it sounded like an obscene term.  If that upsets people, I really have to say sorry."

But the most talked about story of the film awards is about Lynn Xiong's nipple.

Yesterday is the day when Wu Baoquan goes from the detention center in the city of Ordos (Inner Mongolia) into the local prison.  If his appeal fails, Wu Baoquan will have to spent the next one year and eight days in prison.

On April 27, Wu Baoquan was arrested in Shenyang city because he made comments on the Internet that insulted and libeled the government as well as individual persons.  After a series of judicial steps including a trial, an appeal, an increased sentence, another appeal and a sustained sentence, Wu learned on April 17 that the Ordos Middle Court has upheld the original sentence and he will have to serve prison from April 29, 2008 to April 28, 2010.

On April 19, this newspaper reported this Inner Mongolian case that was analogous to the Wang Shuai case.  The difference was that Wang Shuai received an official apology as well as state compensation.  But Wu Baoquan was arrested out of state, sentenced to one year in prison at the first trial and had the sentence increased to two years at the second trial.  This story created a stir on the Internet at the various major forums.  But at the Ordos forums at Baidu and elsewhere, discussion was limited.

Beginning yesterday afternoon, netizens began to notice that discussion on this case was restricted at the Ordos forum at Baidu.

"I just went into the Ordos forum and I found that I cannot make comments," netizen "hndn" explained over at KDNet.  Upon entering the Ordos forum, people were greeted with a notice: "Sorry, this forum is presently only accepting comments from administrators and experienced users who have registered for sufficiently long time."  This reporter personally verified yesterday that the notice exists.

Apart from limiting comments, there were also signs of deletions.  The reporter noted at 8:04pm last night, "QWEyoume" posted <Ordos is counterattacking, go netizens> at to comment on the situation at the Ordos forum at Baidu.  Half an hour later at 8:30pm, the reporter saw that the post had been deleted and is only viewable through the Baidu cache.

At the same time, another netizen "zhangfei2002" noted that People's Net, the Ordos bar, Sohu and other websites are deleting the posts about Wu Baoquan.

<Ordos is counterattacking> wrote "hndn."  Many netizens think that the deletion of the posts about Wu Baoquan showed that the local government is "starting an Internet block" whereby the "local government officials want to use their powers to take away our speech rights."

In the real world, Wu Baoquan is not the first netizen to have been convicted of a crime for making comments on the Internet.  But he is the first netizen who is reported to have his sentence increased after a re-trial.  Significantly, the story about the Henan provincial government apologizing publicly to Wang Shuai had just been a hot news story just before this.

According to a veteran netizen, "the comments on the Wu Baoquan case are the biggest in numbers in my experience."  As soon as the case of Wu Baoquan was made public, the related posts spouted up like fountains at the various major forums.

Apart from re-posting the reports by this newspaper on the Wu Baoquan case, the netizens are also discussing the case, calling for "rational approaches" and voicing their support for Wu Baoquan.

Other netizens aimed at the forum administrators for limiting postings: "Limiting comments is a sign of insanity" and "limiting comments can only achieve the opposite effect."  Some netizens even thought about flooding the forums.

The Ordos forum administrator replied that he was not responsible for limiting comments: "We don't have the power to do so."  At the same time, he also denied that he was deleting comments.  He said that Baidu usually do so only after receiving complaints.

Baidu admits that they are the ones who are limiting comments.  They explained that they are doing so in order to avoid the flooding of the forum: "We have noticed that there is a lot of discussion on this case, with many comments being made repeatedly to flood the forum.  We are limiting comments in order to protect the rights of netizens.  Previously registered netizens are not restricted in making comments.  Unregistered netizens are also not restricted in reading the comments."  This person also explained that the limitations are temporary measures.

But this person declined to comment on whether they are deleting posts due to pressure from the relevant departments.

Yesterday, Chongqing announced the postponement of price hikes for public transportation to the cheers of netizens.

The local Chongqing websites stated unequivocally that Internet public opinion was critical in the decision.  Although some netizens used extreme language, "the relevant Chongqing department showed rationality, tolerance and restraint by letting various ideas to ferment and public opinions to express themselves fully.  This is a classical case in which the millions of Chongqing citizens joined in making a public policy decision in the information age."

The common netizens are happy not just because transportation prices will not be rising, but they are happy to have participated in the campaign and achieved the goal.  "They were happily surprised to attain victory so quickly."  They had commented on the Internet, they produced and promoted the anti-price-hike t-shirts, they "lobbied" every representative of the hearing committee ... as the authorities stated, Internet public opinion has entered the process of public policy-making.

Yesterday, the Chongqing Price Bureau reported on its website: "After investigation, the municipal government has decided to postpone the proposed price reforms for three reasons.  First, The sustainable development of public transportation is a complicated process in which price reforms is just one aspect that must be considered in the full context of the overall reform.  Secondly, the public transportation price reform proposal has to be perfected by incorporating the opinions from all sides.  During the hearing, many recommendations were offered.  The relevant departments need to digest and study them and then proposed a practical proposal for price reforms.  Thirdly, there is presently a global financial crisis and the economic conditions of our city is not ideal.  At a time, when our citizens have to deal with certain economic problems, this is not the right time to introduce price reforms."

This report instantly became the hot topic for the local Chongqing websites such as Longhua, Chongqing News and others.  In the commentary essay <Internet democracy has become people's democracy: Chongqing postpones public transportation price hikes>: "We are sincerely happy about the democratic and open-minded action of the Chongqing policy decision-makers.  History will remember this moment when Internet democracy became people's democracy."

At the April 17 hearing on the price hikes, all speakers other than those who represent the management were opposed to the price reforms.  Outside the hearing hall, many netizens wore t-shirts that opposed the price hikes in silence protest.  China News reported their action together with photographs.  The news report immediately appeared at all the news portals and drew strong attention.  Thus, the actions of certain netizens became a national news story.

Among the protestors was one netizen who established two QQ groups that were organized to oppose the price hikes.  It was the netizens in these two groups who printed the anti-price-hike t-shirts.

On April 13, this newspaper reported that the anti-price-hike t-shirts had been confiscated by the police.  This drew Internet attention.  According to the netizen who paid for those t-shirts, the confiscated t-shirts have not yet been returned to him.  He said that the original intent was to print 1,000 t-shirts.  The first batch contained 300 t-shirts, of which the police confiscated 88.  So the other batches were not printed.  So far more than 100 t-shirts are out in circulation outside.

The QQ group netizens have discussed these t-shirts.  Many netizens joked that if the police had not confiscated those t-shirts, the case might not have been such a big deal.  As such, the Three Gorges police station should receive a flag of honor for their efforts.  Yesterday, certain netizens even took to the streets in a performance art action in the form of a relay run in the five major districts of Chongqing.  Every relay runner signed the t-shirt upon finishing his/her leg and pass the t-shirt on to the next runner.  There was no interference over the several hours of the event.

Apart from Internet commentary and t-shirt production, the netizens also contacted every speaker at the hearing.  The Chongqing municipal government had published the contact information for every speaker.  So the netizens called the speakers and expressed their views.  They also helped the speakers to collect the public transportation pricing plans for various other cities and other related information.  The most impressive speaker was the expert Yang Shenghong who spoke with several netizens in his office.  Some speakers even joined the QQ groups, so that the netizens knew about the location of the hearing even before the media did.

More interestingly, the two most fervent netizens actually do not use public transportation much themselves.  They were interested in this case because they thought that the price hikes were unreasonable.  The key was that the public transportation system is a monopoly,

According to a news report in Chongqing Morning News on April 19, the director Lu Chuan disclosed that the episode of the bodies of the dead "comfort women" being tossed onto the trucks used female university students who were completely nude and unafraid to go before the camera.

Even before the movie <Nanjing! Nanjing!> is shown to the public, it has already drawn a great deal of public attention.  The first reason is that the Nanjing massacre was a serious atrocity committed by the Japanese army during their war against China.  The second reason is that the movie used realistic techniques to represent the bloody scenes in this awful tragedy.

The director Lu Chuan used fully nude female university students in order to depict the beastly acts of the Japanese army in Nanjing.  He only wanted to use the sufferings of Chinese women in this massacre to show the historical precept that "being backwards means being oppressed."  He only wanted to shock all Chinese people and make them remember this ignominy forever.

Unexpectedly, Lu Chuan's realistic representation has drawn many undeserved criticisms.  Certain people talk about needing to remember history, but they will not permit any realistic representation of that history.  When they learned that female university students played "comfort women" in the nude, they wielded their big moral sticks to denounce that the use of young nude Chinese girls is like rubbing salt into the wound.

Actually, these moralists are misreading <Nanjing! Nanjing!> when they denounced the use of nude female university students.  When a movie with a historical subject deviates from the historical truth, it is a waste of time for the audience and it also loses any meaning or significance as a historical movie.

In looking at western movies about the Second World War, we see that terrible battle scenes and the bloody massacre scenes did not make the audience feel that this was rubbing salt into wounds.  In Steven Spielberg's <Schindler's List>, the ovens that were used to incinerate corpses and the trucks that were used to transport bodies managed to show the atrocities of the Nazis and make people yearn for peace, humanity and justice.

Herein lies the difference between eastern and western cultures.  When people say that the use of female university students to portray "comfort women" is to rub salt into the wound, they only show that the Chinese people are afraid and unwilling to confront history.  The result is that more tragedies occur in China repeatedly.

Who was the one who brutally ripped off the clothes off the Chinese women in Nanjing?  Who forced these Chinese women to let their naked bodies be abused by those beasts?  On the surface, it would seem to be those Japanese soldiers who were devoid of humanity.  But behind this bloody tragedy, it was the Chinese warlords who created a weak nation together.

We can say that the director Lu Chuan did not rub salt in the wound when he made the movie <Nanjing! Nanjing!>.  On the contrary, the movie is a wake-up call for all those who only know to say that China is not happy.  While nude female university students playing "comfort women" cannot be elevated to an act of patriotism, their actions have revived the issue of why the national tragedy took place in China in the 1930's.

  P. 254 九莉自己到了三十几岁,看了棒球员吉美·皮尔索的传记片,也哭得呼嗤呼嗤的,几乎嚎啕起来。
  港台版 P.291 九莉自己到了三十九岁,看了棒球员吉美·皮尔索的传记片,也哭得呼嗤呼嗤的,几乎嚎啕起来。


(Reuters)  Italy muzzled scientist who forewsaw quake.  By Gavin Jones.  April 6, 2009.

An Italian scientist predicted a major earthquake around L'Aquila weeks before disaster struck the city on Monday, killing dozens of people, but was reported to authorities for spreading panic among the population.

The first tremors in the region were felt in mid-January and continued at regular intervals, creating mounting alarm in the medieval city, about 100 km (60 miles) east of Rome.

Vans with loudspeakers had driven around the town a month ago telling locals to evacuate their houses after seismologist Gioacchino Giuliani predicted a large quake was on the way, prompting the mayor's anger.

Giuliani, who based his forecast on concentrations of radon gas around seismically active areas, was reported to police for "spreading alarm" and was forced to remove his findings from the Internet.

Italy's Civil Protection agency held a meeting of the Major Risks Committee, grouping scientists charged with assessing such risks, in L'Aquila on March 31 to reassure the townspeople.

"The tremors being felt by the population are part of a typical sequence ... (which is) absolutely normal in a seismic area like the one around L'Aquila," the civil protection agency said in a statement on the eve of that meeting.

"It is useful to underline that it is not in any way possible to predict an earthquake," it said, adding that the agency saw no reason for alarm but was nonetheless effecting "continuous monitoring and attention".

As the media asked questions about the authorities' alleged failure to safeguard the population ahead of the quake, the head of the National Geophysics Institute dismissed Giuliani's predictions.

"Every time there is an earthquake there are people who claim to have predicted it," he said. "As far as I know nobody predicted this earthquake with precision. It is not possible to predict earthquakes."

Enzo Boschi said the real problem for Italy was a long-standing failure to take proper precautions despite a history of tragic quakes.

"We have earthquakes but then we forget and do nothing. It's not in our culture to take precautions or build in an appropriate way in areas where there could be strong earthquakes," he said.

(Los Angeles Times)  Did scientist predict Italy earthquake?  By Jia-Rui Chong.  April 7, 2009.

More than a week ago, a scientist little known in earthquake circles made a bold prediction of a destructive earthquake in the Abruzzo region of central Italy based on spikes in radon gas. Giampaolo Giuliani went so far as to tell the mayor of a town there that it would strike within the next 24 hours.

His deadline passed and for days, nothing happened.

Then, early Monday, a magnitude-6.3 earthquake struck near the town of L'Aquila, sparking a controversy around the world about whether Giuliani truly predicted the temblor or whether it was a fluke of timing.

"This happens all the time," said Tom Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, who is also principal investigator on a worldwide project called the Collaboratory for the Study of Earthquake Predictability. "People send out predictions based on various stuff. It's always hard to evaluate."

The controversy around Giuliani is the latest twist in the maddening scientific quest to predict earthquakes. Over the decades, many ideas have been tested, including studies of cockroach activity along faults, ground warping and the movement of air masses.

"Being able to predict earthquakes is the Holy Grail of seismology," Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson said. "The more we try, the less progress we seem to make."

In 1975, scientists thought the riddle had been solved. Chinese government officials detected foreshocks and successfully evacuated the area of Haicheng before a magnitude-7.3 earthquake. Unfortunately, authorities were not able to predict the Tangshan earthquake a year later, and several hundred thousand people died.

Researchers said most of the ideas over the years have been discredited, including the radon gas theory that Giuliani used when making his earthquake prediction in Italy.

Soviet scientists appear to have done the pioneering work in the radon field, correlating radon and thoron emissions in well water near Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in the 1960s to an earthquake in 1966. China and Japan also invested in radon research.

Interest in radon as an earthquake signal peaked in the 1970s in California, said Susan Hough, who serves as scientist in charge at the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena and is writing a book on earthquake prediction. In 1979, for instance, scientists at Caltech and other institutions said they found changes in gas levels in Southern California wells right before earthquakes in Malibu and Big Bear that year.

"The whole thing deflated when the places where they had detected [radon] had no earthquakes and earthquakes happened in different areas," Hough said.

Giuliani, who is a technician at Italy's well-respected National Institute of Nuclear Physics, appears to have spoken up about his radon data as early as March 24, in an interview on the Italian blog Donne Democratiche.

Warner Marzocchi, chief scientist at Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology, said he first heard about Giuliani's prediction around March 28, when the statements were broadcast on television and radio.

Residents of the Abruzzo region were already on edge because a series of small earthquakes had been rattling the area for weeks, mostly around a town called Sulmona, about 30 miles south of L'Aquila, Marzocchi said.

Giuliani told the mayor of Sulmona that a quake would strike in six to 24 hours, Marzocchi said.

The Italian Civil Protection Agency tried to downplay the predictions, but some residents of Sulmona evacuated, Marzocchi said. They had returned by the time the quake struck near L'Aquila, but there was no major damage in Sulmona, he said.

"It's impossible to give credit to him," he said. "Nothing happened for one week -- and in a different place!"

Giuliani's old-school predictions come at a time of progress in earthquake forecasting, after the disillusionment of the 1980s and '90s, Jordan said.

Technological improvements have allowed scientists to collect more data at fault lines and to generate complicated computer models based on reams of historical earthquake statistics, Jordan said.

"To show you're doing better than guessing requires some very careful testing procedures," he said. "We've got a whole series of models that are being formally tested in California to see if they do a better job of predicting earthquakes than other models."

The best models, he said, consider the whole cascade of foreshocks, main shocks and aftershocks. The group is preparing a scientific paper on its preliminary results, he said.

(Amsel at  Please do not jerk yourself off with the Italian earthquake prediction.  April 7, 2009.

After the L'Aquila earthquake in Italy, the local government and earthquake researchers encountered the same troubles that their Chinese colleagues had to deal with last year.  The Chinese reporters were inspired to write headline such as "government suppress prediction" at Rednet.  These moves are intended to compare Italy's Gianpaolo Giuliani with the Chinese earthquake prediction masters at last year's Wenchuan earthquake.  So let us compare these two 'earthquake predictions.'

First, the two predictions had different coverages.

Giuliani's prediction is for the 24 hours beginning March 30 and the location is the city of Sulmona (which is 50 kilometers away from L'Aquila."  The time and place were very precise.

The ballyhooed earthquake predictions in China covered large swaths of areas.  None of them matched the Wenchuan earthquake in time and location.  The most hyped case was Geng Jingguo which specified ten days before and after May 8th variously "somewhere in China," "south of Lanzhou down to the border of Sichuan, Gansu and Qingzhuang," and "150 kilometers within Hongyuan in Aba Prefecture in Sichuan province.  The two latter specified locations did not cover the Wenchuan epicenter (which is more than 170 kilometers away from Hongyuan).

Secondly, the precursor evidence is different.

Giuliani based upon the series of minor local earthquakes as well as radon gas release.  While these two indicators have high rates of false positives, they are nevertheless factors that are related to earthquakes.  They are included among the five indicators accepted by the International Vulcanology and Earth Interior Physics Society.

As for the predictions from these Chinese "national treasures" and "maestros," they are all based upon Chinese style "autonomous innovations such as magnetic storms (which are related to solar activities but unrelated to earthquakes), "long distance earth electricity" (which uses local signals to predict earthquakes more than four thousand miles away).  The evidence over the year that there "abnormalities" have no significance for prediction.

Thirdly, the actions after the predictions were made were different.

Giuliani believed in his predictions and so he publicized on the Internet and he also used loudspeaker trucks.  After his "predictions" were muzzles, some citizens demanded the government to apologize to him.

Meanwhile, the prediction masters of China keep lying year after year.  They have no confidence in themselves, and so they will only make private predictions because they say that the law prohibits earthquake predictions.  After the fact, they will claim that they are heartbroken because their predictions turned out to be correct.  But it is hard to confirm that they actually made those life-saving predictions.

But Giuliani and the Chinese prediction masters share one thing in common -- their predictions missed the earthquake.  Giuliani predicted the earthquake to occur within the 24 hours as of March 30.  The earthquake actually occurred on April 5.  Giuliani predicted that the location was Sulmona, where nothing happened on March 30 and only mild damage was sustained when the earthquake hit L'Aquila on April 6.  So even if Giuliani's prediction was not muzzled, what does it matter?

Of course, Giuliani's misfortune was that he was not born in China.  If he were a Chinese earthquake predictor, he would have an "internal prediction."  An error of 50 kilometers one week later would have attained first-class result status and provided proof that "Chinese earthquake prediction leads the world."  But Giuliani's prediction is not being regarded as accurate by the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology and the US California Institute of Technology researchers.

At the bottom of this, earthquakes are small-probability events which are unlikely to be predicted accurately using scientific methods.  Therefore, the Italian scientists are concluding that the important thing is to improve the quality of their buildings: "We have earthquakes but then we forget and do nothing. It's not in our culture to take precautions or build in an appropriate way in areas where there could be strong earthquakes."

(New York Times)   Confusing Patterns With Coincidences   By Susan Hough.  April 11, 2009.

In the aftermath of the earthquake at L’Aquila, Italy, on Monday that killed nearly 300 people, splashy headlines suggested that these victims didn’t have to die.

An Italian researcher, Giampaolo Giuliani, began to sound alarm bells a month earlier, warning that an earthquake would strike near L’Aquila on March 29. The prediction was apparently based on anomalous radon gas concentrations in the air; the region had also experienced a number of small tremors starting in mid-January. Mr. Giuliani was denounced for inciting panic by Italy’s Civil Protection Agency, and he was forced to take his warning off the Web after March 29 came and went without significant activity.

Should Italian officials have listened? Should the public have heeded the warnings? With 20-20 hindsight the answer certainly appears to be yes. The real answer is no.

Scientists have been chasing earthquake prediction — the holy grail of earthquake science — for decades. In the 1970s American seismologists declared that the goal was reachable. Yet we have little to no real progress to show for our efforts. We have a good understanding of the planet’s active earthquake zones. We’re pretty good at forecasting the long-term rates of earthquakes in different areas. But prediction per se, which involves specifying usefully narrow windows in time, location and magnitude, has eluded us.

The key question is, can we find precursors that tell us that a large earthquake is imminent? Various phenomena have been investigated: radon levels, changes in earthquake wave speeds, the warping of the earth’s crust, even the behavior of cockroaches and other animals.

The game goes like this: you look back at past recordings of X, where X is radon or whatever, and find that X had shown anomalies before large earthquakes. But the problem is that X is typically what we call a “noisy signal” — data that includes a lot of fluctuations, often for varied and not entirely understood reasons — so finding correlations looking backward is about as meaningful as finding animals in the clouds.

We do know that some earthquakes, including the L’Aquila event, have foreshocks, but we can’t sound alarm bells every time little earthquakes happen because the overwhelming majority — 95 percent or so — will not indicate a coming major quake.

The public heard about Mr. Giuliani’s prediction because it appears to have been borne out, albeit several days after he said the earthquake would happen. But there are scores of other predictions that the public never hears about. And that is a good thing because scientists have yet to be able to accurately predict coming earthquakes. Investigating precursors like radon is a legitimate avenue of research, but until and unless the track record of a method is shown to be statistically significant, making public predictions is irresponsible.

Progress is slow in developing prediction methods, since, after all, they can be tested only by waiting for earthquakes to happen, and the earthquakes we care most about, like the deadly 6.3 magnitude quake in Italy, fortunately don’t happen every day. In the meantime, society’s keen interest in the subject occasionally collides with deliberative research, and misunderstandings like that involving Mr. Giuliani are the unfortunate consequences.

The public would like scientists to predict earthquakes. We can’t do that. We might never be able to do that. What people and government can do is work to make sure our houses, schools and hospitals don’t fall down when the next big one strikes, and that we’re all prepared for the difficult aftermaths. We can look around our homes and our workplace and think about what would happen to them if the terra firma suddenly ceased being firm. We can stop worrying about predicting the unpredictable, and start doing more to prepare for the inevitable.

Recently, Chinese bloggers Song Zude and Guo Degang have been engaged in a battle of saliva.  The squabble between the two began in late February this year when one of the founders of the Deyun Society, Zhang Wenxun passed away.  Song Zude's "colleague" Liu Xunda posted a blog essay titled <Guo Degang drove Zhang Wenxu to death over control rights of the Deyun Society>.  This essay claimed that Guo Degang wanted to seize total control of the Deyun Society and therefore he drove the society founder to death.

Shortly afterwards, Song Zude posted on his own blog about <Little Shenyang cannot stay as popular at the end of 2009? and said that "if every man in China becomes like Little Shenyang, then how far away from destruction can China be?>

On March 20, Guo Degang told the media that the expert critics of Little Shenyang only "know how to oppress pepole shamlessly!"

On March 24, Song Zude pronounced the works of the two (Gua Degang and Little Shenyang) as worthless, and their collaborative work is a case of two bad persons working together.  

On March 28, "Liu Xunda" wrote in this blog that <Guo Degang is not the father of his son> and claimed that Guo was impotent by nature and therefore the son cannot be his.

On March 30, Guo Degang wrote in his blog post <To live in this world> that Song Zude was an eunuch who will be struck dead by lightning.

On that same evening, Song Zude quickly replied in <On other rotten facts about Guo Degang> and claimed that Guo drank urine from girls everyday in the hope of curing his impotentence.

This mudslinging contest may be hard to judge, but the netizens generally favor Guo Degang who is thought to be slightyl better in terms of curses, sarcasms, ironies, etc.

According to informed sources, "Liu Xunda" is a sock-puppet of Song Zude.