When I first read about the Hangzhou incident, I was outraged. Then I calmed down. Amidst the hubbub, I seemed to have come up with some things which I couldn't articulate at first. At this time, this incident has gone beyond a normal traffic accident. I would like to share some of my thoughts with you.
1. Traffic accidents are now an inextricable and inevitable of human civilization today. Although traffic accidents are bloody, they are part of the forward progress of human civilization. We need to rationally handle this Hangzhou traffic incident in terms of historical materialism.
2. A driver obviously needs to drive safely. But we must not forget the unique set of circumstances in China whereupon certain criminal elements deliberately dive into oncoming cars in order to extort the driver. Many drivers have come across such situations.
The deceased Mr. Tan came from the backwards Hunan province and he is looking forward to get married. Therefore, he must be economically stressed. When he saw these luxury cars come and go, he must get lots of ideas. At a minimum, he must have been distracted when he crossed the street because he had plenty on his mind. Therefore, the incident occurred. This is a tragedy. Apart from Mr. Tan, the driver Mr. Hu is a victim too. When a young person such as him encounters such an incident, he is bound to suffer mentally. We know indirectly that Mr. Hu comes from a family of well-known Hangzhou entrepreneurs. His father is a patriotic entrepreneur and a very likeable person. The impact of this incident on the Hu family is far more significant than that on the Tan family. The dead has departed, so we should be more considerate about the living.
3. In terms of contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of China as well as Hangzhou, the family of Hu Bin is immeasurably more important than the Tan Family. Wu Bin is the builder, sponsor and economic supporter that Hangzhou needs. Meanwhile Tan has just joined the workforce and his contribution is small -- in fact, he is using more resources from than he is contributing to Hangzhou. When we deal with the problem, this should be our first consideration.
4. This is just a normal traffic accident. This is a typical traffic accident. There is no need to exaggerate this to the point of sending a threatening letter to the mayor. Once people do that, the nature of the incident is altered and we can no longer deal with the matter with a harmonious spirit. Certain people with ulterior motives are using this ordinary traffic accident against our government and our entrepreneurs. This is an assault on the economic reforms and opening.
We must be vigilant and pay special attention to the political tendencies and schemes.
Based upon the above, I personally strongly urge the Hangzhou police to stave off the pressure and deal with the matter in a pragmatic way in accordance with the law. We cannot give up our principles and favor someone just because he is dead. We must hold onto a scientific attitude.
I believe that the preliminary findings of the traffic police are accurate, scientific and law-abiding.
Based upon the above analyses, I call on everybody to safeguard the hard-earned prosperity of Hangzhou, to defend the legal rights of the driver involved in the incident and to protect comrade Hu Bin!
Tan Zhuo, male, born in 1984, hometown Ningxiang (Hunan province), only child. In 2002, he entered the Department of Information Science and Electrical Engineering (Zhejiang University) to major in Communications Engineering. In 2006, he graduated and stayed in Hangzhou to work as an employee of ECI Telecom. He was about to get married.
At 20:50pm on May 7, 2009, he bought a ticket for the movie "City of Life and Death" (aka <Nanjing! Nanjing!>). This is the sixth year that he has been in Hangzhou, so he was walking around a city that he was familiar with. Perhaps he might have heard the low roar of three modified cars approaching from afar. But why was that unusual? He was in his city and he can hear that kind of noise every evening.
Consequently, he was totally unprepared when he was rammed by a red modified Mitsubishi race car the next second. His head hit the front window glass which immediately shattered to pieces. He was catapulted into the air by the force of the collision, even spun a few times in the air, before he dropped to the ground. Blood began to ooze slowly from his mouth and nose. According to eyewitnesses, he "was launched into the air higher than a public bus." When the ambulance arrived, the crew determined that Tan Zhuo's heart had already stopped beating. On Wener Road, the speed limit was 50 kilometers per hour. That red Mitsubishi was racing at more than 70 kilometers per hour.
A Mitsubishi race car; a modified vehicle; a rich young man. These three factors would have been enough to arouse the wrath of the people. Some day, the driver Hu Bin's biggest regret may be that he hit a Zhejiang University graduate. Tan Zhuo is a typical new migrant in Hangzhou. He was born in the 1980's and grew up in a small town in inland China. He studied hard for 12 years and beat out several hundred thousand other students to gain admission into a first-class national science/technology university to major in engineering science. After graduation, he joined a local company, earned a salary and got into a romance. He was prepared to develop slowly, saving a bit of money at a time to eventually buy an apartment, get married and settle down. This kind of life is neither lofty nor lowly, neither good nor bad. But for many other students, it would be their Hangzhou dream too to get a job there and settle down. But now a speeding car driven by a rich young man has destroyed that Hangzhou dream. When the people read in the news report that "the person who caused the accident had a bad attitude," they were enraged. The BBS at Zhejiang University boiled over with rage.
Within 48 hours, this news item appeared at all the major BBS and portals across China. Young students flooded the forums repeatedly and left comments at the major blogs to call for media and Internet attention on this case. The relevant authorities in Hangzhou seemed to have noticed this and they issued the routine orders to control and guide public opinion. They felt that it was embarrassing to have this headline story and they can make the matter go away through appropriate controls. But Hangzhou is an inalienable part of the People's Republic of China. In Hangzhou, there is a real-name registration system, but no such thing exists at the other Chinese BBS's. The Hangzhou media may be forced to use only the officially designated reports, but the other media in China do not have to do so. In Hangzhou, the media reporters may not be able to write in their media, but they continued to speak out in their blogs. Reporters are people too and therefore they have to earn a living. At the same time, reporters know how to speak because they are people too.
Citizens of Hangzhou went to the scene to pay tribute to Tan Zhuo. Clearly, they are unhappy with the car racing that has been going on in this city. For them, the matter is not just pity for a deceased young man. His death symbolizes a certain chronic illness that threatens the lives of everybody in this city. Tan Zhuo is dead, and he could be any citizen. Everybody can face his fate -- to walk in your own city, get hit by a young car racer, tossed into the air, spun around, dropped into the ground and then be dead. What happens after the death of Tan Zhuo is not just a matter for his family, but it is everybody's business. This time, Tan Zhuo died for all the people of Hangzhou. What happens next? The people need to understand just what kind of city they are living in. Is Hangzhou "the paradise on earth" with the all the singing and dancing in ancient lore? Or it is a city where rich young man can speed in cars and kill people?
Human flesh search began immediately on the driver. A traffic violation record from December 7, 2008 was truly astounding:
This record showed that on December 7, 2008, the driver was speeding at 210 kilometers/hour on the Shanghai-Hangzhou Expresswway (which had a speed limit of 120 kilometers/hour). According to <Traffic Laws>, anyone who speeds at more than 50% higher than the speed limit should have his/her driver's license taken away. The incident on May 7, 2009 showed that this law is a joke. So everybody began to ask: If this driver had his license taken away in accordance with the law, would Tan Zhuo be still alive? Once this question got started, the next ones came naturally: Why did this driver get extra consideration from the law? Where did things go wrong? Who authorized this extralegal move? And why aren't street racing being restricted effectively?
If there is true justice and fairness in this world, then there must be an explanation to those for whom the deceased was a son, an employee or a fiancé. An explanation must be given to all those citizens who walk in the streets. Those who enable this driver to have a license to kill must stand up and give an explanation. Hangzhou has always been known as paradise. So the citizens should know whose paradise is this and whose hell is this.
Tan Zhuo when he was alive
Tan Zhuo, May 7, 2009
Related Link: Car racing incident Oiwan Lam, Global Voices Online; Street Racing Rich Kid Kills Pedestrian, Netizens Outraged ChinaSMACK
Laughing and joking after the incident
According to a report in United Daily News (Taiwan), the mainland scholar Xue Xiang (who is Associate Professor of Art History at the Nanjing Academy of Arts) was visiting Taiwan and discovered a fan with the original calligraphy by Wang Chong in the restroom of the Grand Hotel in Taipei. Xue estimated that this fan is worth at least USD 10,000. The inference is the Grand Hotel had no idea about what it had.
The renowned Taiwan calligrapher Chen Hongmian then went down to the Grand Hotel to check out the fan himself. He said that he knew that this was a fake as soon as he saw it, because it was of the wrong size, sheen and paper quality. Furthermore, Wang Chong's original poem had seven more lines which were eliminated in order to fit the space in the Grand Hotel restroom.
The National Palace Museum in Taipei has the original item and indeed it had seven more lines. Because of this brouhaha, the National Palace Museum held a solemn press conference. They stated that the original item is still in the possession of the National Palace Museum while the Grand Hotel is only displaying a reproduction that can be purchased for only 50 RMB.
The ball goes back to Xue Xiang who has changed his tune: "I did not open the glass to examine it." As for his previous claim to the reporters that he was willing to bet his academic reputation on it, Xue Xiang said: "This was definitely the right item. That leaves only two possibilities: it was either an original or else it was a high-quality replica."
The National Palace Museum is quite pleased that a 50 RMB replica could be appraised by an expert as "worth at least USD 10,000 on the market." The museum has decided to print more of the fans.
From May 3, the essay <Cheers for the AeroMexico flight arriving in Shanghai on time> turned its writer "Yi Fe" into an Internet celebrity.
Netizens searched and found that Yi Fei had published 20 other blog posts with titles like <Cheers for ...>. They also found that he was voted as one of the top ten commentators at a certain national website. Thus, some netizens think that he is a specialist in cheering and therefore they began to refer to him as The King of Cheering.
Yesterday, our reporter confirmed that Yi Fei is a public servant in a certain county in Guangzhou province. He told the reporter he wrote those Internet commentaries purely out of personal interest and he has never received any money from any government department. He uses a penname because he is concerned that certain critical comments may conflict with his status as a public servant. He did not imagine that he would become the target of Internet criticism because 20 out of his one thousand or so commentaries had titles like <Cheers for ...>.
According to media reports, AeroMexico flight AM098 arrived in Shanghai Pudong Airport at 6am on April 30. On May 1, Yi Fei published the essay <Cheers for the AeroMexico flight arriving in Shanghai on time> at East Net. This essay said that "at a time when Mexico is facing a crisis, China was the first in the world to lend a supporting voice of sympathy." Therefore, "the author cheers the arrival of this flight from the epidemic zone in Shanghai on schedule because this is cheering China's firm insistence on humanitarianism ... because of this spirit, China will always be the true friend of all the people in the world ... China has friends everywhere." At the same time, "this author cheers the arrival of the AeroMexico in Shanghai on schedule because this is cheering the pragmatic spirit of the China Civil Aviation Administration."
On May 2, some netizens began to re-post this essay at places like the Tianya Forum. They also found out that there were 19 other essays by Yi Fei with titles like <Cheers for ...>, such as <Cheers for Zhang Yimou getting a 100 perfect score once more>, <Cheers for the third generation of Ma Zedong being disinterested in getting into politics>, etc. These essays appeared mainly at Xinhua.net, China.com and other influential natioanl websites.
Apart from these commentaries, netizens also found that Yi Fei finished among the top 10 Internet commentators of the year in 2007. Our reporter also found out that Yi Fei finished third with 4168 votes (4.53%) in the 2005 Excellent Internet Commentators of the Year at that same website.
Certain netizens linked that <Cheers for ...> essays with this title of <Excellent Internet commentator>. They say, "The cheers from Yi Fei must have been approved or ordered."
At some forums, Yi Fei is referred to as a "cheering specialist" by some netizens. They even named him "the King of Cheers" or a member of "The Cheering Party."
Our reporter determined that it is inaccurate to say that Yi Fei only writes cheering essays. Over at Xinhua.net, he wrote several hundred essays from February 26, 2003 up to now. Within these essays, the 20 "cheering" articles only account for a very small fraction. His other essays include <This is the right moment to properly name "curbside economy"> in reference to the itinerant vendors on the streets of Beijing, as well as <What can't several government departments together manage a pig> in reference to the use of leanness-enhancing agents in pork meat. These other essays are mostly critical of government administration and quite different from the <Cheers for ...> essays that are drawing attention.
Yet, the Internet is only interested in circulating the <Cheers for ...> essays. In fact, most netizens actually only read the essay titles and make judgment immediately. Still, some netizens are criticizing this tidal wave of criticism and sarcasm because they feel that the Internet is a platform for free expression and nobody should be labeled just because they hold different views. As for the human flesh search on Yi Fei, this is a piece of action that invades privacy and hurts freedom of speech on the Internet.
[Note: This essay drew even greater attention when it turned out that AeroMexico 098 had a Mexican passenger who was carrying the swine flu virus.]
Here is the health report on CSB:
“I have a heart condition. My heart aches at night and I have cold sweats, but I dare not talk about it,” he said hoarsely. He said his lawyer told him that electrocardiography data showed he had problems in four places in his heart, but the detention center hadn’t informed him. At this point, he paused in silence, then sniffled and took out a tissue to wipe his nose.
Tsai gave Chen 30 minutes to speak. When his time was up, he put his head down on the table. Upon seeing this, Tsai asked Chen whether he was feeling unwell, then allowed him to rest in another room. After Chen left the courtroom, his lawyers continued to speak in his defense and said the court should release him on bail so he could be hospitalized.
After about half an hour, Chen came back into the courtroom with his body shaking and his face pale. He had difficulty walking and had to be escorted by two bailiffs, one on each side. Seeing this, some of Chen’s supporters who had been watching the trial began to cry.
Chen continued to shake until Tsai said he would ask the detention center to keep an eye on his physical condition and adjourned the hearing, ordering that Chen be sent back to the detention center until further notice.
Outside the courthouse, Chen’s office secretary Chiang Chih-ming (江志銘) told reporters that Chen had been suffering from a heart condition, asthma, arthritis, deteriorating eyesight and other illnesses. He said the shaking was probably because of his heart problems and that they had not seen this happen before.
In response, Taipei Detention Center Deputy Director Lee Ta-chu (李大竹) said that the scan that Chen had referred to was performed when he refused to eat last November. Lee said they informed Chen of his results and Chen’s most recent scan last month showed no signs of illness.
(Apple Daily) Chen Shui-bian said at his detention hearing that he has fever, heart aches, cold sweat and difficulty in walking. Do you believe that he is really ill?
55.4%: I don't believe him -- he is a first-rate actor and people must not be fooled by him
35.5%: I believe him -- he is really ill and we should get medical leave based upon human rights
9.1%: Don't know/no opinion
First consideration: politics. According to Oriental Daily, an agreement was reached between the Hong Kong Department of Health and the Mexican consulate to permit two Mexican nationals currently under quarantine in the Metropark Hotel to depart on a special flight chartered by the Mexican government.
The Hong Kong Department of Health denied that politics has trumped public health in this case. They repeatedly emphasized that the process meets the public interest and that the Mexican man who was diagnosed with the swine flu was still being held under quarantine. There are more than 200 other travelers from other nations still held under quarantine in the Metropark Hotel and the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village. Just like the Mexicans, they show no symptoms either. However, they cannot leave. Is this fair play?
Second consideration: feasibility. 1-555-CONFIDE deals with the issue of the number of generations which need to be quarantined. Generation 0 is the Mexican man who has a confirmed case of A/H1N1 swine flu. Generation 1 are the people who had direct contact with Case 0. Here are the disposition status of Generation 1 who are under quarantine:
- The Mexican man was seated in 23A on China Southern flight MU 505 and many but not all those who traveled from Shanghai to Hong Kong in the rows 20 to 26 have been tracked down and placed under quarantine.
- The taxi driver who took Case 0 from the Hong Kong International Airport to the Metropark Hotel is presently spending seven days at the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village. (Oriental Daily) Mr. Wu said that that the CID detectives yelled at him: "Do you know that you are a hidden time bomb!"
- The two Mexican men who traveled with Case 0 and went to the Metroparhk Hotel were quarantined but allowed to depart on the special charter flight.
- A Mexican woman who met the three Mexican men at the airport and went back to the Metropark Hotel in the taxi is spending seven days at the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village.
- Most of the guests and workers at the Metropark Hotel were quarantined. Among these were people who checked into the hotel after the Case 0 had gone off to Ruttonjee Hospital and therefore could not have physical contact (thus, they are at best Generation 2). Missing were those guests who did not return to the hotel including one man who abandoned his luggage at the hotel and attempted to head straight back to Sichuan (but he was stopped at border control in Luowu).
- The taxi driver who took Case 0 from the Metropark Hotel to the Ruttonjee Hospital is also presently spending seven days at the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village.
But here are some "hidden time bombs" who are not under quarantine:
- Other persons who came into near contact with Case 0 at the Hong Kong International Airport, including immigration officers, customs inspectors, baggage handlers, other passengers at the luggage carousel, etc.
- Case 0 checked into the Metropark Hotel that evening. The next morning, he went over to the Gifts and Premiums Fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, which had tens of thousands of attendees. Who did he have breakfast with? Who did he meet at the Fair? Who did he shake hands with? Who did he try to get business deals with? Who did he have lunch with? In the early evening on that day, Case 0 felt ill and went to the Ruttonjee Hospital by taxi.
- At the Ruttonjee Hospital, he was a walk-in patient with no clear indication that he had an infectious disease. He walked in at 7pm and he was officially diagnosed with the A/H1N1 swine flu at 8pm on the following evening (because a preliminary test was negative). Who sat next to him while he waited to see a doctor? What other unwary person did he have contact with before he was sent to the isolation ward at Queen Mary Hospital?
The reason why these other "hidden time bombs" are not quarantined is because there is no way to do it. It is not that these people pose a lesser threat to the community than those people at the Metropark Hotel. It is just that the people at the Metropark Hotel can be quarantined and therefore they were. The people at the Gifts and Premium Fair cannot be identified so easily and they are far too numerous. Therefore they were not quarantined.
In the case of the Metropark Hotel, there are some people who are demonstrably Generation 2 because they checked into the hotel after Case 0 had left for the Ruttonjee Hospital. Let us suppose that you believe that Generation 2 people pose risks as well. But what about some of the other Generation 2 people?
The best case in point is that the taxi driver named Wu who took Case 0 from the Hong Kong International Airport to the Metropark Hotel. It took several days for the Hong Kong Police's Criminal Investigative Division to locate him. Meanwhile, he drove taxi during the day and went home at night to spend time with his wife and two daughters (who are in primary and middle school respectively). How much closer can they get? His family members are therefore Generation 2 as well. Their contacts (such as the students in the schools) are Generation 3. But somehow the Health Department regards the family members as posing no risk whatsoever and they are free to roam around right now.
If the Department of Health is really serious about Generation 2, they would have done more. But they aren't. The Generation 2 people in the Metropark Hotel are being quarantined because they can be. It takes too much work to sort out who is Generation 1 versus Generation 2 at the Metropark Hotel, so it is easiest to quarantine everyone.
Over the last couple days, an Internet post entitled <Wang Shuai of Sichuan was detained for Internet commentary and seeks help from society> was circulated at the major forums such as KDnet, Sina.com and others. This Wang Shuai was not the same one of Lingbao county (Henan province) who was detained for Internet commentary. This newest Wang Shuai is a teacher from Auyue county (Sichuan province). For this story, the reporter verified the identification of this Wang Shuai as having that name and place of origin.
In October 2008, Wang Shuai had just returned home after the National Day holiday. During that time, there were street rumors "that a deputy director named Gong from the Anyue county Housing Department had died of SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) right on top of a prostitute." So he used a penname and wrote a blog post titled <Anyue director died while patronising a prostitute, how morally depraved have government officials become?>.
Today, this post cannot no longer be found on Wang Shuai's iFeng blog. But an Internet search shows that this blog post had been republished by many other websites and forums.
But at the same time, another related blog post has also been deleted. This one is titled <A letter of apology> in which Wang Shuai wrote: "A few days ago, I heard certain rumors from certain persons in society with ulterior motives and I published the blog post <Anyue director died while patronising a prostitute, how morally depraved have government officials become?> without doing any checking. This affected the deceased and his family negatively and also gave currency to the rumor which was exploited by malicious persons in soceity." He also wrote: "My personal investigation afterwards showed that the story about the death right on top of a prostitute was totally fictional" and "that blog post ran opposite to my original intent and therefore I express my deepest regrets here to the pain that it has caused the family of the deceased person!"
The reporter noted that the letter of apology was published on October 24, 2008, which was the date on which Wang Shuai was released after serving one week of detention.
In his latest post entitled <Wang Shuai of Sichuan was detained for Internet commentary and seeks help from society> and published on April 22, 2009 on Wang Shuai's same iFeng blog, he said that he was summoned to the town government office on the morning of October 17, 2008 and interrogated by plainclothes policemen. "Without any due process, they confiscated my home computer and my school computer. They took me down to the Anyue county police headquarters and interrogated me repeated. At some time after 8pm, they handed a seven day detention sentence to me for 'suspected libel'."
Wang Shuai said that after seven days passed, he wrote a letter of apology for his blog at the request of the police. He deleted that letter himself "because I don't agree with it." Wang Shuai said that "his essay did not name any person and was not specifically directed against the deceased." "This story was broadly circulated in society. My blog post appeared one week after the fact. So why didn't they go after all the other people who spread the rumor and instead they only come after me?"
Wang Shuai said that his latest appeal for support was not intended to hold the police responsible (because they are doing so because they received orders from above). Besides, he pointed out that the period to file an appeal has lapsed already. Instead, he only wanted to receive a fair judgment on the Internet.
A few days ago, it became fashionable to include a statement of responsibility when one posts someone else's work at a BBS/forum. The statement was in reaction to the case of Wu Baoquan, who was arrested in Shanxi province for his comments about the Inner Mongolian government. The statement contained just 60 words: "The above content was completely copied and pasted from elsewhere. I do not understand what this means, and therefore I will not accept any legal responsibility. Please go not go across provincial borders to arrest me. If you want to investigate, please contact the original author. Thanks!"
After a few days, a new and improved "mature" or "superior" version has emerged and become fashionable. This statement is:
"My comments are completely copied and pasted from elsewhere. If this is a violation of the relevant state laws, the administrator should delete my comments in a timely manner. If the comments are not deleted in time, I will not accept any resulting legal dispute or responsibility (such as involving the constitution, the civil law code, the criminal law code, calligraphy (translator's note: in Chinese, it also reads as the "law for writing"), public scrutiny law, the Basic Law, the labor laws, no-way (translator's note: in Chinese, "way" is "law to do"), marriage laws, key entry method (translator's note: in Chinese, "method" is "law"), international law, copyright law, energy-sucking method (note: this is a method or "law" that can suck off the energy from others in martial arts novels), today's sayings, the Taiwan Relations Act, and all laws that were mentioned in the text or may be involved or may not even be involved as well as various miscellaneous local public safety administrative rules and regulations)."
Just search for "Delete"+"Negative Information" and
you will find a list of companies which provide that service
Baidu yiels 102,000 relevant pages while Google yields 293,000 relevant pages
Price list provided by one company:
10,000 RMB Sina.com
10,000 RMB Sohu.com
5,000 RMB People.net
5,000 RMB Xinhua
5,000 RMB CCTV
3,000 RMB provincial level websites/professional websites
1,000 RMB local level websites
2,000 RMB webpage cache (Baidu and Google)
Gongjiahuasheng is an information company which got into the "information deletion" business in late 2008. Its advertisement says: Quick deletion of negative information and news on the Internet; quick deletion of Baidu cache; quick deletion of negative comments at the various BBS/forums.
According to the company boss Mr. Liu, they get two projects per week on the average with each project yielded more than 10,000 RMB in revenue. So this was much better than working on information alone. Mr. Liu plans to hire more employees and expand his business.
Mr. Liu gave an example of a project. A while ago, a certain tourist location was exposed by the media for service quality problems. The news report was carried by many different websites. In order to eradicate these negative reports, they contacted Gongjiahuasheng. Within a single week, the negative reports were deleted from the major websites.
Another company named Baolongren also began its information deletion service. According to the boss Ms. Li, they are doing well and have gotten seven or eight projects this year worth more than 200,000 RMB in revenue. They plan to give up their regular advertising business and become information deletion specialists.
On the Internet, the reporter found many abusive reports. In the comments, a Mr. Cui said that he can delete these deleterious reports. The reporter contacted Mr. Cui who said that he was a website administrator and his specialty is the removal of these abusive posts.
It so happened that a certain pay website located in Baoding was being criticized by netizens over the payment issue. The comments quickly included advertisements from the information deletion specialists. So the reporter contacted one such service while claiming to be in charge of that pay website. The other party promised to delete those posts within one day at the price of 100 RMB per post. However, the payment system is cash first via bank transfer. The reporter expressed some doubts and offered a 50 RMB down payment with the balance due afterwards. But the other party insisted on adhering to the "rules." So the reporter finally selected one post that described the looks of a female worker at the pay website. Within one day, that post was deleted.
The reporter also contacted the Beijing Xinlu Advertising Company to delete certain negative reports about a certain food manufacturer. The other party then sent over a price list by email (see above). The other party also asked for a description of the information to be deleted as well as scanned images of the food manufacturer's business permits. The other party promised that the information will be deleted within three days.
During this investigation, the reporter found out that Internet information deletion is very precise. It is not the case that any information can be deleted.
The basic principles are as follows. If malevolent netizens publishes abusive posts, they will delete them for a price. If there is a negative news report, they will the media criticisms and exposures. If the negative news reporter comes from a government notice, criticism or action, they won't touch this at any price.
The reporter contacted one information deletion company and asked for the deletion of negative information coming from the government and was turned down.
The reporter asked how much money it takes, and the other party replied: "No amount of money will make us do it. We will not touch anything that involves the government or the law."
Another information deletion company recommended to the reporter: Make a contrite self-criticism to the relevant government department and asked them to contact the websites and remove those reports. In any case, this company will not undertake this type of deletion.
Many information deletion specialists claim that they have many different techniques to remove negative information.
The reporter basically finds three methods. First, they will use the correct information to provide blanket coverage on the first few pages of search engine results and push the negative information down. Secondly, they will go through the website administrators and controllers to get the negative information deleted. Thirdly, they can use hacker techniques to enter the webpages and "improve" the information.
But according to informed sources, these so-called methods are simply false advertising, especially with the hacker methods that are practically impossible. Baidu and Google employees have said that such hacking has never yet occurred with their caches. Website workers also said that it is very difficult to enter their systems.
According to Mr. Hu of the Beijing Liyou Public Relations Company who has been in the information deletion business for two years, the so-called professional deletion services are actually just "public relations deletion."
Mr. Hu told the reporter that the bulk of the information on the Internet consists of re-publication of information from other media. In order to delete negative information, they must go back to the original media which must request the websites to remove that information. Therefore, the public relations activity is directed towards the media.
He said that there are two public relations methods. First, they can place advertising the media in a quid pro quid. Secondly, they can provide the proof to the media that the reported negative information is inaccurate. In either case, if the media accept, they will notify the websites to delete the information.
Mr. Hu confirmed that all the Internet deletions use this method. There is no other way, and definitely no way to use hacker methods.
(Apple Daily; Apple Daily)
"I did not go into hiding"
Yesterday, the taxi driver who was arrested by the Criminal Investigative Division of the Hong Kong Police complained to our newspaper: "I did not go into hiding!"
Mr. Wu had taken the Mexican man who was infected by the A/H1N1 swine flu virus from the Hong Kong International Airport to the Metropark Hotel. He was then arrested by detectives from the Criminal Investigative Division and held in the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village detention center for observation. Yesterday, he called Commercial Radio and aired his misgivings.
Mr. Wu said that on April 30 at around 2pm, he picked up three foreign men and one foreign woman from the Hong Kong International Airport to the Metropark Hotel in Wanchai. He did not know what nationality these people were, but he knew that they were here to attend an exposition at the Wanchai Exhibition Centre. "They did not cough or sneeze inside the car. Only one of them opened the window. When York Chow made his announcement, he said: "A Mexican tourist came to Hong Kong and took a taxi to the Metropark Hotel in Wanchai. He had two companions with him, and the three of them were in that taxi."
"Secretary Chow saw that there were three people in the taxi whereas I picked up four persons. Therefore, I did not contact the government." Mr. Wu later told us that he returned home on the evening of May 1 and watched the television news on the swine flu. He was concerned and he called the government hotline to learn more about the matter of the taxi driver. He kept calling for two hours without being able to get through, and there was no voice message service. "I called until 11pm. I had to go to bed because I have to work the next day."
Mr. Wu is married and has two daughters who are in Primary Six and Middle Three. "If the Health Department had provided the correct information, then our family could have taken the right precautions. I would not risk our lives for the sake of making money."
At 8am on the day before yesterday, he went to the garage to pick up the taxi. A dozen or so detectives wearing surgical masks and gloves rushed out but they stopped at a distance away. "It was very tense. They told me to turn off the ignition and produce my driver's license and vehicle registration. I had no idea what was happening. They toss a surgical mask and gloves over to me and told me to put them on."
Wu said that he was scared. The detectives then showed him two pieces of paper with English words on them. "I don't understand what was on them." The detectives told them that these were the relevant laws that will put him in isolation for seven days. He was then taken away to the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village.
Actually, the government had realized less than a day later that there were four passengers in that taxi, but they never updated the information.
Center for Disease Protection controller Thomas Tsang admitted on Commercial Radio that "the press release did not mention this point, so we need to do better with providing such information." Then he came up with this excuse: "We did not say whether there were three or four persons in the taxi because we want more taxi drivers who have transported Mexican travelers to call us."
On May 2, Food and Health Department announced that had made preliminary contact with the two taxi drivers. Mr. Wu was even more reassured that he was not involved. "I did not go into hiding. I even told my colleagues that I had transported four persons to the Metropark Hotel. If the government was more rigorous about what they publish, this misunderstanding would never have occurred."
Meanwhile the other taxi driver Mr. Tam who took the Mexican man from the Metropark Hotel to the Ruttonjee Hotel also contacted the Health Department late. Mr. Tam had been misled by the prankster who called the hotline earlier. Mr. Tam thought that the prankster was the driver and therefore he himself was not involved. Therefore, he did not contact the Health Department.
The person named Cheung was arrested on suspicion of being a prankster. The Criminal Investigative Division of the Hong Kong Police received a request from the Health Department to locate the taxi drivers. They located the owner of the mobile telephone that was used to call the Health Department hotline, but that person denied that he ever made that call. However, he said that he remembered borrowing the mobile phone to a man named Cheung to make a call. Thus, the detectives listed Cheung as a suspect. They quickly found out that Cheung actually has his own mobile phone, so they began a trace. At 3pm on the day before yesterday, they determined that Cheung was in the Central area and they quickly went there and arrested him.
Yesterday, Cheung came out of the Central Police Station after posting bail. He began to sprint away as soon as he saw the reporters. He dashed up the Hennessey pedestrian bridge and jumped into a taxi on Queens Road East.
On this afternoon, a meeting was scheduled at the Taiwan Parliament to discuss and review the cross-strait relationship regulations (especially with respect to the coming of mainland Chinese students to study in Taiwan as well as the recognition of their academic grades). The Democratic Progressive Party is a minority party right now. They are opposed to these regulations but they would lose in a normal vote. So their solution was to use the noontime lunch break to get into the meeting room and lock the door from the inside. When the Nationalist Party legislators came, they were not able to enter. They summoned the guards who tried to ram the door. But it was clear that the door was blockaded on the other side and would not budge.
Nationalist Party legislator Hung Hsiu-chu: "Somebody watch the front door in case they come out. The back door should be watched too, because they might come out to use the restroom. Let us see if they can get by without eating, drinking, urinating, defecating or sleeping."
Democratic Progressive Party legislator Tsai Huang-lang: "Hm hm hm, we have our ways but we will pay attention to hygiene."
The meeting was called off after 5pm.
(The Times) Why Confucius matters now John Naish April 25, 2009
Yu Dan has struck publishing gold in her home country with a book that reinvents Confucius’s 2,500-year-old ideas for the 21st century. Now she is here to bring his ancient path of balanced self-cultivation to our materialistic shores.
The Beijing professor is a picture of petite perfection on a London hotel sofa, wearing what we might call Westernised Chinese Smart: a blindingly white designer tunic, precisely tousled hair, short black skirt and patent-leather ankle-boots. Only a snag down the knee of her tights leavens her impenetrable neatness.
This 41-year-old married mother is a fast-talking embodiment of modern China. Though raised on Confucian ideals by her beloved scholarly father, she is also a pioneer of Oriental media and marketing studies. Her book, Confucius from the Heart: Ancient Wisdom for Today’s World, which rebrands Confucius as a contemporary sage, has sold ten million copies in China over the past two years, propelling her to national prominence — and exposing her to barbed criticism as the brazen “beauty professor” who presumes to dilute traditional academic subjects.
Yu Dan began reading Confucius’s collected teachings, called The Analects, at 7. She finished it in her early teens. “My father taught me to read it very carefully. He was a scholar of literature and philosophy,” she says with evident pride. “I am his only daughter. He was a big influence on me. So I have been with this book for more than 30 years.”
But what precise changes has Confucianism wrought on her daily existence? “People have different understandings of this book at different stages of their life. I am still discovering a new book in there all the time. What it taught me is very subtle. I am very much against the idea of learning something like this very quickly and simply.”
Nevertheless, she used markedly Western means to repackage the ancient master for modern readers. “My first degree was in philosophy and literature. After that, I changed my speciality and did a PhD in mass media. So I am using the media as a tool to deliver the message of philosophy, to produce an easy-to-understand way for Confucius. I wanted to introduce him to the less educated, normal, non-academic Chinese.” It’s not the first time that Yu Dan, a professor of arts and media at Beijing Normal University, has used this strategy. Over the past decade she has become a television personality and written popularising texts on the Tao and on Chinese ancient opera.
This populist approach has, however, provoked vitriol in her homeland. In November last year, for example, the Shanghai Daily sniffed: “Her knowledge is over-simplified, yet she boldly appears as a great scholar.” How does she respond to such personal attacks. “I think that everyone has the freedom to make comments about other people. So I don’t really mind what people say about me.”
Just as I’ve decided that she’s a thoroughly tough 21st-century cookie, Yu Dan turns all coquettish. Personal questions prompt her to giggle girlishly. “People have their biological age and their psychological age. Physically I am around 40, but I am feeling the joy of being in my teens or having the depth of someone in their fifties.” Is she married? More giggling and wiggling. “What do you think? Most people would think that a woman doing literature and philosophy would be single. But I am married, with a daughter and a husband.”
Meanwihle, the Chinese BBS/Forums are flooded with translations of the following anonymous English-language post from the UK-based PowerApple Forum. Well, welcome to the Internet where everybody is a potential reporter!
(PowerApple) 2009-04-22 on 21:45
I had a horrible time in London translating for Yu Dan, the author of Lunyu Xinde, who turned out to be a big bully and monster. She would in front of everyone scold the poor Chinese woman who had come with her to "serve" her. She made a huge fuss about the hotel (one of the most expensive near Hyde Park) being not up to her standard and the hotel manager had to change her rooms three times in three days -- staying in one of the very best rooms, she still rang me up in the middle of the night to ask me to complain for her that her room was unsatisfactory. I could only get a couple of hours’ sleep as a result and had to work intensely the next day. I was also told by another Chinese who accompanied her on this trip that she bullied all the 200-odd staff members of Zhonghua shuju, the company that published her book. They could not do anything about her and would simply tremble at the sight of her.
When I was translating for her interviews with English journalists, she spoke at length without stopping for me. When I was trying to give her a signal, she glared at me and scolded: "don't you ever interrupt when I am talking!" When I wasn't sure about a certain point and asked her to clarify for me, she would say, "I've just said it, why didn't you listen to me? Why didn't you write them down?" She knew a few words of English but tried to correct my translation, complaining I didn’t translate this or that. In the course of the interview and in front of the journalist and others, she would suddenly shout at her “servant” (in Chinese) for not filming her properly and I had to explain to the puzzled interviewer that she was talking to the working staff and I wasn’t going to translate....
She has no respect for anyone and treated people (especially Chinese) like slaves... it was beyond the limit of what I could take and I couldn’t do my work at all, not only because she was making things difficult for me and I was much distracted by her monstrous behaviour towards the working staff, more importantly it was because I simply couldn't help wondering in my mind how unconvincing and hypocritical her words to the interviewer were and I simply couldn't concentrate. Rather than doing a whole week’s translation for her till Friday as originally planned, I pulled out on Monday and left London...she really disgusted me and I was appalled by her capability of putting on different faces in front of different people: one minute all fierce and furious towards us and another minute all smiling and sunny in front of the camera and journalist. I could never have dreamed that a well-known author on Confucianism would behave in such an unacceptable way. It is so sad that out of 1.4 billion of my country people she was chosen to speak to the western audience the very essence of our culture -- how fake this world could get I wonder.
Our reporter called up Yu Dan who was on the way to Beijing Airport. "I will arrive in Chengdu tonight and stay there until May 12. During this period, I will attending many public interest events in Chengdu, Deyang, Mianzhu and other places for the anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake." Since the "hissy fit in London" story is having a huge impact, Yu Dan gave the reporter a simple explanation of the incident. "For the launch of the English version of my book about The Analects, I spend one week in London near the end of last month. I gave many talks, and I did many foreign media interviews. I stayed there until April 25." As to why "the interpreter quit in anger," Yu Dan said that it was because the interpreter had limited skills.
"Out of respect for her, I will not disclose her name. But I cannot imagine why she would come out and accuse me." Yu Dan said that this interpreter is a 30-something-year doctorate candidate at Manchester University." "Since she was a doctoral student, I had good expectations for her command of the English language." In order to show friendship, Yu Ban gave her some present brought over from China.
"In order to ensure that we work well over the next few days, I made sure that I worked with her on the first day of interviews with the British media. It was clear that she could not keep up with me, and her interpretation was incorrect in many places." So after the interviews were over, the interpreter asked to quit. Yu Dan said that she might have been very demanding, but this was out of respect for the work and the responsibility towards Chinese traditional culture. As a result, Yu Dan and the publisher found a local interpreter named Wang and their collaboration was fine. But Yu Dan did not imagine that she would be reading an "accusation" a week later. "When she gave her resignation, I tried to get her to say. She was very heart-broken and cried. She said that she has never seen such a big scene and she was afraid that she could not keep up with the speech. At the time, I embraced her and comforted her for more than 40 minutes. I wanted her to continue, but she ultimately gave up."
As for the interpreter's claim that Yu Dan played big shot and kept changing hotel rooms, Yu Dan said that she did change rooms. "On the first night, the room was right next to the elevator. During the night, the hotel guests kept coming and going while dragging their luggage. I couldn't sleep that night. The next day, I got a quieter room. But a service worker entered my room in spite of the 'Do Not Disturb' sign." That occurred at 10:30pm. The next day, the hotel manager came to apologize and voluntarily gave me another room."
Did she harangue her assistant? Yu Dan said that was fictional: "My assistant was in China the whole time. Who was I going to harangue?"
(SCMP) At-risk cabbies found, but not the taxis used Vivienne Chow. May 3, 2009.
Health officials yesterday managed to track down the two taxi drivers who had carried the Mexican infected with swine flu after his arrival in the city on Thursday - but a source said they have not found the two cars involved.
One of the cabbies drove the Mexican from the airport to Metropark Hotel in Wan Chai at about 1pm on Thursday and the other drove him to Ruttonjee Hospital on Friday night at about 7pm after he had fallen ill.
They were both located by late afternoon yesterday but the taxis they drove are probably still roaming around the city, according to a taxi industry source.
"The government thought that they could close the case after they found the drivers, but they could not find the cars that they drove to pick up that man," the source said.
A Health Department spokesman refused to say whether the taxis had been found or not, or whether they had been disinfected. "We are following up the case," he said.
The taxi industry source said taxi owners might not want to surrender the cars for sterilisation because they stood to lose the daily rental of at least HK$650. The taxis had probably been rented to other drivers and were running around picking up passengers.
Undersecretary for food and health Gabriel Leung said that the driver who drove the Mexican man from the hotel to hospital phoned the Health Department after hearing public announcements urging him to contact authorities.
Contact with the second driver was obtained with help from the taxi industry and Transport Department, Professor Leung said. "I'm glad that we found the taxi drivers so quickly," he said.
Well, not so easy!
(Apple Daily; Apple Daily)
The authorities have been seeking the two taxi drivers who transported the Mexican infected with A/H1N1. Driver A took the Mexican from the Hong Kong International Airport to the Metropark Hotel. Driver B took the Mexican from the Metropark Hotel to Ruttonjee Hospital.
A is a 30-something-year-old man living in the New Territories. A few days ago, A learned from news reports that he had transported the Mexican from the airport. So he contacted the taxi industry association. When advised to turn himself in, he declined because he did not want any trouble. His taxi colleagues turned him in to the Health Department. When the Health Department failed to make contact with A, they turned the case over to the Criminal Investigative Division of the Hong Kong Police. The police examined the registration records for taxi cabs entering the pick-up area of the Hong Kong International Airport and came up with a list of 30 to 50 suspected vehicles. After a process of elimination, they determined that A is likely to be a man named Wu who usually ends this shift early in the morning in Tsuen Wan.
Yesterday morning at around 8am, CID investigators spotted the target taxi outside a garage in Tsuen Wan. In order to prevent any escape, they drove an unmarked police vehicle up to cut off the exit and then surrounded the taxi. A was terrified because he thought that the men wearing surgical masks were robbers. The investigators identified themselves and ordered A to sit still in the taxi while the Department of Health workers were summoned. A was then taken away for observation under isolation. Department of Food and Environmental Hygiene workers came and disinfected the car thoroughly.
Meanwhile the authorities thought that they were able to find B when a man called the Department of Health hotline to identify himself as B. However, the man was somewhat hesitant about turning himself in for examination. The police went to Ruttonjee Hospital and checked the surveillance videotape but they did not get a clear identification of the taxi. So the police used the same tactics that they use for major criminals. Based up on the mobile phone number shown during the call at the Department of Health hotline, they worked with the telephone company to determine the position of the caller. At 3pm yesterday afternoon, that mobile phone made a call from the Central District. The CID investigators went out to the location and found the suspect. They ordered the suspect to stand still while keeping two meters away from him until the Department of Health workers came to take him again.
The suspect admitted that he had called the Department of Health hotline but he denied that he was B. He said that he had called the hotline to see "if it was working." The police determined that he is a part-time worker who does not have a taxi driver's license. Therefore he was a prankster. The man is under arrest on suspicion of wasting police time.
At early morning 1:35am, the Department of Health announced that they have located 47-year-old B and sent him for observation. B had turned himself in after calling the Department of Health hotline.
(Oriental Daily) In Hong Kong, the police have arrested a citizen on the charge of "dishonest use of a computer." Early on May 1, an Internet user fabricated a news report purportedly from Sing Tao Daily to point out: "The Hong Kong Health Protection Centre has confirmed on May 1st that a 16-year-old Form 4 student had expired at Tuen Mun Hospital due to pneumonia caused by the swine flu virus." Three hours later, this netizen admitted that he had published false information about the epidemic. But he added that "I will use a Boeing 737 jet to ram into Hong Kong Police Headquarters today and erase Commissioner of Police Tang King-shing and others." The Technology Crime Squad of the Commercial Crimes Unit investigated the case and arrested a 16-year-old man. He is out on bail pending investigation.
Hong Kong University Student Association president Ayo Chan Yi-ngok has been on the job for less than two months. At a university forum about June 4th 1989, Chan said something which was regarded as justifying the massacre. As a result, he was criticized roundly all over, and he was voted out by Hong Kong University students in a recent referendum. Here, I want to discuss not about the June 4th incident twenty years ago when Ayo Chan was only three months old or whether he wants to be an "apologist" for the decision by the Chinese leaders to send the tanks into Beijing, because that is a matter left to the conscience of Ayo Chan. Instead, I want to discuss the issue of freedom of speech that is brought out by this case and the tolerance for political dissent.
The true and deepest meaning of freedom of speech is embodied by Voltaire's famous statement: "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say so." Freedom of speech and the fair distribution of speech rights are requisite conditions for a mature civic society. This is old hat already. American and British legalist scholars such as Ronald Dworkin even believe that there should be no limits or bottom lines on the freedom of speech: our speeches should not only be allowed to offend others, but we also have the right to ridicule, including giving provocative and insulting "hate speech." No laws should be enacted against such speeches, but instead they should be allowed to be refuted as unreliable and immoral in the free market of ideas.
Obviously, divergence of viewpoints and opinions are normal characteristics in an open society. Actually, they are the inevitable consequences of an open society. On one hand, the importance of freedom of speech is that it affirms the right of each member of society to speak. On the other hand, it allows the decision-makers to take advantage of the collective intelligence of the various sectors of society.
In Hong Kong today, it is obviously very politically correct to support freedom of speech. But the Ayo Chan affair also showed that certain Hongkongers and media workers tend to invoke freedom of speech when they are only treating it as a tool. Very clearly, they regard freedom of speech as important but not to the extent that every single person has the moral right to express their opinions. Instead, they will only tolerate the expression of those opinions that meet their approval or interests, or whether those opinions do any good to history or society. In other words, they are more interested in the interests of the audience rather than the speakers. From this angle, these people are not proponents of freedom of speech. They believe that in order to exercise the freedom of speech, you must successfully demonstrate that the freedom of speech must serve some other external purpose. That is to say, only correct speech with desirable consequences are allowed to be expressed. According to them, the key is not that everybody should be allowed to speak. Instead, those people who have speech rights must not abuse those rights.
The problem is that the importance of freedom of speech lies not in the neutrality of speech or the functional values of such speech. Freedom of speech is a basic and legally protected right ultimately because it enables democratic participation and self-realization through the free expression and transmission of information. In that sense, all viewpoints, ideas and speech -- no matter how biased and absurd, even misleading, they may be -- should not be suppressed. This is not because these speeches which are easily disprovable can be used as counter-educational material to bring out the truth. More importantly, the persons who hold those viewpoints have the inalienable right to express those ideas. When we express our opinions, we are not required to have only deeply reflective or mistake-free ideas. The act of expression is a form of participation, which is a right.
No matter whether it is a question of chasing away a student who dared to state at a forum that "not a single drop of blood was shed at Tiananmen Square" or to demonize Ayo Chan as "the most leftist newcomer," "hidden leftie" or "China Liaison Office special agent," it is damaging freedom of speech. These people are using their own freedom of speech to deprive dissenters of their freedom of speech. They are using a form of speech violence to force other people to shut up. This is ridiculing and distorting Voltaire's well-known statement on freedom of speech. The person who says that "no a single drop of blood was shed on Tiananmen Square on June 4th" is either hopelessly ignorant or has ulterior motives. The best way to handle ignorance and prevarication is to have "more speech" and not to use oppressive methods to enforce a "coercive silence."
The article on the opposite page in Yazhou Zhoukan points to some unusual happenings during the HKU referendum to recall Ayo Chan Yi-ngok:
The controversy began when Ayo Chan Yi-ngok spoke at the HKU June 4th Forum. He was accused of speaking out on behalf of the Chinese government but he claimed that he was misquoted by the media which inflated the incident.
During that time, a Civic Radio station in Hong Kong pretended that it was the Chinese Voices radio station to interview Ayo Chan. The program host declared: "We cannot tell him that we are from Civic Radio because he knows what our position is and we are going to condemn him. Therefore, we pretended that we are an American radio station and we praised him for his courage to speak up in order to see how he would act ..." Once they got Chan on the phone, they also pretended that it was a rehearsal and not a live broadcast when they first spoke with Ayo Chan.
As a result of this "entrapment," Ayo Chan's comments about "Hong Kong has a serious condition with the pro-democracy Red Guards" and "the Hong Kong people oppose communism" became widely reported in the media.
Soon after the referendum began, many HKU students received an email from the "executive committee of the Hong Kong University Student Association." The email claimed that "more than 1,000 persons have voted and the number of 'yes' votes is in the majority. This situation is encouraging." But "about "700 or 800 students (mostly from mainland China) simultaneously voted within one hour this afternoon. It is suspected that there is some 'group' working behind the scene to affect the outcome of the referendum." The email also called "for the students to stand up and topple the evil forces inside the Student Association as well as the big political group behind them."
But the vice-president of the HKU Student Association had earlier made a public statement that the HKU Student Association executives will not take part in the organization or promotion of this referendum because they do not want to do anything that might affect the outcome.
After the email went out, the HKU Student Association issued an announcement to say that the email did not come from them.
Nevertheless, this email infuriated the mainland students at Hong Kong University. They said that this email implied that they are the "evil forces" in a blatant frame-up. "We did not go to vote at the same time. Even if we did vote, why are we the evil forces? Didn't they organize this referendum? How come we become the evil forces when we vote?"
Under pressure from students, the HKU Student Association has asked the police to investigate. However, the controversy has not abated because people don't think that an ordinary person would have the email addresses of so many students.
Someone said that it does not matter who sent the email, but this incident showed that there is a deeply seated prejudice against mainland students at Hong Kong University. "By labeling the mainland students this way, the conflict is aggravated. The room for rational discussion is made smaller, to the point that some mainland students are rebellious ... they have decided to come out in opposition."
Ms. Han lives in a district in Jinshawan, Foshan city, Guangdong province. She lives on the first floor and she has her own private courtyard, which seemed to be a good idea in theory but not so good in reality -- the courtyard is a open-air garbage dump with cigarette butts, tissues, fish bones, wood chips, etc. The building is 32 stories tall, so she has no idea who the litterbugs might be.
On April 29, Ms. Han found a used condom in her courtyard. "How can someone be so uncivil? This is going too far." This time, she decided to put up a "big character poster" with the used condom right on it. Here is what she wrote:
Today, I found a used condom from a neighbor upstairs! In the past, you were throwing cigarette butts, fruit peels and waste paper, which I ask the janitor to clean up. But today's "gift" was far too personal and I really can't accept it. So I ask you to take it back. I also hope that the next time you and your partner decide to throw condoms out the window, please let your neighbor know! If you have no other way to handle it, I am willing to provide a garbage bin to you for free.
At the Internet forum for the residents in the neighborhood, this "big character poster" was posted and drew more than 20,000 page views in two days' time. The residents were sympathetic towards Ms. Han's plight and they were overwhelming of the opinion that Ms. Han was "very good, very powerful." They said, "Today it was a disgusting condom. What happens tomorrow? A brick? An axe?"
Yesterday afternoon, Ms. Han's "big character poster" was replaced by a promotional poster. Ms. Han was somewhat apologetic: "There are children in the neighborhood, and there is a bad influence to display this sort of thing in public."
The government yesterday tried to stop the Metropark Hotel becoming the scene for a reality television series. Officials covered the lobby's windows with white cloth - cutting off visual contact between the outside world and those quarantined inside.
Guests had been passing the time sitting in the lobby, watching the media watching them and reading messages the journalists were holding up - their phone numbers and pleas for interviews. But that came to an end at 11.30am, when the windows were covered.
... One guest who spoke by phone to the
Sunday Morning Postsaid: "The breakfast left something to be desired. No tea, no coffee, no fruit. A bottle of water and a spam sandwich. And a Swiss roll." However, this guest said the lunchbox prepared by hotel staff had been much better - rice with spare ribs. But clearly, the lack of good food was the least of their worries.
Photos from inside the hotel before the curtains went up:
And from the other side of the window:
All my official marketing activities with Eileen Chang's book Small Reunions have now ended, and the book will have to carry itself through word-of-mouth. The book has been out for about ten weeks in Hong Kong and Taiwan and just over three weeks in mainland China. How is it doing? According to this week's Yazhou Zhoukan (issue dated May 10, 2009), Small Reunions is:
#1. Hong Kong
I have a Chinese-language Small Reunions blog that I try to update with tidbits every day at: 《小团圆》的 BLOG.
Related Link: Eileen Chang's fractured legacy Peter Lee, Asia Times
Late last year, a Chinese man named Chen filed suit in a Shenzhen court in a total of 30 lawsuits against a number of Internet communication companies. Chen asked the court to treat them as 30 separate lawsuits, but the court thought that these cases can be consolidated.
In February 2009, the court issued its verdicts. On March 20, Chen filed appeals for five of those cases at the Futian (Shenzhen) court. In those appeals, Chen did not offer any new facts or reasons for disagreeing with the initial verdict. In the column for "reasons and facts" for the appeal, Chen wrote the single world "Fuck" (操).
The presiding judge contacted Chen and asked him to come down to court to explain and change his appeal. Chen stated clearly that he refused to amend the documents.
Thus, the Futian court determined that Chen had used vulgar and obscene language to insult the judicial workers without no remorse. According to Article 102 of the People's Republic of China Civil Lawsuit Regulations: "When the complainant or others insult, libel, smear, assault or retaliate against the judicial workers, the People's Court may impose fines and detention based upon the severity of the case." As a result, the court punished Chen with 15 days of detention.
According to lawyer Ma Cheng, this is the first such case that he has heard of over his years of work. He said that the law is a serious matter. When Chen wrote down the single word "Fuck" as the "reason and fact" for appealing a verdict, he is insulting the presiding judge in that case as well as challenging the authoritativeness of the law. Based upon the relevant regulations, there is a basis for sentencing Chen to 15 days of detention. When someone disagrees with the decisions of judge, there are many solutions (such as appeals and petitions). Chen's extreme actions did not provide a practical solution to his problems.
Related Link: A Proper Use of Obscenities Alice Poon, Asia Sentinel
The movie <Four Horsemen> is being shown in Taiwan. In that movie, Zhang Ziyi played the role of a woman who had compromising photos taken of her and who got down on her knees before a foreigner. Certain mainland Chinese are angry because she has given up her dignity and insulted China.
This is an example of pushing nationalist sentiments to the extreme, which drew rebuttals from many netizens. But when we read the reasons for those rebuttals, most of them are of the variety "they are just playing roles in a movie." This meant that if she really did that in her real life, she would have been pilloried.
The reason for condemning her is not because a person should not kneel before another person, but a Chinese person should not kneel before a foreign person. They don't seem to mind a Chinese person kneeling before another Chinese person, or else they would be protesting against the numerous television palace dramas. A foreign person kneeling before a Chinese person will probably be very welcomed. At the 2006 Venice Film Festival, chairman Marco Müller knelt in front of Zhang Ziyi to pay tribute to her, probably to the delight of these Chinese. In other words, they don't care about the dignity of individuals or other nations and they only care about the abstract dignity of their own nation.
When they curse out Zhang Ziyi, they are ignoring her individual dignity, They are also not treating her an the representative of the national image, or else they couldn't be cursing her, could they? But as soon as she turned around to face the foreigners once more, she is still being asked to be that representative.
This reminds me of a conference that I attended in the United States a few days ago. The main theme of the conference is new media and social development, but they spent a lot of time discussing the self-identity of the Chinese people. The nationalist feelings that have been rising and falling in recent years reflect the anxiety of the Chinese people over their self-identity. Our anxiety is causing the whole world to be anxious about that anxiety.
Are you Chinese? Why is that so? What is this question important? Why be so sensitive? How shall the Chinese people get along with people from other nations? Conversely, how shall people from other nations get along with the Chinese people? Why do they hurt the nationalist feelings of the Chinese people so readily? Is obtaining American citizenship a betrayal of the motherland? If so, how can we explain the rage of the American Chinese during the anti-CNN affair last year?
A lawyer friend of mind said that it is legally ridiculous for an American to sue CNN for insulting the Chinese people. Another media worker reminded her that apart from legal status, people have social identities, professional identities, psychological identities and so on. A person may legally be an American Chinese, but he may identify himself psychologically as a Chinese.
I am thinking about Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen's book "Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny." Sen used this book to refute Samuel Huntington's theory of the clash of civilizations. He believes that it is inaccurate and dangerous to divide the whole world simply as East or West, this civilization or that civilization. In reality, a person has many different identities: religious, political, cultural, gender, economic and so on, which overlap and shift over time. The sub-title of the book is "The Illusion of Destiny" because Sen believes that the meaning of life is to think rationally and then choose freely. Many people lose their directions among the illusions of their many identities and become swayed by emotions so that they lose their free will.
The British scholar Anthony Giddens wrote the book <The Nation-State and Violence> to explain that nationalism and nation-state are recent concepts and not ancient ideas as some people imagined. Nationalism contributed in the resistance against colonialism and the fight for independence, but it also created many violent clashes including the calamities of two world wars. Globalization nowadays has not weakened but has instead strengthened the system of nation-states.
At the conference, several foreign scholars and reporters said that they can understand the anxiety of the Chinese people over self-identity because they themselves and their own nations have the same kind of problems. An American scholar said that he would not mind if someone advocated independence for Hawaii, but a woman next to him immediately objected, "No, I disagree." Another scholar said that every person has the right to seek his own self-identity. A British reporter spoke about the problem of nationalism within the European Union. She said that the relationship between individual and state has undergone several big changes in recent years within the European Union and will probably continue to change.
My greatest enlightenments this time are the immutability of self-identify and the right of individuals to form their own identities. In all the previous "insults to China" incidents, our most frequent mistake is deny others of the right to form their own identities and instead demand that they have to think uniformly. If we realize that each person has many truths and illusions about his self-identity and each truth and illusion is different, then we can understand why people have different reactions to the same issue.
The most important thing is that each person should accept responsibility for his choice and not worry about the attitudes of other people. If you have a view about the Diaoyutai Islets, then your main effort should be to articulate your views loudly and clearly and even put them into action. You should not be spending all day watching your neighbors and be prepared to denounced them at any time.
On December 13, 1937, the capital of China was taken over by the Japanese army. 72 years later in 2009, the subject of Nanjing is still taboo. Those Chinese people who have the strongest urge to speak up are expressing complicated feelings about the movie <Nanjing! Nanjing!>. Thus, these widespread debates over the Internet explain that there is still no consensus about what happened in Nanjing in 1937.
I keep saying that this is about Nanjing, because it involves two incidents: the fall of the city of Nanjing and the Nanjing massacre. Thanks to their history textbooks, the Chinese people today are very familiar with the Nanjing massacre. But everybody has been intentionally or unintentionally skirting around the fall of the city of Nanjing. In 1937, the Nationalist government was the legal government of the Republic of China, and Nanjing was the capital of the Republic of China. The fall of the city of Nanjing was an unthinkable event for the Chinese people at the time. You need to imagine Beijing falling today to the Japanese Self-Defense Force ... The indifference towards the fall of Nanjing can be discerned by looking up the "re-taking of Nanjing." For the Chinese world, "the re-taking of Nanjing" refers to the combined armies of Jiangsu-Zhejiang defeating the Qing army and taking over Nanjing during the 1911 Revolution. In August 1945, the capital of the Republic of China, Nanjing, was re-taken when Japan surrendered and the Wang Jingwei collaborationist government collapsed. On the occasion, the New Sixth Army led by Liao Yaoxiang which had just completed the Yunnan-Burma campaign was airlifted to Nanjing to accept the surrender of the Japanese army.
It is a huge shame for the capital of a nation to be occupied by a foreign nation. Reason #1 why Nanjing could not be forgiven was that a massacre of several hundred thousand persons took place there. Reason #2 was that the legal government of a nation could not protect its own capital and its citizens. They were unable to recover Nanjing for eight years. In the end, they relied on the help of the United States and Soviet Russia to end this episode of shame. Isn't it strange that this historical fact does not get highlighted?
The fall of Nanjing is a psychological shock to the Chinese people as well as the Japanese people. Until the Meiji Reform, the Japanese respected China as the "superior nation." During the Japanese-Russian war, the Japanese defeated the Russians in their first victory over a white race and thus gained national self-confidence. When Nanjing fell, they had taken over the capital of the "superior nation" and its psychological significance was even higher than the victory over Russia. This explained why the entire nation of Japan celebrated when the news arrived. As Japanese confidence grew, Chinese confidence waned and a series of other consequences came about. Imagine that if the Chinese army defeated the American army and occupied Washington DC for eight years. In the end, they are forced to withdraw from the United States by the combined force of the European and Australasian forces. Would the Chinese feel that they are the losers in such a Sino-American war?
The embarrassing thing is that the rising Chinese people needs to face up to the fact that a weak China had once been defeated by a small island nation and its capital was even occupied. The Nanjing massacre is the greatest tragedy in the Japanese invasion of China, but it was not the greatest shame in Sino-Japanese relationship. Japan refuses to apologize for its invasion of China and explains that this was due to the unique culture of shame in Southeast Asia. But then is the reluctance to discuss the fall of the capital and the impotence and powerlessness and the emphasis on victimhood a different expression of the culture of shame?
To emphasize the role of victim, it is natural to turn the opponent into a wild beast. So there came a group of special beasts who were born in Japan and came together in the form of the Japanese army that invaded Nanjing. But based upon diplomatic calculations, it was necessary to separate the common people from the militarists. This has led to a biased understanding about war, because it denies that common people may exhibit animalistic natures in times of war and it denies that military victories can cause all the citizens to lose their reason and come to praise slaughter and invasion. There is no such thing as one specially brutal group of soldiers and there does not exist a broad mass of peace-loving people. War turns ordinary citizens into professional soldiers, and it turns professional soldiers into robbers, thieves, murderers and rapists. If you do not emphasize this point, the victims may also become violent themselves but for the fact that the conditions are not right yet.
So are we just protesting our being invaded, or are we protesting against all invasions, including our past invasions of other nations? Are we just protesting the violence that was directed against us, or are we protesting against all violence, including the violence that we apply to each other?
When you use different viewpoints, you will get different views about your enemies and about war. On the Internet, the moment is not yet ripe to discuss Nanjing. To give the enemy the mask of a demon means that someday we will hide behind such a mask and do whatever we want.
(Song Zude via Tianya)
I just finished watching the movie <Nanjing! Nanjing!>. I feel that this was a lousy and pointless movie, and I have no idea what that brain-dead director wanted to say. I feel that he is not a competent director. Instead he is a crooked businessman who is willing to sell his conscience for box office receipts. He spent a lot of effort on showing the "rapes" because he recognized that "rapes" constitute the biggest selling point. I recommend that the more appropriate title for this movie is <Rape! Rape!> or the homonym <Southern sperm! Southern sperm!>.
Lu Chuan is a petty figure who runs the patriotic flag but cruelly spreads salt on the wound of the Chinese people while hypocritically stating that the purpose of this movie is to make the Japanese people apologize! How risible! I cannot comprehend why the China Film Group would spend taxpayer money on this feeble-minded director so that he can produce a pointless movie. Lu Chuan also shamelessly reported to the media how much the movie grossed at the box office on opening day. This shows that he only cared about business profits. Han Shanping of China Film Group should resign in apology to the people for spending so much money to produce just a trashy movie!
Why does this movie have a Japanese soldier as the principal character? The reason is simple: this Japanese guy paid a lot of money to the director and other relevant departments. He saw that huge market in China and therefore he paid the director and the scriptwriter to make him look good to the Chinese audience. The director even made sure that this character committed suicide out of regret, thus nakedly showing the slavish mentality and ignorance of this director. As for the other characters such as Liu Ye and Gao Yuanyuan, the director obviously never gave a thought to their roles so that they are feeble and affected. Overall, the movie is incoherent. It wanted to express too much, and it ended up expressing nothing clearly.
The most disgusting aspect is that the director wants to placate the Japanese market and therefore he spent far too much effort on the Japanese military ceremonial rites. Only a brain-damaged director would do something this silly. I have no idea why the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television issued a permit for this movie. I recommend that SARFT review this movie again and order it not to be shown anymore.
Lu Chuan has made a movie about the Nanjing massacre that the Japanese have screened and approved to their satisfaction.
(SCMP) HK confirms first swine flu case By Martin Wong and Loretta Fong. May 2, 2009.
Hong Kong's pandemic response level was raised to "emergency" - the top grade - last night after a Mexican man who flew to the city via Shanghai on Thursday became the first confirmed case of H1N1 human swine flu in Asia.
A hotel where the man stayed was placed under a seven-day quarantine lockdown - to the dismay of its 200 guests and 100 staff - as efforts began to trace passengers from his flight and taxi drivers who transported him after his arrival. The Metropark Hotel in Wan Chai, where the 25-year-old Mexican checked in before going to hospital on Thursday night, was cordoned off immediately after tests confirmed he was infected with the potentially deadly flu.
Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said last night: "I have to stress that people do not need to panic. I reiterate, we do not need to panic."
Mr Tsang, who heads a steering committee set up as planned as soon as the first confirmed case emerged, said the health director had implemented the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance to temporarily quarantine the Metropark Hotel. The law, which took effect last July, gives the government power to impose stringent public health measures in case of an emergency.
Mr Tsang's announcement came 30 minutes after the case was confirmed. Last night, the man was in a stable condition in Princess Margaret Hospital.
Before the announcement, top officials were seen rushing to the Murray Building to hold a crisis meeting, while a planned news conference in the afternoon on flu developments was abruptly cancelled.
Despite stressing that the government needed to adopt stringent measures to control spread of the virus, Mr Tsang said schools would remain open and public gatherings and exhibitions would continue as normal, but under strengthened hygiene conditions. "Under the present circumstances, I would rather act rigorously than miss the chance of containing the spread of the virus in Hong Kong," he said.
Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok told Metropark Hotel guests: "I hope you all understand. We all care for your health and hope you can co-operate with health inspectors and officials. We will give support and care."
Dr Chow said the sick Mexican had decided to consult a doctor at Ruttonjee Hospital after he developed common flu symptoms, including a sore throat and coughing. He became feverish after admission.
A preliminary test result yesterday morning was negative and it was not until the afternoon that health officials initially confirmed him as a swine flu carrier. Dr Chow said the man had stayed in his hotel room before going to hospital.
Two companions and a local friend who had close contact with the man had been found and admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital for isolation but none showed flu symptoms.
(SCMP) Hunt launched for 142 airline passengers and two cab drivers Yan Chui-yan and Will Clem. May 2, 2009.
The hunt was on last night for 142 air passengers and two taxi drivers who might have come into contact with the Mexican man who yesterday became Hong Kong's first confirmed case of human swine flu.
Health officials in particular want to trace passengers who were sitting three rows in front of and three rows behind the man as he flew to Hong Kong from Shanghai on
China Easternflight MU505.
They also want to find a taxi driver who took the man from the airport to his hotel on Thursday and one who took him from the hotel to hospital that night. The drivers and passengers who sat near to the man needed to be quarantined, health chief York Chow Yat-ngok said.
The man sat in seat 23A on the flight to Hong Kong, meaning officials want to quarantine those sitting from row 20 to 26, for seven days.
The hunt has become necessary after the man passed through checks in Shanghai on the aircraft from Mexico on Thursday. He arrived in Hong Kong the same day and had yet to develop a fever.
AeroMexico flight 98 landed at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport shortly before 6am on Thursday, but it was another two hours before passengers were cleared to leave the aircraft, after health workers dressed in full-body protection suits and wearing masks, goggles and surgical gloves checked each individual for flu symptoms. They were all then allowed to pass through customs or transit to other flights
Here are the local Chinese-language newspapers:
First confirmed case
Swine flu charges into Hong Kong
Wanchai becomes pandemic zone
First swine flu case in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Commercial Daily:
H1N1 finally comes to Asia
Hong Kong has fallen
Sing Tao Daily:
Mexican man spreads virus in Hong Kong
Metropark Hotel locked down
(Xinhua) May 2, 2009.
With a case of influenza A/H1N1 confirmed in a flight coming from Mexico, the Chinese government has decided to suspend flights from Mexico to Shanghai in east China, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday. China has notified the Mexican government and airline companies about the decision, sources from the ministry said. When the flights will be resumed depends on the situation of the pandemic control.
(Apple Daily) In addition to the MU 505 flight passengers in rows 20 to 26, the Hong Kong authorities are trying to reach the two taxi drivers who transported the Mexican A/H1N1 carrier. The first taxi driver took three Mexicans from the Hong Kong International Airport to the Metropark Hotel in the Wanchai district. The second taxi driver took the Mexican man from the hotel to Ruttonjee Hospital. There was a chance that these two taxi drivers and their later fares may be infected. At a minimum, the taxis should be disinfected.
(Apple Daily) Although a traveler from Mexico is confirmed to have A/H1N1, Hong Kong will not ban Mexican travelers. One reason is that Mexicans can come to Hong Kong through many indirect ways, and it is impossible for the Hong Kong authorities to know. For example, a non-Mexico national may have gone through Mexico before heading to Hong Kong. Such people may show no flu symptoms (such as a high fever) during the incubation period and will pass border health inspections. The only thing is for people who have respiratory problems to seek medical help promptly.
(Apple Daily) In the 2003 SARS epidemic, the source was a traveler from Guangzhou who stayed at the Metropol Hotel in Kowloon. In the 2009 A/H1N1 case, the first known case was a Mexican who stayed at the Metropark Hotel in Hong Kong Island. Both hotels are owned by the same group. In 2003, the source lived in room 911 and was therefore given a special meaning. In 2009, the first case lived in room 1103. What is the meaning of 1103?
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