Below is a government building in Fuyang city, Anhui province.  Just on the basis alone, there has to be questions how a medium sized city in China can build a government building that looks bigger and better than the building for the national lawmakers of the most powerful nation in the world.

(Southern Weekend

In August 2007, Yingquan district (Fuyang city, Anhui province) party secretary Zhang Zhi'an received a report from Fuyang city government secretary who had illegally intercepted a letter of denunciation about Zhang's activities in graft, selling government jobs and violating laws and discipline.  Zhang analyzed the letter and concluded that the complainant must be Li Guofu, who was the director of the Economic and Trade Development Bureau of the Yingquan district as well as the chairman of the Anshu Real Estate Company.  Subsequently, Zhang Zhi'an asked then Yingquan district prosecutor general Wang Cheng to investigate Li Guofu.

On August 20, 2007, Zhang Zhi'an learned that Wang was not making much progress with the case.  Zhang threatened Wang with dismissal from his job as well as cutting off funding to his department.  He demanded that Wang make daily progress reports to him and he also told Wang that Li Guofu was the letter writer.

On August 22, 2007, Zhang Zhi'an collected all manners of complaints from Li Guofu and other persons into a combined <Special Big Complaints!!!> to send to the party and government leaders in Yingquan district and Fuyang city.  In order to guarantee that he be involved, he mailed a copy to himself.

Zhang Zhi'an also arranged for former colleagues of Li Guofu to fabricate information about his own economic problems.  Zhang Zhi'an then forwarded the so-called information about Li Guofu hiring assassins to kill enemies to the Yingquan district public security bureau.  He also arranged for the Yingquan district Party Disciplinary Committee secretary and the Personnel Department director to investigate graft by Li Guofu and other problems.

On August 26, 2007, Li Guofu was taken away by the Yingquan district procuratorate, put under detention and then held under arrest.

Wang Cheng resolutely carried out the directives of Zhang Zhi'an.  He held several meetings during which he used his authority to suppress dissent and determined that Li Guofu is suspected of graft and misuse of public funds.  Li Guofu was put into detention.  Li Guofu had ailments such as hypertension, diabetes and so on, and should not be detained according to the Fuyang city detention center.  But Wang Cheng overruled them.

On August 26, 2007, the procuratorate detained Li Guogu and found the complaint material against Zhang Zhi'an.  In order to punish Li severely, Wang Cheng recommended to Zhang Zhi'an to tell the public security bureau to investigate Li Guofu for forging documents and seals.

The Yingquan district public security bureau then "successfully" solved the case and referred it to the Yingquan district procuratorate.  At the meeting of the procuratorate, Wang Cheng once again suppressed dissenting opinion.

Zhang Zhi'an and Wang Cheng wanted to retaliate against the family of Li Guofu as well.  The two conferred and arranged for the Party Disciplinary Committee to investigate Li Guofu's wife Yuan Aiping and son-in-law Zhang Junhao.  Even when the Fuyang city party disciplinary committee did not approve, Zhang Zhi'an arranged Wang Cheng to issue a recommendation to prosecute to the public security bureau for the crimes of destroying and concealing evidence.

On January 30, 2008, the Yingquan procuratorate charged Zhang Junhao with graft, destroying and concealing evidence and Yuan Aiping with destroying evidence.

On May 14, 2008, the Yingquan district People's Court sentenced Zhang Junhao to 18 months for graft and 6 months for concealing evidence for a total of 18 months in jail time.

On March 4, 2008, the Yingquan district procuratorate charged Li Guofu with graft (to the amount of 943,000 RMB), taking bribes (to the amount of 11,500,000 RMB), forging state documents and seal stamps, and forging corporate seal stamps.

On March 13, 2008, Li Guofu died under abnormal circumstances while in detention.

On March 17, 2008, Li Guofu's son received the death certificate which stated that Li Guofu committed suicide by hanging himself.

On April 8, 2008, the Yingquan district People's Court terminated the case against Li Guofu.

In early June, 2008, Zhang Zhi'an was taken away by the Anhui provincial investigation squad.  On July 31, Zhang ZHi'an was formally arrested for framing Li Guofu in retaliation.

In December 12, the Wuhu city procuratorate completed its investigation and charged Zhang Zhi'an with framing Li Guofu in retaliation.

On March 2, 2009, the Wuhu city procuratorate discovered that the defendant Zhang Zhi'an was suspected of taking bribes.

On March 13, 2009, the Wuhu city procuratorate decided to release Zhang Zhi'an on bail.

On April 1, 2009, the Yingquan district People's Court overturned the case against Zhang Junhao for lack of evidence.

On May 27, 2009, the WUhu city procuratorate arrested Zhang Zhi-an for on bribery charges.

On June 25, 2009, the Wuhu city procuratorate formally charged Zhang Zhi'an.  The prosecutor asserted that Zhang Zhi'an had abused his position and authority for private gains and framed the complainant Li Guofu and his family in revenge in his position the Fuyang city Yingquan district party secretary and chairman of the district People's Congress Standing Committee.  Meanwhile, Wang Cheng had also conspired with Zhang Zhi'an to abuse the authority of the procuratorate for private gains in defiance of the law and the facts.  These two co-conspirators had committed crimes that violated the victim and his family which resulted in the suicide of Li Guofu.

Q1  Did you participate in the 7.1 march?
94.0%: No
  6.0%: Yes

Q2. Was that the first time that you participated in the 7.1 march? (Base: Those who particpated)
73.8%: Not the first time
26.2%: The first time

Q3. Different people have different reasons for participating in the 7.1 march.  What is your main reason? (Base: Those who participated)
44.3%: Fight for double universal suffrage/increase the pace of democratization
23.0%: Dissatisfied with social and economic conditions/serious unemployment problem
18.0%: Dissatisfied with government administration/policies
  6.6%: Dissatisfied with performance/speech by Chief Executive
  1.6%: Fight for labor rights/interests/minimum wage
  4.9%: Other reasons
  1.6%: Don't know/no opinion

Q4.  Overall, how fair would you say Hong Kong society is?  (Non-participants/participants/total)
28.3% / 52.5% / 29.8%: Unfair/very unfair
43.7% / 32.8% / 43.1%: So-so
26.7% / 13.1% / 25.8%: Fair/very fair

Q5. Overall, how would you assess the level of democratization in Hong Kong ? (Non-participants/participants/total)
14.9% / 49.2% / 16.9%: Quite low/very low
50.8% / 36.1% / 49.9%: So-so
32.5% / 11.5% / 31.2%: Quite high/very high

Q6. Overall, how satisfied are you with the current conditions in Hong Kong? (Non-participants/participants/total)
24.4% / 52.5% / 26.1%: Dissatisfied/Very dissatisfied
44.5% / 41.0% / 44.3%: So-so
30.8% /   6.6% / 29.3%: Satisfied/Very satisfied

Q7. Overall, how much do you trust the Hong Kong SAR government? (Non-participants/participants/total)
24.1% / 70.5% / 26.9%: Distrust/Very distrust
42.7% / 19.7% / 41.3%: So-so
31.8% /   9.8% / 30.5%: Trust/Very trust

Q8. Overall, are you satisfied with the performance of he Hong Kong SAR government? (Non-participants/particpiants/total)
25.9% / 68.9% / 28.4%: Dissatisfied/Very dissatisfied
53.3% / 26.1% / 51.7%: So-so
20.3% /   3.3% / 19.3%: Satisfied/Very satisfied

Q9. If 0 is the worst, 100 is the best and 50 is 'passing grade,' what grade would you give Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive? (Non-participants/participants/total)
53.1% / 33.4% / 52.0%

Technical comment: According to the Hong Kong Census Statistics, there are about 6 million person age 15 or over in Hong Kong.  6% of these people would be 6,000,000 x 0.06 = 360,000.  Two teams from Hong Kong University had estimated that about 29,000 persons participated in the 7.1 march.  So the IAPS-CUHK estimate of 6% is way too high.  Why?  Reason #1 is that this is a socially desirable answer, much like charitable donations, volunteerism, watching public interest television and so on.  Reason #2 is that some people cannot be interviewed by telephone.  July 1st may be a public holiday in Hong Kong, but the retail stores and restaurants continue to operate which means that many people are working.  These people cannot be marching.  These people will also be working during the early evening period when telephone interviewing is usually conducted.  The result is that the skewed away from the working class and toward the middle class.  This phenomenon is common to all telephone interviewing in Hong Kong, not just this IAPS-CUHK poll.

Interpretative comment: The July 1st march is sometimes taken to be the expression of the will of the the entire population of Hong Kong.  But does 29,000 people out of 7 million (age zero or over) represent all of Hong Kong?  This survey asks questions of both participants and non-participants, and therefore permits an assessment of how representative the July 1st marchers are.

Yesterday morning, a man threatened to jump off a building unless he got a refund from a agricultural produce market.  Upon receiving the tip, the reporters headed to the scene.

Shortly afterwards, Guangzhou Daily photographer Lu Zheng was surrounded by seven men who prevented him from taking photos.  Five of these men were workers at the produce market while the other two were security guards.

The Southern Metropolis Daily reporter Chen Yiqi went up and took out his own camera to film.  The seven men split up into two groups to seize the cameras of Lu and Chen.  Three of them held Lu with a throat lock while tearing at his camera strap.  They managed to take his camera.

Meanwhile the other four other men surrounded Chen and asked him to yield his camera.  Chen hugged his camera.  The other side began with a punch to his head and then shoved onto the pavement.  The four men took turns kicking him.  But Chen defended his camera.

Meanwhile the third reporter Zhang Haoyang took out his camera to start filming.  After taking a couple of shots, the security guards went after him.  ZHang Haoyang sprinted down Guangchang Road for more than one hundred meters before the security guards held him on the ground and took his camera.

Before they got the camera, Zhang told them that he was a reporter.  The other party said, "If you won't let go, I will beat you to death."  At this time, the militia police who were dealing with the suicide case hurried over.  The perpetrators fled.

The reporters were taken to the hospital to be examined for their injuries.

The police have arrested three of the perpetrators.  The assistant to the general manager of the agricultural produce market said that their administrators committed the act.  "We will accept full responsibility for all the injuries and we will compensate all losses."  He apologized to the reporters.  Another leader at the market said, "It is stupid and ignorant to treat reporters this way."

If you have a grievance, you attempt to go through the official channels to seek redress.  When that fails (more likely than not?), you stage a public incident to draw attention to your plight.  The level of attention depends on the nature of that public incident.

In Harbin city, a middle-aged woman was upset over economic issues such as the number of years that she was credited with working, her insurance coverage and so on.

At 9:50am on July 6, she took off her clothes (except for her panties) and climbed up a 30-meter tall smoke stack at number 83, Huaihe Road, Nangang district, Harbin city.  The police, the fire department and the media went to the scene.

When the reporter arrived at 10:50am, she was yelling at the people gathered underneath.  First, her younger brother got on the fire truck ladder to talk to her.  He told her not to do anything stupid.  But she was not listening.  When the ladder began to edge near her, she screamed: "Don't you come near!  If you come any closer, I will jump!"  So the ladder was brought down.  Meanwhile the fire fighters set up an air mattress underneath.

After a while, her son was sent up on the ladder, but she also refused to come down.  Finally her sister went up with fire fighters.  After some more talking, she calmed down.  Slowly and steadily, the fire fighters transferred her over to the ladder.  By 12:50pm, she was successfully rescued and sent to the Harbin Number One Hospital for examination.

Here are the photos:

Recently, a post titled <China's Most Awesome Face Building, Bound To Overwhelm You> is drawing a lot of attention on the Internet.  There are about 14,400 references in Baidu and 91,900 in Google.

In Jiaohe town, Luanchuan county, Henan province, there is a building that draws plenty of attention.  From the highway, it looks like a two-story building with walls painted in white.  From the side, it is apparent that this building is only 1.5 meters wide.  Why?  Could it be that for the purpose of responding to the call for "new rural construction," the owner only had enough money to build a façade in front and had to continue to live in the wretched mud house behind.  When the leaders come to inspect, they will also look from the highway in their cars.  Little will they realize what was behind.

Is it so simple?  Here is the follow-up by the original poster:

Yesterday, I published the post titled <China's Most Awesome Face Building> and drew plenty of attention.  That post has been cross-posted at many other websites.

Yesterday, I had stated that I did not take the photograph and I had no malice when I uploaded the photo.  I also said that I cannot confirm the story behind this building.  I as acting as an independent thinker and I "felt" that this strange building was the result of a "face" (or "image") project.  I publish this so that the relevant department can provide the direct explanation.  If this is not the true story, the government should come out with the explanation.  As such, I am exercising my citizen's rights."

Yesterday evening, the Luanchuan county government made the following reply:  After checking, this photo was a house constructed by Mr. Wen Liujun of Xiaping brigade, Niuluan village, Jiaohe town, Luanchuang county, Henan province with this own money.  This used to be a muddy triangular space.  In February 2008, Wen Liujun decided to expand his living quarters.  However, it was restricted by the fact that there was a road in front and a hilly slope to the rear which stood over flood ditches.  Therefore, he had to build a triangular building which was narrowest (1.5 meters) to the west (the angle from which the photo was taken) and widest (5 meters) to the east with a length of 8.1 meters facing the road.

As for the mud building in the rear, it belongs to the neighbor Mister Wang.

(Cat898)  The original photographer provided more photos.



A video clip showing a topless female student having her breasts stroked by a group of teenage schoolboys has caused outrage and sparked an investigation by education and public security authorities. The three-minute video has been circulated widely online and was reportedly shot in the classroom of a vocational school in Cixi City, Zhejiang Province.

An official at the Cixi Education Department told the Oriental Morning Post on Wednesday it had launched an investigation. The head of Cixi police's political department said the Internet monitoring department of the Cixi public security bureau had intervened because the case might be linked to criminal charges of spreading pornographic material online.

In the video, the female student told one of the boys she was 19. Most of the conversation was in a local dialect and hard to understand. The girl asked a boy filming her with a mobile phone to stop but was told: "It's only for us classmates and won't be shown to anybody else."

(QQ blog)

Yes, it is too late to say sorry ...

Parents, teachers, students, friends, I have let you down.  I should not be allowed to live in this world.  If there is no way out, I will choose to leave.  I am really sorry!  Why did I choose to go to the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Department?  I never thought that I would be attending this school in the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Department!!!

Why do you keep saying these things about me!!  I have a good impression of people when I was in junior high school, but why are you like this now?  May the heavens provide me with an explanation!

What did I do wrong!!!  Is there anyway to go back?  I studied hard in junior high school, but the heavens want to reward me this way.  I have really let my parents and elders down!!

Frankly, I did not do anything wrong.  We are in high school.  For the sake of our unity and harmony, I am very nice to the boys.  I wanted to share the goodness, do you know???  I know that it was very stupid for me to do this, but I did not want the class to be divided!!!!

Friends, you don't have to feel bad.  You may have done wrong, but you can still be a good person the rest of your life.  I don't blame you ... I have lost hope in life.  My friends are leaving one by one.  I really don't know what to do.

I used to have many friends, but they are now ignoring me.  Sorry.  If I cannot stand this, I will choose to leave this world.

(China Radio International Online)  July 2, 2009.

Recently, a video has been very popular on the Internet: Inside a classroom, a certain group of students at a vocational school in Cixi surrounded a female student and fondled her breasts as a group ...  From the video, the female student appeared to have an "cooperative interaction" with the other students.  Based upon her facial expression, she did not show too much objection or resistance.  The whole process of breast fondling, video recording by mobile phone camera and Internet posting seemed to be a carefully planned "performance."  This made people speculate that the female was not a victim who deserved sympathy and the many male students were not "perpetrators of violence."  The act was therefore a "game" that the female student and the male students "agreed" to play.

This sort of judgment requires an adequate reason to support.  Actually the reason is not complicated.  Vocational school students are still growing and they have feelings of rebelliousness, confusion and anxiety.  They want to seek their own values of life.  As vocational school students, their probability of success has already been capped.  As such, they cannot draw social attention to their lives and fulfill their vanity.  Therefore, they had to find another more extreme way to express themselves.

Many other people have gone to extremes to gain fame.  Examples are Sister Hibiscus and Hooligan Swallow, who used "stripping" and "flirting" to become Internet celebrities.  These predecessors set bad examples for those born in the 1980's and 1990's about how to become famous.  So certain students born in the 1990's, including those in this vocational school, must be so crazy about becoming famous that they scripted this quasi-farcical Breast Fondling Gate in order to draw social attention and satisfy their vanity.

While this Breast Fondling Gate is the cathartic release of emotions for a small number of 1990's students, the social problems behind it should merit our attention.  Isn't it time to think about our educational system?  Is our social morality sliding downhill each day?  How effective are our efforts for the growth of the students born in the 1980's and 1990's?  How many adults understand or care about the psychological states of these children?  Are these students psychologically healthy?  If we can't solve these deep structural problems, it is empty talk to hope that Breast Fondling Gate and other similar incidents will disappear from society.

Question: Why is this piece of trashy news being translated?  Is this the usual effort to pander to vulgar tastes in order to boost website traffic?  Well, I could easily boost traffic by several orders of magnitude if I post the original video here, but I won't.  My point here is that if you don't understand this now widely known story and other similar stories (note: right after Breast Fondling Gate, there has also been Pull Pants Down Gate and the 613 Handa Archbishop Building photos already), then you don't understand why Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang is able to ask back "Do you have any children yourself?" in reply to a question on Green Dam during the press conference.  It is this and other similar stories that disturb many people in China.  Do not scorn them for their conservativeness or ignorance.  If you believe in democracy, then those people happen to constitute the majority.  The Green Dam narrative is not completely one-sided, and this is also the reason why Green Dam will make a comeback in some form in the future.  You are going to have to explain what, if anything, you plan to do about Breast Fondling Gate (using it as an illustrative example only), both in terms of causes and effects.  What (if anything) is wrong with the kids?  What enables this to happen?  How can you change the motive and the action?  Should that video be censored?  Is it part of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and expression?

Several hundred owners at the collapsed Shanghai building estate met yesterday with the lawyers of the real estate developer.  The Minhang district government served as the mediator.  The owners were highly emotional and demanded withdrawal and compensation.  At one point, they chanted the name of the Shanghai party secretary: "Yu Zhengsheng!  Yu Zhengsheng!"  They were not happy with the failure of the real estate developer to discuss the sizes and methods of compensation.  Afterwards, they took a collective stroll to the Shanghai municipal government office.  They dispersed at the suggestion of the police.

According to Xinhua, the Shanghai city Minhang district petition office called a communication meeting yesterday morning.  Several hundred owners of the 13 buildings in the Lotus Riverside View Estate where the collapse building was located attended.  The attendees also included the two lawyers representing the real estate developer, as well as the government representatives from the Minhang district Building and Transportation Committee, the judiciary, the real estate administration and the Meilong town government.

At around 9am, many owners holding placards with words such as "refund" and "tragedy" stood outside the meeting room.  Every one of them wanted to be present at the meeting.  They chanted slogans outside.  This caused the meeting to be postponed while chaos ruled the scene.  Some owners surrounded government representatives to express their unhappiness.  Many people shouted "Yu Zhengsheng!  Yu Zhengsheng!" to demand the city party secretary Yu Zhengsheng to handle the matter himself.

At around 10am, the authorities let the owners enter in groups. reported that the owners wanted the government to guarantee compensation and, if the real estate developer is unable to pay, the government can pay them.  But the government officials said that they can only mediate but they cannot make direct payments nor can they order the banks to defer mortgage payments.

One owner questioned whether government workers have shares in the real estate developer.  The government responded with the request "Please do not stray too far away from the topic" and that raised a hubbub.  One male owner said: "The district government departments are shoving the responsibility at each other.  They are afraid of accepting responsibility because they might lose their jobs."

The lawyer for the real estate developer said that the company leaders did not attend this meeting because they are presently under the "control" of the public security bureau.  The lawyer will contact the apartment owners and try to understand the details of how they purchased the apartment and obtained their mortgages.  The meeting did not address the sizes and methods of compensation.  Several dozen apartment owners then gathered in front of the municipal government office building.  The police advised them to complain at the petition office, so they gradually dispersed.

Xinmin Evening News yesterday published an essay titled <Emotional hatred against rich people and government officials is undesirable>.  The author point outed that some people suspected and accused the government for no apparent reason, and that the government's insistence on a thorough investigation is praiseworthy.  Yet on July 1, there was an editorial titled <The building collapse in Shanghai: Government-business structure deserves even more attention than building structure> in Southern Metropolis Daily.  That editorial pointed out directly that the case involved government-business collusion.  That editorial was missing in the online version of the newspaper, but it has since then be posted again.

On July 1, the Southern Metropolis Daily published the editorial essay <The building collapse in Shanghai: Government-business structure deserves even more attention than building structure> on page A02.  However, the essay is missing from the online version of the newspaper on its website.  This has caused a stir among netizens.  A Beijing commentator said that this was an attempt by the newspaper to express its dissatisfaction with the large number of news reports that were suppressed by the censors recently.

When Apple Daily called up the Southern Metropolis Daily to inquire about the missing editorial essay, the reply was that the editorial was available only to registered SMD readers.  But other readers think that this is nonsense because the editorial essays have always been available publicly.

Apple Daily went to check out the online page A02 of the July 1, 2009 edition (see link) and found this:

According to the screen capture, there should be five editorial essays and one copyright announcement on that page.  The links on the right to the text showed only four editorial essays and one copyright announcement.  Missing was the editorial essay <The building collapse in Shanghai: Government-business structure deserves even more attention than building structure>.

However, the page also contains a link to the pdf version of that page.  That link works fine and the full editorial page can be found, including the "missing" editorial essay.

So was this a significant incident that was deliberately planned?  Or was this just a misunderstanding?

(AP) China says deadly bus fire was deliberately set   July 3, 2009.

A Chinese bus fire that killed 27 people and injured dozens last month was deliberately set by a man who committed suicide, state media said Friday. The air-conditioned bus caught fire during the morning rush hour in the southwestern city of Chengdu and was destroyed within minutes. Besides those killed, more than 70 people were injured, some seriously.

Police say a 62-year-old unemployed man set the fire after carrying a bucket of gasoline onto the bus, the state-run China Daily reported. The newspaper said the man, Zhang Yunliang, was burned to death at the rear of the bus. The official Xinhua News Agency said Zhang intended to kill himself. "Judging from the way the body lied on the floor and the direction it faced, Zhang did not intend to escape after setting the fire," it said. The China Daily said Zhang had been threatening to commit suicide because he was dependent on his daughter for financial support. It did not say why he wanted to do it in a public place.

Xinhua reported at the time of the June 5 fire that the death toll was worsened by overcrowding aboard the bus and the lack of functioning safety exits. Most of the bus windows were sealed and had to be broken by people outside.

(Cat898)  Suspicious points about the "arson" on the Chengdu bus

1. The most powerful evidence is the final letter to the family.  Why not publish it for everybody to see?  What is there to hide?  The letter had been received on June 9.  Why was nothing said about it until now?

2. Even if suicidal tendencies were exhibited in the letter and telephone call to the family, it does not explain why he chose this particular method of suicide.  All sorts of pessimistic people think about committing suicide every day, but how many really actually do it?  Do they all have to be reported to the police?

3. Is the retrieval of the cigarette lighter evidence?  Eight out of the ten men smoke cigarettes and carry lighters.  What kind of evidence is this?

4. Why is there no clear explanation about how come the door on the bus did not open?  "What is the causal relationship between "the suspect carried gasoline onto the bus" and "the door on the bus did not open"?

5. Why didn't the gasoline burst into flames as soon as it was lit?  Why was there only smoke for a certain period of time first?  Is there such a kind of strange gasoline in the world?

6. If he poured the gasoline on the floor first before he set it on fire, then everybody in the car should detect a strong smell of gasoline and ask for the bus to stop.  How come none of the survivors have said so?

The dead person cannot reply.  By blaming a dead person, the bus company can avoid the huge medical bills incurred by the injured passengers.  This is the best answer for the bus company, and the officials can also avoid being held accountable for inadequate supervision.

(Xinhua)  Drunk driver detained over road accident killing five in east China   July 1, 2009.

NANJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Local police have detained a drunk driver who lost control of his vehicle and caused an accident that killed five people, including a pregnant woman, in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing Tuesday evening. Hu Xiaoxiang, deputy chief of the municipal public security bureau, said Wednesday that the driver, surnamed Zhang and aged 43,drove the car while intoxicated. Zhang had 381 mg of alcohol per deciliter of blood, well above the 80 mg legal limit.  Zhang's car crashed into a street lamp, then hit a watermelon stand at 8:20 p.m. Tuesday, before it hit nine passersby and six other vehicles. Three people died at the scene and two died later.

So what?  Except this is China, where everything can be magnified into a public storm via the Internet.

First came the photos taken by netizens and reporters at the scene (via Daqi):

I am going to spare you the photo of the pregnant woman with her baby and intestines ripped open.

After these photos, there can only be rage.  Where to direct any action?  In China nowadays, the netizens only have the human flesh search as their tool.  Unfortunately, the results are not always accurate and therefore collateral damage occurs sometimes.

At first, it was reported that the car belonged to someone who works at the Jiangsu provincial procuratorate.  Later, the person was located and he said that he had sold the car to a construction sub-contractor even though the paperwork had been completed due to some problems over the auto loan at the bank.  The driver was that construction sub-contractor.

(Yangzi Evening News via Lijiang Community

According to the Nanjing police, 43-year-old Zhang Mingbao had dinner with others and drank seven or eight liang of Chinese white wine.  Afterwards, he drove his black Buick Lacrosse home.  On the way, he lost control of the vehicle, hit nine pedestrians and rammed six other cars.

When Zhang came out of his drunken stupor, he realized that he had committed a major mistake.  During the police interrogation, his voice was trembling and his eyes were blood-shot.  The reporter noticed that his hands and feet were shaking.  He said that he was very sorry to be the "executioner."  "I have committed a tremendous disaster.  I am very scared right now.  Very scared.  I have hurt so many people.  So many lives were lost!  I felt right now that I had been an executioner.  I have done them wrong.  I have done their families wrong.  I am really sorry.  I must now try to compensate them, whether it is selling my house or my car.  I must compensate them.  I hope that all drivers will learn from my lesson.  Do not drink and drive.  Do not drive when you are drunk.  You are hurting yourself and others."

Netizens have also discovered that Zhang Mingbao has a long history of traffic violations.  Nonetheless, he has continued to drive.  On June 26, he drove the same car through red traffic lights twice.

Meanwhile, the police is being criticized for how they disposed of the bodies at the scene.  You can watch the video to see for yourself.


This may be an ordinary traffic accident.  But if the authorities or principals mishandle this in some way or form, it can be an Internet storm.  Then and only then will this become a western media story.

Related Link: Police Criticized In Bloody Nanjing Drunk Driving Accident ChinaSMACK






With her hopes of traveling abroad dashed, Chen Hsin-yu once again lost control of herself and raged at the media.  A reporter asked him where her children were going to study.  At that moment, Chen Hsin-yu yelled "You are like this every day!  This is enough!"  She left her guards to chase after the reporter.  In the chaos, she could be heard to say "My children are being affected" and she also yelled at her guards: "Don't strangle my neck!"

From the videos, it can be seen that the media were lined up in a row.  When she went to the position that we indicated, she lost control as soon as her children were mentioned.

The whole phalanx of umbrellas actually stopped Chen Hsin-yu from venting her rage.  She said: "Don't strangle my neck!  Haven't you done enough!"  The camera was kept outside by the guards and the police, so it is impossible to see where she was heading.  Then suddenly she reappeared on camear with her right hand sometimes raised in the air.  She said: "It has been one year!  You have been following me for a year!  Is this tolerable?"  The clinic nurses came out to escort her in.  "You will get retribution!  You will have children some day!  You will have children some day!"

Watching Transformers 2 was undoubtedly an audio-visual feast.  Just like the first movie, this was not just an entertainment film for the eyes and ears, because it also reflects the ideology and attitudes of America.  Through this film, the intention of the American military to promote its global strategy and armament was expressed to its fullest.

First, the advanced weaponry of the American military was fully presented in Transformers 2.

The American Defense Department provided the White Sands missile testing ground to the film crew for the final battle scene.  In terms of weaponry, it provided two A-10 jet fighters, six F-16 jet fighters, ten armored Hummer vehicles, two M1A2 tanks and the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.

As everybody knows, these are the "traditional products" that America pushes in the international armaments market.  The movie showed the mobility and excellent qualities of these products.  They are going to be tempting for arms purchasers as well as nations in conflict zones.  In reality, these are not the most advanced weaponry.  For example, take the F-16 jet fighters that American likes to sell to conflict zones and third world countries.  Although it has a mature technology, it is not the most advanced American jet fighter.  The most advanced American jet fighter is the F-22, but it is not being exported.  Technologically speaking, the F-22 is a complete generation ahead of the F-16.

In conclusion: You can watch my advanced weaponry in this movie!  Come and buy some now!  But I won't sell you my best stuff!  So even if you spend a lot of money, you won't be able to beat me!

One netizen said jokingly: "Transformers 1 was advertising for American automobiles, whereas the sequel was advertising automobiles alongside weaponry!  You even have to pay to watch the advertising!"

Secondly, American has global strategic and military plans.  America believes that other nations should cooperate with its strategies.

At the beginning of the movie, the American military and the Autobots were fighting the Decepticons in the streets of Shanghai.  The Egyptian air force and the American military attacked the Decepticons on the pyramid together.  Actually, we observe the typical thinking of the American military: no matter whether it is the yet-to-happen alien invasion of Earth, or the regional conflicts or human wars on Earth, the best guarantee for world security and defending human civilization is to unite politically with America at the core and to have the American military as the command center.

Throughout history, America has interfered with the internal politics of other nations using excuses such as "democracy," "human rights" and "religious freedom."  There are even numerous examples of America starting wars.  The justification for attacking Iraq was because that nation possessed "weapons of mass destruction."  Have they found them yet?

The movie debuted around the world on the same day.  It showed the strength of American power and the role of the American military in defending peace and justice.  The imperceptible influence on the whole world (especially the young people) is: it is legitimate and just for America to station troops all over the world; if not, who is going to save you against the alien invaders from outer space or the "axis of evil" or "rogue nations" on earth?

Thirdly, the movie is deliberately trying to idealize the image of American soldiers.

I can clearly remember the scene in Transformers 1 in which the American soldiers formed friendly relationships with local children in the Middle East.  In Transformers 2, when the Decepticons attacked the Egyptian village, the American soldiers and the Egyptian militia fought alongside each other while actively evacuating civilians on camels.  This is using military-civilian harmony to make up for the dreadful image of American soldiers in the Middle East.

The movie gave a full portrayal of the bravery and fearlessness of American soldiers.  As a Transformer fan said: "When I watched the Transformer cartoons in my youth, human weapons were basically useless against the Transformers.  But in the movie Transformers 2, human weapons could knock down the Decepticons.  The invincible Devastator was easily knocked off the pyramid by a shot from the secret weapon on an American destroyer."

The Pentagon has no compunction in stating that apart from providing the grounds and various weapons, they also provided extra actors who are current servicemen who had just returned from the Afghanistan and Iraq battlefields.  They were willing to provide so much support for one reason -- to create a good and positive image for the American military.

Actually, it is customary for Hollywood to use movies to communicate American values to the world.  In the past, the best example was Titanic.  But I think that the most successful collaborations with the military are these two Transformer movies.

Related Link: Hard robots, soft power  Imagethief

The Democratic Progressive Party runs a website for this campaign.  Recently, people have discovered that if they mistype 'ddp' instead of 'dpp,' they will end up with a page of naked women instead.  Some people have wondered if this was a plot by China.  But finally, this ersatz website has made the ECFA website famous.  The Democratic Progressive Party is delighted as well as embarrassed.

On May 8, Henan province, Yanshi city State Land Resources Bureau director Li Junhu told the team of peasant laborers: "So what if you contacted the news media?  Didn't we fix the several teams that came previously?  What is so big deal about People's Daily?  Although they don't drink our water, they don't smoke our cigarettes, they don't eat our food and they don't live in the hotels that we arranged for them, it does not matter because they are news media in the final analysis.  Even if something goes wrong, it is the former director who will be accountable.  It has nothing to do with me.  Besides, I have already visited the provincial and city Land Resources Bureau and I have made reports to the city government leaders.  Let me tell you.  We have fixed the accounts of the bureau back in 2005.  It is flawless.  Even if the Central Disciplinary Committee shows up, we are not afraid.  Whoever spends state money is not spending it!  It is a real joke for a few peasant laborers to bring us lords of the land down!  As long as the cadres in our bureau do not reveal that we each got 30,000 RMB, nobody can do a thing!  The accounts do not indicate this.  The judiciary department will only check the account transactions and they do not check the planning, design and construction details.  They don't check the allocation of the money for the reclaimed land.  If you want to sue the government, you should arrest the former director.  We are presently reporting vertically upwards and the local government can't do a thing about us.  Didn't People's Net reported this already?  They are just electronic garbage.  All the reporters for People's Net are assholes!  Hasn't the Yanshi city party secretary talked to us already?  Didn't I manage to fix things?  We have no troubles whatsoever.  I cannot be rated in the same class as other bureau directors!"

After presenting the accomplishments of director Li, I must make a special statement: "I sincerely praise director Li for his delightful words.  He did not play hide-and-seek with the public.  Instead, he punctured another piece of Chinese reality in a thoroughly satisfying manner.  We know that any government official who talks this way is committing career suicide.  So I have serious doubts about whether director Li wants to be a 'human suicide bomb' in officialdom (note: thus bringing down many others)."

On June 27, a 13-story apartment building toppled over in the Riverside View Estate by the Lianhua River in the Minhang district, Shanghai city.  This drew netizen comments such as:

- The 2009 popular saying: A building says "I fall!!!" and it really fell.
- This is the first time that I saw a building collapse with such panache.
- The building said that it fell accidentally.  It also said that it will get up from wherever it fell.  Don't worry.
- While it stood, it was a commercial building; where it lays, it is a urn for ashed."
- The Transformers have arrived in Shanghai.
- Since high-level apartment buildings are no longer popular, the Urban Planning Department decided to let it lie down and be sold as single-story units.
- The significance of this building collapse is that it will create two new industries in China -- the business of predicting building collapses and the business of raising toppled buildings.
- Actually, the building has not collapsed.  The problem is that you have the wrong angle of observation.  From the viewpoint of the building, you are the one who has fallen down.
- The quality of Chinese window glass astonished the whole world.
- This is astonishing happiness is like watching a pretty woman trotting past you in a long skirt but suddenly she does a handstand and the skirt falls down to reveal all ...

I don't have the ability to determine the cause of the building collapse, but I am very interested in the comic effects as shown in the netizen comments.  Under normal circumstances, any building collapse should be a tragedy regardless of whether there were any inhabitants.  So why did the Shanghai building collapse create a comic effect?  I find it very funny.  William Hazlitt had this to say about funniness: "Something unexpected has happened.  If this incident is incongruous with the subject, people will laugh.  When this incongruity conflicts with social habits and the result contradicts normal expectations, it becomes funny."  Under this theory, I can imagine that when people read this story, they must be subconsciously thinking: Shanghai is not Wenchuan and there is no earthquake here, so how can this building fall down on its side?  People normally expects buildings to be like the Great Wall of China and stand forever.  But this building was dead before arrival.  This becomes exceedingly funny from whence came the comic results.

The netizen comments represent how they capture and respond to the comic effect.  When something funny happens, people cannot stop giggling, even loudly, in order to release the tension.  Who says the Chinese are not humorous?  Among the comments, we can see the netizens were adept in using various linguistic techniques.  Lu Xun lived in Shanghai and he said: "Comedy is about ripping about the valueless things for people to see."  When the building collapsed with the bottom exposed, this valueless thing was exposed and captured by the people.  As we look at this building, we remind ourselves of Mr. Lu Xun's teachings.

Of course, among this ecstatic talk, I also recognized that there is even much more information behind.  For the longest time, the public have paid a certain degree of attention to issues such as the quality of public housing, "tofu dreg" construction projects and so on.  The underlying problems such as government-business collusion, shortchanging on labor and materials and so on remain unsolved.  The collapse of this Shanghai building woke up people's memories and linked it to these other past incidents.  When people are unable to discuss such problems normally, they have to resort to using sarcasm, humor and spoofing.  Therefore, this kind of ecstatic talk may seem cold-hearted but it is actually a distorted expression of deep pain inside the heart.

Once we realize this, we are not longer shocked by the Internet talk.  In my judgment, these subtle, humorous and wise expressions represent the maximum truth under the current conditions.

( via HKU POP)

US President Barack Obama (a lot of confidence/some confidence)
Hong Kong: 89%
Macau: 80%
Mainland China: 55%
Taiwan: 81%
USA: 70%
Britain: 93%
France: 88%
South Korea: 88%
Germany: 89%

China's President Hu Jintao (a lot of confidence/some confidence)
Hong Kong: 85%
Macau: 92%
Mainland China: 94%
Taiwan: 60%
USA: 25%
Britain: 15%
France: 14%
South Korea: 51%
Germany: 33%

(HKPOP) (see annual trends from 1997-2009)

50% Being proud of becoming a national citizen of China
49%: Not being proud of becoming a national citizen of China

53%: Positive evaluations of Central Government's policy on Hong Kong
11%: Negative evaluations of Central Government's policy on Hong Kong

(Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Q1.  Will you attend the July 1st, 2009 march?
71.0%: No
21.8%: Possibly/undecided
  7.2%: Definitely

Q2.  Every 7.1 marcher has his own demands or reasons.  If you participate in this year's march, what is your main demand or reason? (Base: Those who chose "possibly/undecided" or "definitely" in Q1)
30.4%: Dissatisfied with social and economic conditions/serious unemployment problems
22.1%: Dissatisfied with the government's efforts in political reform
19.4%: Double universal suffrage/increase the pace of democratization
  8.7%: Show of force for civic society/attended every year/continue the spirit of the July 1 march
  8.7%: Enjoy the atmosphere/skipped the 6.4 evening vigil/introduce my children/keep company with friends
  2.8%: Dissatisfied with the sayings and performance of the Chief Executive
  1.2%: Lehman Brothers/mini-bond affair
  1.2%: Strive for labor rights/minimum wage
  0.8%: Dissatisfied with Central Government
  4.7%: Other reasons
  2.4%: No particular reason

Demographic breakdown of "definitely will participate":

  7.2%: Total

10.3%: Male
  4.7%: Female

  8.3%: Age 30 or younger
  6.6%: Age 31-50
  7.4%: Age 51 or older

  2.1%: Elementary school education or less
  6.0%: Middle school education
10.7%: University education

  6.5%: Unemployed
  7.9%: Employed

  4.3%: Monthly personal income HKD 10,000 or less
  8.9%: Monthly personal income HKD 10,000 to 19,999
10.8%: Monthly personal income HKD 20,000 or more

  6.2%: Subjective lower or lower-middle social class
  8.2%: Subjective middle social class
  6.9%: Subjective upper or middle-upper social class

  1.2%: Have no attended July 1 march previously
26.2%: Have attended July 1 march previously

Final design of the Riverside View Villas

Kung Fu Mahjong game

Sexual enhancement drug advertisement

Previously, the Jiangning district, Nanjing city, Jiangsu province Housing Administration director Zhou Jiugeng was exposed on the Internet for smoking "sky price" cigarettes that cost 1,500 RMB per cartoon.  As a result, he was dismissed from this job.  The evidence had been a photo of Zhou attending a meeting with a pack of those very expensive cigarettes in front of him.  Of course, netizens also researched the Constantin Vacheron watches that Zhou was wearing.

A new photo has now drawn attention.  The photo came from a meeting of the Ningyang (Shandong) government.  In front of the leader was a plate with four cigarettes in it with no cigarette boxes visible.  These cigarettes are now known as the "naked cigarettes" (no box = no clothes).  Netizens think that government officials are getting smarter and therefore protecting themselves.

Based upon the name of the official (Wang Qian), the Southern Metropolis Daily reporter was able to contact Wang Qian of the Ningyang county (Shandong province) party standing committee and organizational department.  Wang confirmed that he was the individual in the photo.  He was surprised at the Internet reaction and speculations around this photo.  He said that he seldom pays attention to the news and has never heard of the name Zhou Jiugeng until the reporter called up.  He said that he does not pay attention to details such as the brand of cigarettes being provided.

The Ningyang county publicity department that there was a new strategy after the Zhou Jiugeng case.  A publicity department worker said that this has been the way for five years.  However, the Southern Metropolis Daily reporter found two 2007 meeting photos at the same Ningyang city government website in which the cigarettes come in boxes.

Yesterday evening the relevant controversial photos were scrubbed from the website.

Recently, certain Internet celebrities whom I admire and their supporters were hurling verbal abuse at each other on Twitter and Fanfou.  In so doing, they forget that they are doing so in public -- this is like people having arguments in your living room every day and you can't even squeeze any serious conversation in.

I don't care about the rights and wrongs in private matters.  I care about the theory of Internet discussion and social discourse, especially about the possibility of conducting effective conversations on the Internet.  This is a serious issue because we are unable to converse in real life.  Fortunately, the Internet has provided a testing ground for holding conversation.  But if several so-called elite Internet opinion leaders are being so brash and inconsiderate, how can it go any further?

The point of conversation is not to exaggerate or be excessive, because it is a characteristic of human life.  Charles Taylor said: "We become the embodiment of the human spirit because we have the rich expressive style of humans.  In this way, we understand ourselves and we can build our consensus."  He was describing language in a broad sense, which includes not just language as we commonly understand it but also the other self-defined expression styles such as the "languages" of art, form and love.  Yet, such languages are natural endowments.  Instead, people need to communicate with others in order to learn these expression styles.  Nobody can learn these languages by doing so independently themselves.  On the contrary, people must interact and communicate with those around them in order to get into the language.  George Herbert Mead described such persons as "significant others."  This means that the origin of human thought is not a monologue made by one person but a conversation with others.

Taylor went on to say: "We always build a consensus through a conversation on a certain subject (sometimes this may even before a struggle).  This is what significant others want to see in us."  This means that the nature of self-identification on the conversation between self and others.  Without conversation, how would you know who you are?

If conversation is so important, we can ask everybody a simple question: Do you know how to converse?

In 1989, the Czech intellectuals including Havel and others established eight rules on conversation at the Civic Forum in Prague.  They distributed street posters on these eight rules:

1. The purpose of conversation is to seek the truth, not to attack

2. Do not make personal attacks

3. Stick to the subject

4. Debate must be based upon evidence

5. Do not persist on your errors

6. Distinguish between conversation and monologue

7. Keep a record of any conversation

8. Try to understand the other side as much as possible

These rules are simple and practical.  If you follow these rules, conversation will be effective.  Unfortunately, on the Internet, even the so-called Internet opinion leaders cannot do that, so what can we expect of ordinary netizens?

I feel sorry when I see the "Internet elite" make rash personal attacks, flaunt themselves vulgarly and narcissitically and issue preposterous but empty threats.  I was particularly offended by a certain influential Internet personality: "Apart from my acquaintances, I only pay attention to those who pay attention to me.  I hope that those who pay attention to me but who don't do so after I reciprocate my attention to notify me so that I don't have to pay attention to them anymore."  The sound in an echo chamber cannot replace the sounds of nature in the outside world.

The good thing about these quarrels is that people have a good close-up view of these Internet leaders and appreciate the saying, "To err is human, to forgive is divine."  At the same time, this supports Mr. Ai Weiwei's saying: "Do not hold any illusions about me."  Fanfou friend "mostarich" said: "Even pretty girls have stinking feet, so please do not think too well of everything."

The more fundamental problem is just what kind of Internet opinion leaders do we need?  Professor Xiao Qiang of the University of California (Berkeley)  have these following observations about the "representative figures" or "spokepersons" on the Internet:

1. He/she has a speech platform, such as a blog.

2. He/she should have a basic message (signal) which becomes a signal for "identity."  This is not just a theory about being able to discuss things as they stand, or using good techniques, or having good craftsmanship.

3. His/her message (signal) is not about crafting the words but about actual practice.  Under many circumstances, he/she has to pay a "price" than ordinary people don't have to, including time, money or freedom.

4. He/she should ideally be a certain kind of "expert."  In modern society, everybody has a job and people tend to believe more in "experts."

5. His/her personal character should stand up to the public gossip as well as attack from enemies.  In the Internet era, private matters can easily become public.  Public trust can easily be dissolved by other matters.

We should perhaps add a sixth item: Learn to listen.  If you don't listen, you will lose public trust.

If these are the rules, then it is really not easy to build influence in the complex and messy world of the Internet.  It is also not easy to be a "spokesperson."