(People's Net via Sina.com)

Today at 10:45am, the perpetrator of the May 7th Hangzhou traffic accident Hu Bin was sent to a prison to begin his first day of his three year jail term.  At 3pm, two teachers and two fellow students from the university where he was studying at came to visit him.

In the interviewing room, Hu Bin wore prison garb and glasses and sat down in front of everybody under the watchful eyes of the prison guards.

On the evening of May 7, 2009, Hu Bin and the individuals with family names Kong and Yuan started out in their cars from the airport and sped down the roads.  When he passed Second West Road, his car hit a young man named Tan Zhuo on the pedestrian cross-walk.  Tan died.  This incident caused a major storm in social opinion.

"After the incident, I was very scared.  My mind went blank.  I knew that I had caused a big problem."  He said "I'm sorry" several times during the interview today.  "I am sorry about Tan Zhuo, I am sorry about his parents, I am sorry about my parents.  I have created huge hurt for both families."

"During my two months at the detention center, I kept reflecting about myself."  Hu Bin paused and then said, "I will feel conscience-stricken for the rest of my life."

The first impression that Hu Bin gave people was in the photo of him covering his face with his hand.  Two months later, the Hu Bin who appeared before the public looked like a bespectacled middle-school students.

Is this the real Hu Bin?  Faced with these doubts, Hu Bin himself even had to admit: "There might have been some changes.  My hairstyle is different.  I gained weight."  He said that he wore glasses during the court trial whereas he was wearing contact lenses on the night of the accident.

As for the scar on his arm that netizens wondered about, Hu Bin dispalyed a clear long white mark to the camera.  He told the reporters, "This occurred during my third year in elementary school."

"The one on the left is Teacher Yu, the one on the right is my class master."  Hu Bin was able to recognize his former teachers and fellow students immediately.  When it came to the second fellow student, he said: "Ah Fu ... we usually address each other by nicknames."

"After this incident, you should realize that you made a mistake.  You behave better here.  We look forward to your return.  Our class is incomplete without you."  The teachers and fellow students told him.

The 15 minute interview session was over quickly.  The class master did not say anything until the time of parting came.  She turned around and choked as she said: "You are still young.  You will mature."

"Thanks, Teacher Wang.  I will."  Hu Bin was very firm in his last words.

(Wei Yingjie at My1510.cn)

From the very beginning, I never believed that it was possible for a different person to take Hu Bin's place.  This is not because I had been near the scene of the incident, nor because I had some inside information.  My information is like what most people have.  I made that judgment based upon commonsense.  In my view, even if the law enforcement authorities dared to let Hu Bin go, it would be most stupid to use a substitute to serve out his jail term.

Operationally, the law enforcement authorities could have "helped" Hu Bin by directly giving him a suspended sentence.  This is how traffic incidents are normally handled.  Since there is a legal basis for which precedents exist, the public may be dissatisfied but they can't blame the law enforcement authorities.  But to impose an actual jail term and then let a substitute serve the term?  They wouldn't dare buy off the entire court.  Besides, they could have imposed the sentence first and then made the substitution afterwards.  By that time, who was going to know which Hu Bin is sitting in prison?  The court workers would be risking their careers if they dared to make the switch right in front of the public and the media.  In the worst case scenario, they could have sentenced him and then let him out on bail on some excuse.  That would be better than doing a switch.

Chen Guojun is about 41 years old.  In the eyes of the Tonghua Steel and Iron Factory workres, he is a stern general manager and his conversations with the workers or even low-level cadres are always in the form of dressing down.  A Tonghua worker narrated the following scene: It was around noon and about 20 minutes before lunch.  Three blast furnace workers stopped the furnace and packed up to leave.  Chen Guojun came in and demanded to know why they were not working.  The workers explained that it was almost time to get off work.  Chen Guojun began very angry, pointed his finger at them and said: "You are all suspended!"

While the workers think of Chen Guojun as stern and inhumane, certain senior Tonghua Steel and Iron Factory managers considered him to possess "good character, honest and professional."  A vice general manager said that there is a huge gap in management philosophy and system between private companies and state-owned enterprises and Chen was the "sacrificial victim of these two types of corporate cultures."

On July 24, it was the first day when Chen Guojun became Tonghua Steel and Iron Company's general manager again.  As a senior manager assigned by the Jianlong Group to Tonghua Steel and Iron, his mission of the day is to meet with the managing cadres at the most important iron-smelting and coking factories.  Apart from himself, another seven Tonghua Steel and Iron Company senior managers went to the other factories with the same mission -- to assuage the cadres and workers, "keep production steady, keep safety steady and keep the team steady."

The urgency was due to the fact that certain workers were upset when the news came that the Jianlong Group has acquired controlling shares in Tonghua Steel and Iron.  On July 23, more than 1,000 people gathered in the factory area.  At about 8:30am, July 24, Chen Guojun came to the iron-smelting company office building.  The meeting went fairly well.  Although some cadres were unenthusiastic, they agreed to carry about the publicity and leadership campaign because of promises such that "the entire leadership will be retained," "no changes of middle-level cadres in the mid-term" and "no layoffs and no salary reductions for the workers."

But at about the same time, almost 3,000 current and retired workers and their families were demonstrating in front of the Tonghua Steel and Iron office building.  They blocked the railroad leading to blast furnaces numbers 1, 2 and 3.  Since raw materials was not coming in and finished products were not moving out, these blast furnaces were forced to shut down and cease production.

At 10:30pm, Chen Guojun left the iron-smelting factory and went to the coking factory.  There were demonstrators everywhere in the factory.  The steel burglary-proof doors leading to the second floor were locked.  The slogan "Jianlong, get out of Tonghua Steel" were rising and falling outside the old Coking Building.  The eight senior managers of Tonghua Steel and Iron were visiting all the factories to talk to the workers.  The demonstrators decided to target general manager Chen Guojun because the other seven were all "old Tonghua persons" whereas Chen Guojun was someone sent in by the Jianlong Group.

The crowd wanted Chen Guojun to come downstairs and address them.  When there was no response, someone began ramming the steel door.  According to eyewitnesses at the scene, there was almost 10,000 people surrounding the old Coking Building.  People egged each other on.  They changed slogans and they used heating panels to pry over the burglary-proof steel doors on the second floor.  The time was 11:20am.  Tonghua blast furnaces 4, 5 and 6 had also shut down and ceased production.

The crowd piled into the second-floor conference room.  Chen Guojen told the workers that if they wanted to say something, they should do it properly instead of this way.  The workers replied "Jianlong, get out of Tonghua Steel!" and "Get lost quickly!  Tonghua's business has nothing to do with you Jianlong people!"  Someone threw water bottles at Chen Guojun and someone else even took off their work boots and threw them at him.  Someone picked up a chair to throw at Chen but missed.

Seeing what was happening, Chen Guojun sternly demanded the workers to return to their work posts "or else you are all fired!"  When the workers heard him say that, they got angrier.  They dragged Chen Guojun into the corridor where they punched and kicked him.  This first beating was not very serious as Chen Guojun was able to get away and hide.

Almost every burglary-proof door on the second floor of the Old Coking building was smashed.  There was a big hole in the wall and broken glass all over the floor.  When people realized that Chen Guojun had disappeared, they searched the rooms one by one.  So Chen Guojun was eventually found.  But Chen insisted on maintaining his tough attitude.  "He said, 'If I so much have one breath left in me, I will make sure that all of you are fired tomorrow!'"  The reaction was an even more severe beating.  Eyewitnesses said that Chen Guojun was beaten at least three times.  On the last occasion, he was sent tumbling down from the second floor to the first floor by a kick.

"He laid on the ground, breathing heavily.  He could not speak anymore."  The time was 16:30 or so.  The remaining blast furnace number 7 had also shut down and ceased production.  The Tonghua Steel and Iron Factory was totally idled.

"He was dead.  But people kept throwing bricks at his body.  This shows how bad he was and how people hated him."  A Tonghua workers said.  According to eyewitnesses, Chen Guojun was motionless after around 7pm that evening.  According to the Jilin provincial government, "Chen Guojun died at 11pm when efforts to revive him failed."

(Sydney Morning Herald)  Hong Kong murder accused 'has done nothing wrong'   By Arjun Ramachandran    July 28, 2009.

The family of an Australian man charged with the murder of a Hong Kong taxi driver has launched a strident defence of him on blogs and social-networking sites.

Kelsey Mudd, 22, faced court yesterday over the June 27 incident, in which a 58-year-old taxi driver died after a smash in Hong Kong’s central district in the early hours of the morning. The incident made headlines after the emergence of dramatic video footage of the incident showed Mudd with blood splattered across his face.

At the time, Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post said Mudd and the driver had argued shortly before the crash, and that after the crash Mudd had driven off in the taxi before hitting another taxi. But in a website - www.bringkelseyhome.com- created in support of Mudd and to raise money for his legal defence, Mudd’s father, Michael, labelled initial reports ‘‘wild and totally unsubstantiated allegations’’. In court yesterday to support his son, Michael Mudd said his son was holding up well in custody. ‘‘He’s strong. He’s done nothing wrong,’’ he said.

Mudd, who has not entered a plea, appeared in court with his hair shortly cropped and wearing a dark blue suit jacket over a checkered dress shirt and khaki pants. He did not show any emotion, but briefly glanced to the back of the courtroom, where his parents and friends were seated.

Mudd’s lawyer, Ian Polson, argued in court that the crash "always was and is a traffic accident". He said there was no evidence Mudd was behind the wheel during the accident that killed the driver. "It’s been blown all out of proportion," he told the judge.

The website created by Mudd’s family argues Mudd did not drive off in the taxi, but that it ‘‘moved off down a slight incline and hit another taxi’’. The site, along with a Facebook page and a blog, described Mudd as a ‘‘hard working, quiet, and responsible young man’’. The geography and environmental sustainability student at California State University, Chico, was on summer vacation in Hong Kong at the time of the accident. He had chosen to volunteer with a Hong Kong charity, Adventure Ship, it said.

In a note from jail, Mudd has described having trouble sleeping, and seeing ‘‘4 rats over a foot long’’ and a cockroach in his drinking cup.

Mudd was remanded in custody after his case was adjourned to August 28. His lawyer said he plans to apply for bail. Mudd holds both an Australian and American passport, was born in Hong Kong and moved to San Francisco at age nine.

Online discussion at Hong Kong GeoExpat

Q1.  How satisfied are you with the performance of the Hong Kong Legislative Council during their first year of this term?
32.3%: Dissatisfied
54.5%: So-so
10.9%: Satisfied
  2.3%: Don't know/hard to say

Q2. Over the past year, some people think the Legco members were "too conservative" while others think that they are too "radical."  What is your opinion?
14.4%: Too conservative
34.8%: Appropriate/so-so/half-and-half
39.5%: Too radical
11.3%: Don't know/hard to say

Q4. How satisfied are you with Legco chairman Jasper Tsang Yok-sing?
18.8%: Dissatisfied
53.6%: So-so
23.9%: Satisfied
  3.7%: Don't know/hard to say

Q5. Do you think that the Legislative Council is adequately reflecting public opinion in their work?
42.1%: Inadequate
36.9%: So-so
18.4%: Adequate
  2.6%: Don't know/hard to say

Q6. Do you want the Legislative Council to do more on supervising the government or cooperating with the government?
51.4%: More on supervising the government
37.9%: More on cooperating with the government
10.7%: Don't know/hard to say


Q1.  How satisfied are you with the overall quality of free over-the-air television programs in Hong Kong?
  6%: Very satisfied
23%: Satisfied
47%: So-so
13%: Dissatisfied
  8%: Very dissatisfied

Q2. Which types of programs should the free over-the-air television stations add more to their program line-ups?
  4%: Children programs
  6%: Finance programs
24%: Educational programs
15%: News programs
12%: Movies
11%: Variety programs
  5%: Drama series
12%: Other
11%: No opinion

Q3. Some people think that the local free over-the-air television programs are unfair and unbalanced.  Do you agree?
45%: Agree
18%: Disagree
37%: No opinion

Q4. Some people think that the local free over-the-air television programs are of poor taste.  Do you agree?
51%: Agree
23%: Disagree
26%: No opinion

Q5. Do you think that it was appropriate for interviewers with artistes to be broadcast during news programs?  (Note: The most famous episode is the interview of Gillian Chung by TVB general manager Steven Chan Chi-wan.)
12%: Appropriate
63%: Inappropriate
25%: No opinion

Q6. Do you think that a situation of monopoly exists in free over-the-air television at this time?
59%: Yes
22%: No
19%: No opinion

Q7. Do you think that the Broadcast Authority exercises adequate supervision of local free over-the-air television now?
19%: Adequate
36%: Inadequate
38%: Not familiar with the supervision
  7%: No opinion

Q8. Do you think that the sanctions imposed by the Broadcast Authority against violations are sufficient now?
14%: Sufficient
37%: Insufficient
40%: Not familiar with the sanctions
  9%: No opinion

Q9. If you should feel extremely dissatisfied with a certain television program, would you make a complaint to the Broadcast Authority?
24%: Yes
50%: No
26%: No opinion

Q10. If 'No' to Q9, what is your reason for not making a complaint?
  7%: Don't how to go about making a complaint to the Broadcast Authority
23%: No spare time to make complaints
56%: Don't think complaints are useful
  8%: Other reasons
  6%: No opinion

In translation:

If you dare, you scratch my my car!
Your daddy me is parking my car here for sure.
If you have the balls, you can come out for a meeting.
I fuck your bitch mother, your mother-in-law, your wife, your elder sister(s), your younger sister(s), your elder sister(s)-in-law, your younger sister(s)-in-law!
If you don't believe me, you can tell your wife to come out and meet me?

Hu Bin was the Hangzhou driver who killed a young man while speed racing in the street on May 7.  Here is the photo at the scene of the incident.

When he was recently tried and convicted in court, he looked something like this.

Could this possibly be the same person?  Or was someone being paid to serve the three-year jail sentence?  While netizens are understandably skeptical and cynical, the West Lake Court insisted that this was the driver (who had grown fatter and paler after 2-1/2 months in detention.

Shortly afterwards, netizens came up with a photo of someone who resembles the person on trial and identified him as a taxi driver named Zhang Lica.  All of a sudden, "Zhang Lica" became a very search term at the search engines as everybody strove to be the next to break the case open.

Yesterday, someone posted at the ifeng.com BBS.

Dear esteemed netizen friends,

In recent days, the raging rumor was that I am the stand-in of Hu Bin.  I hereby declare that I am not the stand-in of Hu Bin.  I am just a taxi driver in Hangzhou.  My parents are ordinary workres.  Previously, I led a simple and calm life.  Recently, the raging rumor was that I was the stand-in for Hu Bin, and many netizens sought confirmation with my friends, family and unit.  This has seriously affected my life and work.  I am annoyed beyond.  The telephone rings non-stop at my family home and work unit.  Today, I am resting at home.  Please do not hype this matter any more.  Please the Party and the government, the Hangzhou public security bureau and the Xihu district court in their ability to make basic determination.  I thank everybody for that.  I am making this statement through the iFeng ZBBS.  I can understand how people feel, but please spare me and not disturb me anymore.

Zhang Lica, July 28, 2009.

Of course, it is impossible to establish that this is the real Zhang Lica.

In Southern Metropolis Daily today, there was another development.

A Beijing man named Liu is approaching the media to state that while he was the person in the photo, his name is not Zhang Lica and he was not present as the defendant in the Hangzhou court trial.  Liu is 28-year-old and he is an administrative assistant at a state-owned enterprise in Beijing.  Liu is perplexed: "I don't know how my photo got posted on the Internet and I don't know why people are saying that this is Zhang Lica."

According to Liu, he has never visited Hangzhou before.  The photo on the Internet was taken several years ago, but he owns that shirt and bracelet.  To prove that he is the person in the photo, he sent our reporter some of his other photos including the one with the pink shirt (which was taken next to another man).  "If you like, you can come over and meet me in person."

After his photo was posted on the Internet under then name of Zhang Lica, Liu's life had been severely disrupted.  "Some friends told me.  I received dozens of phone calls a day from friends and colleagues."  This case had been reported by the media.  When friends saw the photo on QQ, they called me.  "My parents thought that I got myself into trouble.  Fortunately, the human flesh search engines did not find my phone number and address, so I have not been contacted by strangers yet."

When asked about the photo from the court trial, Liu said: "Frankly, when I saw that photo of Hu Bin in court, I thought that there was a certain likeless."  Liu thinks that netizens have irresponsibly used the human flesh search and created major turmoil for him.

Yesterday afternoon, Liu took time off from work and contacted a dozen or more newspapers and websites to clarify the case.  "I don't want to hire a lawyer.  I just want this to go away."

(Erica Yuen's blog)  July 25, 2009.

I will be talking about the Young Models at the City Forum tomorrow.  The content will be related to the following photos.

Fans reaching out to grab the
'milk' that Kama is handing out

What is the sense of aesthetics
when the central gate is wide open?

There is a problem with interpretation here


There is a problem when a woman
uses her arms to squeeze her tits
to pose for a photo without feeling
any embarrassment.

(Erica Yuen's blog)  July 26, 2009.

- First, please do not label me as an anti-"Young Model" person.  I am mainly opposed to how the media is exploiting them and creating bad influence.

- Certain media kept saying that "young models" can get more exposure by wearing less clothing, which caused more "young models" to give sexy performances on various occasions.

- Actually, these "young models" cannot be described as "models."  "Models" use their bodies to wear and carry clothes, accessories, brands and products.  Their own bodies are not the selling points.

- We should deplore the mass media for setting the bottom line lower and lower.  If it takes sexy photos to achieve popularity today, will it take compensated-friendship tomorrow?  Will prostitution be just as widely reported and made popular in the future?  If that is the case, the moral bottom line of society will be torn away layer by layer so that Hong Kong becomes just like Japan.  Compensated friendship?  No problem.  Adult videos and prostitution?  No problem.  Of course, compensated friendship, adult videos and prostitution can be legalized, but the mass media does not have to promote them and hence lower the moral standards of society.

- Even though the photos of the "young models" are neither indecent nor obscene, we can use common sense to make our judgments.  Clearly, certain photos in the albums have unhealthy ideas.  For example, the close-ups of breasts and buttocks; the placement of a pool cue in the cleavage; dropping toothpaste and ice cream on the chest.  I don't want to spell out what is healthy or unhealthy, but the fact is that they are unhealthy and I don't want to hear the publishers come up with rubbish such as "it is normal for ice cream to fall on the breasts."  You are just trying to fool children.  This is like you telling the children that Mary is just an inflated doll with a O-shaped mouth.

- The problem is that normal and obscene photo albums are being sold in public areas.  Immature young people cannot tell the difference between so-called obscene photos and "no-big-deal" photos.  In the absence of information, this will affect the values of young people.

Although it is hard to tell between healthy sexiness and indecency/obscenity, I think that when Miss Hong Kong contestants and models wear swim costumes or when movie stars walk down the red carpet in sexy clothes, they will not deliberately spread their legs apart, flash themselves or get down on all fours.  If the "young models" were to wear bikinis and pose on the a beech, it would be healthy sexiness.  The problem is that photo albums are clearly using obscene poses and suggestions as selling points.  I think that society should hear some voices of condemnation here.


It is a unique Hong Kong characteristic to have "young models" accusing each other's photo album for being unhealthy to the mind.  It is another unique Hong Kong characteristic to say that the "young model" photo albums will cause young people to imitate them.  Such social phenomena in Hong Kong will always be the reflection of the spiritual state of the people of Hong Kong.  The "young models' affair showed that the people of Hong Kong are poor at appreciation.  They will look at everything from the viewpoint of moral enlightenment.  Nobody will ever look at whether the thing is beautiful or good in itself.  The aesthetic judgment of Hong Kong people has not improved with freedom of publication.  Instead, it has still remained in the feudal era where discussions are kept at a level of whether something should be published or not.


The "young models" photo albums are not textbooks on human biology or anatomy.  Everybody knows that the "young models" photo albums are soft porn.  Its spiritual healthiness and moral enlightenment value has to be lower than the Bible, the Buddhist Sutras and the Koran.  It is risible to even want to discuss its moral enlightenment value.  Social mores change not because of these photo albums, but because of the criticisms of these things.  I consider Hong Kong to be a cultural desert not because too few books are published and not because of the lack of a West Kowloon Cultural District. 

(書之驛站)  July 26, 2009.

I hear that there will be some "young models" wearing low-cut dresses selling photo albums at this year's Hong Kong Book Fair.  Hey, that's cute.  Is that for real?  But somehow quite a few people object to this and they even organized to "please tell the young models to get lost."  I am perplexed.  The Book Fair is public space.  How come you can go but other people can't?  Is this what Article 23 says?  Many starlets are clearly not well-educated but they write books that get sold at the Book Fair.  There is no problem with that.  It is alright if people will read and buy the books.  Free market.  Free society.  So how come starlets can come to the Book Fair, but not "young models?"  Are you practicing discrimination?

Young people should learn the art of tolerance.  Besides the sentence "XX please get lost" is inappropriate.  "Please" is a courteous expression" but "get lost" is rude.  The two phrases are incompatible.  Either say "they should please depart" or "tell them to get lost."  Rather it is the poverty of art and cultural criticisms in Hong Kong.  Let us look at the newspapers in developed countries.  The New York Times has book reviews, film reviews, television reviews, music reviews and theater reviews.  There are also specialized magazines that review mass culture, such as Rolling Stone and Playboy.  In Hong Kong, the only music magazine and the only film magazine have both folded.  Instead, tabloid magazines are everywhere.

You may feel that I am writing this essay in support of the "young models."  Congratulations!  You have just passed the test for a typical Hong Kong person, because you easily divided people into two camps and then automatically signed me up for this party struggle.

He came to Shenzhen twenty-one years ago, and he never left the pier.  Although many tall buildings in Shenzhen were built with the bricks that he hauled, he has never seen what those b buildings look like.  He has only seen the rows to high-rise buildings in Shenzhen on television.  According to Lao Liu, he has walked 229,950 kilometers on the pier since 1998 hauling bricks.

At the Xixiang Pier in Bao'an district (Shenzhen city), they wore old clothes and army boots and they used their poles to carry bricks off the boats.  Day after day, year after year.  They sweat profusely in the high temperatures.  They sweat more in one day than an ordinary person would sweat in an entire day.  They use their poles to feed their families.  The high-rise buildings in Shenzhen are the fruits of their labor.

About 30,000 Chinese steel workers clashed with police over plans to merge their mill with another company, and beat a manager to death, a Hong Kong-based human rights group has said. About 100 people were injured in the incident on Friday in the northeastern city of Tonghua, the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said in a statement.

A police officer at the Tonghua Public Security Bureau's control centre on Sunday confirmed to AFP that a clash took place, but refused to provide any details or comment on the reported death. Company and local government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Tonghua Iron and Steel Group employees opposed plans for Beijing-based Jianlong Steel to take a 65 percent stake in the mill, the centre said, adding they accused Jianlong of mismanagement during temporary stewardship last year. The Tonghua employees attacked Jianlong general manager Chen Guojun when he ordered them to return to work, the centre said, adding Chen's friends had confirmed he had died after workers blocked an ambulance from responding. The workers had complained about Chen's alleged three-million-yuan (438,000-dollar) salary, as the mill's pensioners received as little as 200 yuan (29 dollars) a month, the statement said.

Beijing is trying to consolidate its steel industry, which comprises hundreds of small producers, through mergers aimed at creating big players that have the potential to be globally competitive.

(Club.163.com)  July 25, 2009.

A big thing occurred at the Tonghua Steel today.  I will say that it is a big thing only, because I don't know if it is a good thing, a fortunate thing, a bad thing or a tragic thing.  A life perished under the hands of countless number of workers, and that person was the newly appointed Tonghua Iron and Steel Company Mr. Chen who came from the Jianlong Group.

It is late night, but there is still random sounds of firecrackers being set off outside.  I cannot judge what that means.  For the Tonghua Steel workers, this may represent victory; for the Jilin government, it may reprsent irony; for Chen, it may be a farewell dirge.

This affair began on July 22.  On that day, the Tonghua Steel Group which is based in Changchun city (Jilin province) announced that the Jianlong Group has invested money in Tonghua Steel again to the tune of more than 50% of the shares in the new Tonghua Steel Group, while the Jilin State Fund Committee only has 34% of the shares.  This means that the the largest iron/steel state enterprise in Jilin province has been taken over by the private enterprise Jianlong Group.

When the news came that day, the workers at the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory (which was the principal production facility of the Tonghua Steel Group) were worked up.  There were voices of condemnation, surprise, incomprehension and despair.  It has been a mere three months since the partnership between Jianlong and Tonghua Steel was re-organized.  Back in October 2005, the Jilin provincial party/government worked hard to set up a partnership between the only large-scale state enterprise in Jilin -- the Tonghua Steel Group -- with the biggest iron/steel investment company in China -- the Jianlong Group.  At the time, the Jianlong Group infused capital into the Tonghua Steel Group and acquired almost 40% of the shares.  Although the Jianlong Group was not the majority shareholder, the general manager and the financial director quickly became Jianlong appointees under the guise of "introducing private-sector management system."  So there began a series of dubious operational moves.  The entire Tonghua Steel management was changed.  It became neither state nor private: the senior managers drew high salaries while mouthing that they represent the Party and the county, and the workers were being laid off and their salaries were cut.

The 2008 financial crisis caught many companies by surprise, and the new Tonghua Steel Group was no exception.  At a time when the iron/steel industry was in a depression, Tonghua Steel Group continued to lose money.  The Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory cut its salary down to an average of 300 yuan per month.  By comparison, the Jilin New District factory continued normal production and their workers suffered no salary cuts (in normal times, the Jilin Iron and Steel Factory workers receive higher salaries than the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory workers).  The Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory were not pleased that workers at the same company receive different pay only because the investor or the previous owner before the merger was different.  During this period, the Tonghua Steel workers contacted various media or communication channels to show these abnormal problems there, but nothing happened.  At the Internet forums such as Baidu, Sina.com, Tianya and other places, posts about Tonghua were deleted.  In 2008, there was a death at the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory that came as a result of management-worker conflict with the deceased being the factory manager.  In a mere three years, the relationship between cadres and workers at Tonghua Steel nose-dived with all sorts of conflicts happening.  After the consecutive losses in 2008, Jianlong decided in early 2009 to split the shares in the Tonghua Steel Group.  After negotiation, the Jianlong Group obtained 100% of the shares in Jilin Iron and Steel as well as the original iron ore mountain formerly owned by the Tonghua Steel Group.  In March 2009, the Tonghua Steel Group and the Jianlong Group formally divided their shares.  When the announcement was made public, the sound of firecrackers went on through the night in the residential areas of the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory workers.

Before the splitting of the shares, Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory had lost almost 1 billion yuan in just the first quarter of 2009, while the Jilin New District lost only 200 million yuan.  After the share splitting, in April, the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory lost almost 100 million yuan; in May, there was only a small loss; in June, it made a profit of 60 million yuan.  Everybody at the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory was delighted.  In July, everybody at the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory was ready for a good fight.  But right at this moment, the Jianlong Group infused capital into Tonghua Steel to obtain majority control.  When the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory workers and families saw how a private enterprise swallowed up a state enterprise and they were being fooled once again, their anger and passions boiled over.

As a state enterprise with a share system, there has to be principles by which big decisions are made.  First of all, when a big change is pending, the Communist Party and the workers' union should hold a meeting of representatives as well as sought the opinions of the workers.  Since the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory is a state enterprise, its reform should follow the procedures for state enterprises.  Secondly, the workers are also shareholders of Tonghua.  Even though each worker holds only a very small number of shares, they are almost 20,000 strong and the sum of their shares is not small.  When there is a change at any enterprise, there should be a shareholders' meeting which is announced beforehand.  When the two groups decided to merge again, many senior managers at the Tonghua Steel Group were not even aware.  As for the publicity materials for the enterprise re-organization, the workers only got them the day after the re-organization was announced.  When the Jilin Provincial State Capital Committee issued its decision to re-organize, several general managers at the Tonghua Group resigned as a group.  Meanwhile the worker movement at the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory began to develop fully.

This was a spontaneous worker movement without any organizing.  Everything was based upon the hatred of the Jianlong Group and the dissatisfaction with the policy-decision of the Jilin provincial senior leaders.  On the morning of July 23, certain Jilin Province State Capital Committee leaders and Jianlong Group senior managers came to hold a meeting at the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory about the re-organization.  They were surrounded and shoved by 100 current workers and 50 family members.  That afternoon, the Tonghua public security bureau began to call the various departments of the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory to gather details of the clash.  On the morning of July 24, almost 300 current workers and family members assembled in front of the Tonghua Iron and Steel office building.  They raised banners such as "Jianlong, get out of Tonghua Steel," chanted slogans and demonstrated.  At around 9am, the demonstrators headed towards the Tonghua Iron and Steel Metallurgy District.  They blocked the railroad leading into the Numbers 1, 2 and 3 blast furnaces.  Shortly afterwards, the Numbers 1, 2 and 3 blast furnaces stopped production.  By noon, the demonstrators still had not dispersed.  They gathered around the various railroads leading to the Metallurgy District.  Number 4, 5 and 6 blast furnaces also stopped production.  In the afternoon, Number 7 blast furnace also ceased production.  By this time, production had ceased or slowed down everywhere in the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory.  All the units either halted or cut down on production.

On July 24, in a certain room at the Tonghua Steel Hotel, the newly appointed Tonghua Steel Group general manager named Lee (who came from the Jianlong Group) met with the various Tonghua Steel factory managers.  The various Tonghua Steel factory managers went to the various middle-level cadres and worker representatives to ask them to stabilize the workers.  Meanwhile, the newly appointed Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory general manager named Chen led a team to the Jiaohua factory to speak to the middle-level cadres and worker representatives there.  For unexplained reasons, some of the demonstrators learned about this meeting and rushed over to the Jiaohua factory office building where the meeting was being held.  It was reported that Chen had an argument with the demonstrators and made them angry.  A group of demonstrators charged inside the meeting room, dragged Chen out into the corridor and assaulted him.  When the news came out, the demonstrators in various places moved towards the Jiaohua factory.  Tonghua city mobilized many public security officers, traffic officers and armed police officers to head towards the Tonghua Metallurgy District and imposed traffic restrictions.  The Jilin provincial and Tonghua city leaders also went to the scene, but the situation was still not under control.  At 19:00 in the evening, there were almost 10,000 people in the Tonghua Metallurgy District.  According to reports, Chen had already been beaten many times.  Some even said that criminal elements joined in the beating.  By this time, Chen was already dead and the sight of his body was hard to watch.  But many workers still hung around and forbade government workers to come in.  At around 21:00 that night, the Tonghua Steel Group announced on television to the Tonghua Iron and Steel Factory workers and their families that the Jilin provincial government has decided that Jianlong will withdraw and never participate in any reorganization of Tonghua Steel again.  By around 22:00, the demonstrators and the spectators dispersed gradually.

The incident occurred too quickly and the scale of the incident was beyond the imagination of almost everybody.  By midnight, I still could not believe everything that has happened.  I have met Chen.  He was the type of professional manager who would even tremble when he had to speak in public.  Based upon my understanding, nobody at Tonghua Steel rated him as a qualified manager.  But some people were happy with him because he followed orders.  It should be said that his ending is tragic.  No matter how many mistakes he has made, he should not have to pay with his life.  His death is the bad result of the failure of the reform in the Jilin iron/steel system, serious mistakes on the part of senior Jilin provincial leaders and the fruit of the opportunistic investment made by the Jianlong people.  The Tonghua Steel workers saw that the factory that their forebears had built up over a period of more than 50 years was suddenly taken over by someone else, especially at a moment when the factory seemed to be getting out of trouble and looking to grow.  When they failed to get the support and understanding of the leadership, they resort to extreme actions.  The Jianlong Group people are a team of brilliant financial experts with a deep background, but they never dreamed that they would trip over in this case.  The northeastern Chinese people are renowned for their toughness, and the contradictions in this case have gone too far for any reconciliation.  With the exception of a few who can actually do stuff, the Tonghua Steel leaders are bureaucrats looking after their own interests and lacking vision and ambition.  They only see profit and self-interest.

The ending of this affair is a tragedy.  Although firecrackers are going off outside the window, I am only hearing bitter sounds of laughter from hell.  In my sorrow, I can watch the clock ticking away.  I feel sorrow over the brash moves of the Jilin provincial leaders.  I feel sorrow over the perverse developments in society.  I feel sorrow over the blindness and barbarity of the Tonghua Steel workers.  I feel sorrow over the bottomless greed of the Jianlong people.  I feel sorrow for the family of the deceased ...

From this, I remember several incidents that have occurred in Jilin province: the corruption case of the Changchun city deputy secretary Mi Fengjun, the corruption case of the senior managers at the Jilin Food Enterprise, the cheating at the university entrance exam in Songyuan city, the criminal elements inside the Tonghua city public security bureau, the failure of the system reforms at the Jilin Iron and Steel Enterprise, the decline of the ginseng industry in Jilin province ... What do they tell us?  Jilin is ill, and seriously ill at that.  As a province that is known for producing agricultural food, Jilin ought to be a base for cultivating simplicity and honesty, instead of being the breeding ground of greed and lust.  The problems at Tonghua Steel are not just contradictions that occur during the reform of state enterprises, but they show something even deeper.  Does it require a death to draw attention?  Who can save Jilin?

(The Guardian)  Chinese state steel workers beat private firm boss to death   By Tania Branigan.  July 26, 2009.

Thousands of angry Chinese steel workers clashed with police and beat to death an executive of the firm trying to take over their company, a Hong Kong-based human rights organisation has said. Rioters killed Chen Guojun, the general manager of Jianlong Steel Holding Company, after learning that the privatised firm was to buy a majority stake in state-owned Tonghua Iron and Steel Group. The deal now appears to be scrapped.

The violence in Tonghua city, Jilin province, north-eastern China, on Friday is believed to be the country's biggest civil disturbance since last summer. It comes weeks after inter-ethnic conflict between Han Chinese and the Muslim Uighur minority in China's north-west region of Xinjiang left 197 people dead and 1,700 injured.

The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said 30,000 people were involved in the latest incident, although some internet postings put the figure at closer to 10,000.

China is the world's largest consumer and producer of steel, but its industry is regarded as inefficient. The workers are thought to have been fearful of further large-scale redundancies at a company that reportedly axed many jobs only a few years ago. Reports suggest Tonghua has between 20,000 and 50,000 employees.

Millions of people were laid off by state enterprises in the 1990s and workers often complain that they receive little compensation.

The human rights centre said workers were angry that Chen earned about 3m yuan (£267,000) last year while Tonghua's retirees were given as little as 200 yuan a month. They blocked roads and smashed police vehicles, the centre said, adding that 100 people were injured in the violence. Authorities in the area have made no formal comment on events and phone calls to the companies went unanswered. But the South China Morning Post quoted a police officer from the public security bureau as telling them: "Yes, it did take place … Workers from Tonghua would not allow ambulance and medical practitioners to enter the building to rescue Mr Chen and he died." Local television said on Friday night that the takeover would be scrapped, the newspaper added.

Beijing-based Jianlong – one of the largest private steelmakers – is thought to have invested in Tonghua as early as 2005 and to have attempted to take a controlling stake last year, only to back out after it failed to improve the company's fortunes. But as the steel market rebounded, thanks in part to a government stimulus package, Jianlong made another attempt to take over.

One account posted on the internet suggested that several hundred workers had begun a demonstration on Friday morning and closed down production at much of the site. When they learned that Chen was briefing senior staff, they rushed into the meeting. An argument ensued and they assaulted him.

The incident is thought to be the largest civil disturbance since up to 30,000 people took to the streets in Weng'an, Guizhou, last summer, trashing police and government headquarters over rumours of corruption and official abuses. China has seen a rising number of "mass incidents" in recent years. According to the ministry of public security, the tally rose from 10,000 in 1994 to 87,000 in 2005. Figures have not been published since then but experts believe they may well have increased further. The government is particularly sensitive to such unrest this year ahead of the 60th anniversary of Communist Party rule this October. In China, six decades is considered a complete life cycle.

(China Daily)  Manager beaten to death in plant riot    By Wang Huazhong in Beijing and Liu Mingtai in Changchun (China Daily)    July 27, 2009.

An executive was beaten to death on Friday as 3,000 steel workers threatened with job cuts protested following the takeover of their company in Tonghua, Jilin province. Jianlong Steel Holding Company representative Chen Guojun was killed at a facility run by Tonghua Iron and Steel Group, in northeast China's old industrial heartland.

The brawl broke out after Tonghua workers were told to expect job losses during a meeting with a delegation from Jianlong Steel, a privately owned firm based in Beijing. It was the second time Jianlong had launched a takeover bid for the State giant and many feared the company planned to drain State assets before following up with cost-cutting measures, including redundancies.

"Employees (many of whom are shareholders) are close to enjoying financial gains as the price of steel continues to rise," said a police officer that identified herself only as Wang. "Then, Chen disillusioned workers and provoked them by saying most of them would be laid off in three days. Chen, saying that a total number of 30,000 employees would be cut to 5,000, infuriated the crowd."

The angry steel workers beat Chen and then blocked ambulances, police and government officers from reaching him. He is believed to have died in the midst of the steel workers at 8 pm Friday. "Chen, the manager, did not deserve to be killed. Unfortunately, he was targeted after unleashing the anger of the furious crowd," said Wang. The demonstration led to a halt in production at all of the seven blast furnaces belonging to the steel manufacturer, which has a yearly throughput of about seven million tons.

Jianlong held 49 percent of shares in Tonghua between 2005 and the start of 2009, and restructured the company. Last year, the joint venture experienced significant economic losses due to the global financial crisis, leading to a drop in production and cuts in salaries, causing discontent among workers. One netizen said the murder at the end of last year of Song Kai, the head of a Tonghua-affiliated steel mill, allegedly at the hands of a 28-year-old worker, was another example of the friction between management and workers in the joint venture.

Jianlong left the partnership in March and workers reportedly celebrated with fireworks. This month, Tonghua State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission reported that the company, which "went through some very tough challenges in past 10 years", had made a profit of 42.7 million yuan ($6.2 million) in June. But on July 22, workers learned that Jianlong had secured more than 50 percent of the company's shares, giving it full control.

Local government representatives announced on Friday night that the deal would now be shelved permanently and the crowd dispersed. Jianlong and Tonghua are respectively ranked 158th and 244th in the top 500 Chinese companies.

(China Daily)  Size of deadly protest exaggerated: official    July 29, 2009.

A spokesman from the steel plant in Jilin province that was the scene of a deadly protest on Friday has denied reports that 30,000 workers were involved. Zhang Zhidong, spokesman for the Tonghua Iron and Steel Co, said it would be impossible for the protest, which culminated in the beating death of an executive, to have involved 30,000 people, as was reported by Reuters and AFP. "We only have 13,000 on the payroll," he said.

A work group organized by the provincial government to investigate the incident said the executive who was killed, Chen Guojun, had been sent to the plant by the Beijing-based Jianlong Heavy Machinery Group to conduct a merger discussion in an effort to take a controlling share in the Tonghua Iron and Steel Group.

Wang Xidong, deputy head of the Jilin provincial State-owned asset commission, said the proposed change in ownership would only have affected managerial personnel, rather than the rumored cuts to the workforce that stirred the protest.

According to police, around 1,000 protesters gathered in the company's office building on Thursday morning protesting the potential takeover. The protest turned violent when the workers tried to stop the production line, at which point Chen was injured. The injured manager is understood to have fled to a worker's dormitory, where he was allegedly discovered by a small group of protesters and beaten, while others threw bricks at arbitrators and police in an apparent bid to prevent a rescue. Chen died in hospital at 11 pm Friday.

Jianlong has been Tonghua's second-largest share holder since 2005. The planned takeover has now been shelved. "The provincial government has agreed to terminate the merger discussions after the protest, and the company's production has been resumed," Zhang said. Workers are understood to have feared that Jianlong, a private company, planned to cut manpower after taking control of the company.

Jianlong had been poised to take over Tonghua earlier this year but that deal fell through. "Jianlong stopped the merger discussions at the beginning of this year, when our company suffered losses amid the financial crisis," said retired Tonghua worker Zhang Guanghui. "It resumed the talks, as the company's business recovered. Why should we let such a private firm to take control of us?"

Another worker, Sun Dejun, said salaries had not increased during the past three years, ever since Jianlong bought a large stake in the company. "Jianlong has always called for payroll cuts to improve efficiency. Workers have been worrying about their job security," he said. "I retired from the company this year. I now live on my retirement pension of 1,000 yuan ($146) a month, which is in sharp contrast to the yearly pay of 100,000 yuan for mid-level managers in the company," said a worker who declined to give his name.

State-owned asset commission official Wang said the Tonghua group was the largest State asset in Jilin. It accumulated a deficit of 900 million yuan in the first three months of the year after the iron and steel business was hard hit by the global financial crisis. However, the company, with annual production capacity of 7 million tons, saw its business recover in June, when it reported 40 million yuan in profits. The profits doubled to 80 million yuan in July. "The merger had been approved by the provincial government, which is expected to help Tonghua reach the development goal of hitting 10 million tons in annual throughput," Wang said.

Workers from State-owned firms, especially retired workers, often believe that State-owned firms are "iron rice bowls" that can guarantee lifelong employment and secure pay, and many have opposed mergers with private firms, Wang said.

(My1510.cn)   July 23, 2009.

On July 8, the English-language Global Times (which is under People's Daily) gave two full pages Tiger, tiger, burning bright  to the lives of drifters who live around Tiananmen.  Many photos were included to record the lives of these ordinary people who were able to return to normal lives through the help of kind-hearted netizens.  This was a rarely seen news report in Chinese media.  It is noteworthy that the report used five early photos that I took of drifters in the Tiananmen area.

Note: The title borrowed the first sentence from William Blake's poem The Tiger:  Tiger, tiger, burning bright.  The next line is "In the forests of the night."

宋以朗打算向公眾展示張愛玲的書信,便聯絡林鄭月娥,想找一些保育計劃中的舊建築,用作張愛玲資料館或紀念館。林鄭便答道,哦!張愛玲,我看過許鞍華改編她小說的電影,也算是不錯的作家,可是她在文學史上的地位還有爭議性,不適合為她設館。I am so tired of it。我真是很累很累,很厭倦。


(in translation)

Roland Soong wanted to exhibit the letters of Eileen Chang to the public and therefore contacted Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (note: Hong Kong SAR Secretary for Development) to try to find certain old buildings in the preservation plan to serve as an Eileen Chang archive or memorial museum.  Lam replied: "Oh! Eileen Chang.  I have seen Anne Hui's film adapations of her novels.  She is an okay writer, but her position in literature is controversial and therefore it is not appropriate to set up a museum for her."  I am so tired of it.  I am really very tired, very tired, very wearied.

...Our magazine also wrote to Ma Ka-fai.  He replied that when he asked Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor about the likelihood of establishing an Eileen Chang memorial museum, Mrs. Lam paused for a moment and said that she knew that Chang was a famous writer who had ties with Hong Kong.  She has also seen the Eileen Chang movies directed by Anne Hui.  She emphasized repeatedly that Eileen Chang has not left any actual spaces, residences, homes and so on in Hong Kong, so that it is hard to establish a museum.  She believed that it was controversial whether Eileen Chang is worth memorializing.  But she said that she would not object if the Civic Affairs Bureau supported the idea.

For the record, I state that I have never met or spoke to Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in my life.  PERIOD.  Thus I know nothing about that conversation.  I hope that clears up any confusion about my role that arose from this magazine article.

I am more interested in a seemingly unrelated issue about inward and outward looking in Hong Kong.  In the matter of Eileen Chang, she grew up in Shanghai, attended university in Hong Kong, became a famous writer in Shanghai and immigrated to the United States.  Her most famous works -- <Love In A Fallen City>, <Lust, Caution> and <Small Reunions> -- include considerable portions that were set in Hong Kong.  Does Hong Kong want to appropriate Eileen Chang and leverage her global fame?  That is for people like Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to decide.  If they only want to look inwards, they will be promoting some authentic Hong Kong writer who does not and probably never will resonate with the outside world.  If they look outwards, they might want to link a known product to Hong Kong because it will be so much easier.  I have nothing more to say on this subject, because there is clearly a conflict of interest due to my role as the executor of the literary estate of Eileen Chang.

Instead, the true subject of this comment is about blogging.  I moved to the United States in 1971, studied, worked and lived there.  In 2003, I returned to live in Hong Kong and began this EastSouthWestNorth blog.  I began as a Hong Kong blogger, writing about the place in which I lived in.  Within a year or so, I began to realize that I was totally missing the opportunities.  Of course, I can write about Hong Kong but nothing that I say or write means much in terms of audience numbers or influence either in Hong Kong or elsewhere.  Nothing that I say about Hong Kong will ever matter either in Hong Kong or the world at large.  PERIOD.  I won't go into what I think are the reasons (and it is about the government and the media industry).  I am just stating this as my belief, and I challenge you to find any evidence that bloggers influence anything in Hong Kong.

I realized instead that the greatest opportunities are in mainland China.  I reside in Hong Kong and therefore I enjoy the freedom of access to information through the Internet, both inside and outside of China.  I reside in Hong Kong and therefore I also enjoy the freedom of speech to forward the information to other parties (inside and outside of China), especially since I am bilingual and can quickly translate from Chinese to English.  That is why the EastSouthWestNorth blog gradually shifted from a parochial Hong Kong blog to an English-language Greater China blog which is said to influence global opinion.  This is simply where the action is.  If I am still writing about the impact on my personal life due to the demolition of the neighboring building and questioning how it was allowed to grow from 60 feet tall to 300 feet tall, almost none of my current readers will know me or care.

I made my decision because of what I observed and I perceive should be my priorities.  I decided to look outwards instead of inwards.  I thought that what happens in China will matter more to China, Hong Kong and the rest of the world much more than what happens in Hong Kong on a daily basis.  Therefore, I became a Greater China bridge blogger.  Other people will have different observations, priorities and decisions.  That is only natural.  There is no right or wrong either.  I respect other people's decisions.  I am only amazed why I seem to be the only Hong Kong blogger who writes about mainland China by leveraging my many freedoms.  Why won't other Hong Kong'ers also look outwards to mainland China and change the future of Hong Kong, China and the whole world? 

As an example, there was that mass incident in Urumqi on July 5.  I compiled the series of news reports in The Urumqi Mass Incident.  It was not rocket science.  The so-called "old-tech" entries were either western media reports (some of which may be blocked by the Great Firewall in China), mainland Chinese reports (which are mainly official media reports) or my own translations from Chinese-language media reports from all over the world.  This was a no-brainer aggregation but it has apparently been accepted by many people all over the world as the best reference source available.  This is what a Hong Kong blogger can do through the unique combination of freedom of expression and press as well as bilingual skill.  Why isn't anyone else in Hong Kong doing this?  Can you imagine the impact of 100 EastSouthWestNorth covering everything (politics, mass incidents, environment, pollution, human rights, minorities, etc) happening in Greater China?

Returning to the topic of Eileen Chang here.  The publication of <Small Reunions> year is regarded as the major cultural event so far in 2009.  If Eileen Chang belongs simultaneously to Shanghai, Hong Kong and the United States, then Hong Kong has a comparative advantage.  Eileen Chang is not a significant literary figure in the United States except in certain academic circles (such as Departments of East Asian Literature in universities).  Eileen Chang is also "politically sensitive" in mainland China because she had written some "politically incorrect" novels (such as <Rice Sprout Song> and <Naked Earth>) and married a collaborationist.  Therefore, Hong Kong is in a position to leverage its relative advantages and make something of it.  Does Hong Kong want to look inwards or outwards?

(Pu Zhiqiang's blog)  July 24, 2009.

Yesterday at around midnight, the Caoxian court judge came to the detention center and presented Duan Lei with a criminal verdict document.  The verdict said that the procuratorate is withdrawing the complaint on grounds of insufficient evidence and the court has agreed "in accordance of the law."  Based upon the Supreme Court Criminal Prosecution Law article 177, "the Shandong province Caoxian procuratorate has been allowed to withdraw the complaint."  The verdict sheet that the decision was effective the next day and that all other dissent may be filed within the next five days with the Middle People's Court in Heze city (Shangdong province).  The decision was dated July 23.

At around 3am, the Caoxian public security bureau people arrived at the detention center and presented Duan Lei with <The decision document on rescinding the case> and <The release certificate>.  "I was able to leave next," said Duan Lei.  He was asked to go to the Panshi hotel because the Legal Daily reporter in Shandong was waiting to interview him.  This was also where he spend his first night after his arrest.  Since there was nowhere else for him to go in the middle of the night, he went back to that hotel to meet with the reporter.  He spent half the night with the reporter.  He said that everybody was courteous.

In the morning, Duan Lei called his father to tell him about the release and to take him home.  In the morning, the Caoxian political and legal committee, the publicity department, the public security bureau, the procuratorate and the court held a forum.  They wanted him to attend and told him that reporters have been invited to go.  He said that he had just "come out" and he did not want to say thing for the moment because of the psychological pressure.  He only wanted to go home and see his mother and grandfather.  The father and uncle of Duan Lei attended that forum.  According to them, the relevant departments acknowledged mistakes in the case, mainly due to the issue of whether the case should be prosecuted by the government or the individuals.  But they seemed to know that there was a mistake and they rectified it.  Duan Lei's uncle also told me that the Zhuangzhai town party secretary Guo Feng (note: the person who was allegedly libeled) was not present at the forum.

Hailate was born in Xinjiang and grew up in Xinjiang, so he has personal experience with the Xinjiang issue.  He has also conducted extensive research as a NGO worker and a former editor at the Xinjiang Legal System News.  After the Shaoguan incident, he paid attention to Uighur reaction on the Internet.  He judged that there will be a major incident on July 5.  At 8pm on July 4, he issued a warning to the relevant departments; at 10am on July 5, he met with the the XUAR principal leaders and made three proposals which were not accepted.  On the afternoon of July 5, he made observations at the scene and he believed that the illegal religious organization Hezbollah may be the organizers of the July 5 incident.  On the afternoon of July 5, Hailaite was interviewed by Yazhou Zhoukan.

Q: Where did you begin to feel that there will be an incident on July 5?
A: After the Shaoguan incident, I felt that there will be a major incident with bloodshed.  Even before the Shaoguan incident, there was a hint of a major incident in Xinjiang.  After the Shaoguan incident, I wrote three blog posts on the impact of this incident.  My analyses re-affirmed the judgment.

Q: Do you believe that the July 5 incident was systematically pre-planned?
A: Looking at it now, it was organized.  As for pre-planning, there was enough time between June 26 and July 5.  The key is that the government did not make any timely measures to prevent things from getting worse.  On July 4, I kept listening to Radio Free Asia and Voice of America.  On that day, World Uighur Congress chairperson Rebyia and them were unusual because all their leaders came out to talk.  At around 8pm, I called a friend in the government that something will happen tomorrow and they should do something.  I gave them the website where they can listen to Rebiya's speech.  They said that they will report to their leaders.  On the next morning, I called again.  At around 10pm, I went with a friend to meet with the principal leader of the Autonomous Region.  I said that as a normal person with a conscience, I have to tell you that there will be bloodshed today and emergency measures must be taken.  Then I made three recommendations.  First of all, the XUAR chariman Nur Bekri should make a speech before noon; secondly, the Han merchants in the Uighur areas should close up and go home; thirdly, mobilize as many troops as possible and isolate the Uighur areas with road blocks and patrol.  This leader said that he had to confer by telephone.  None of the three recommendations were accepted.  Actually, I was not the first one to warn the relevant departments on July 4.  Someone else had made a warning just after 6pm.

Q: You said that there was a hint about a major incident even before the Shaoguan incident.  What do you mean?
A. The July 5 incident had two direct causes.  First, it is the introduction of bilingual education.  Secondly, the government is organizing Uighurs to work outside.  These two policies were opposed by many Uighur cadres.  But anyone who says "no" will be immediately sanctioned.  With bilingual education, the first people to be impacted are those teachers who had been teaching in Uighur.  Several tens of thousands of teachers are faced with layoffs because their Han skills were not passable.  This caused the grassroots educators to become demoralized.  As for organizing Uighurs to work outside, the Uighur nationalists think that you can joke about anything except women.  The first few groups that were organized to work outside were mostly 17-year-old or 18-year-old girls.  At the time, certain local elders said: "Of these girls, sixty out of one hundred will become whores while the other forty will marry Han men."  This has caused a great deal of resentment.  In dealing with this matter, the government had not done its ideological work and it did not think that this issue could have a broad impact.

Q: How were ethnic relationship before these two policies were introduced?
A: In the 1950's, Mao Zedong criticized Han chauvinism, but the Xinjiang ethnic policies was not heading towards devastation.  Over the last twenty years, ethnic relationship has become more tense.  When Wang Lequan became Party Secretary, he applied a high-pressure approach to forbid any ethnic feelings on the part of the minorities.  For example, when an ethnic cadre makes a small complaint in any meeting, he will not get promoted and he may even be expelled.  He over-valued and expanded the issue of separatism.  Actually, the border region of any country will have some connection with neighboring countries in terms of culture, language and race.  Separatist sentiments are going to be present.  The anti-separatist struggle in Xinjiang is not just something for the political and legal departments.  It is the business of the whole society.

Q: Has the ethnic tension increased the sense of independence for the Uighurs?
A: My father was a third-region revolutionary, and he was even a soldier.  By reason, he should be even more typical in terms of any independence sentiments.  But according to my understanding, he does not lean towards independence.  I am even less inclined.  In terms of history, the Uighur people living in a desert region became an agricultural society very early on and developed a very intricate civilization.  Its ethnic character is that it is neither ostentatious nor belligerent.  Even when the Uighurs were at their strongest, they did not seek expansion.  When the Qidan people came, the Uighurs quickly surrendered; when the Mongols came, the Uighurs also basically gave up without any fighting.  Historically speaking, the Uighurs are not belligerent and they have no independent foundation.

Q: What you think about the idea of East Turkestan?
A: The Uighurs did not even the term East Turkestan.  The Europeans invented the term and the Turks embellished and then hoisted it on our heads.  We Uighurs do not possess a concept such as Turkestan.  Throughout history, the Uighurs have called Xinjiang "the land of the Uighurs."  They have never said that Xinjiang is "Turkey's region" or "the land of East Turkey."

Q: If that is the case, then why do so many Uighur independence elements use East Turkestan as their theoretical basis?
A: In the age of the Silk Road, the Uighurs still had the change to travel all over and therefore their thinking was more open.  When the sea lanes were opened, the Uighurs went into a state of self-enclosure.  Under these backward circumstances, it is easy to think "that only outsider monks know how to recite mantras."  When China first began to open up, many different ideas popped up and we don't know which ones are right or wrong.  In recent year, the Uighur elite has been oppressed by the leftist policies of the Communist Party and therefore their thinking have not been allowed to be expressed.  So when the people outside China cry "East Turkestan," many of our people don't know what it is about."

Q: How do the local Uighur intellectuals look at Rebiya Kadeer?
A: No interest.  Rebiya basically does not have any ideas.

Q: If the overseas forces can organize the July 5 incident, doesn't that prove that they still have a lot of power inside China?
A: Yes, definitely.  I keep feeling that the July 5 incident was organized by Hezbollah.  It is an illegal religious organization which has developed rapidly in southern Xinjiang over the past few years.  I have studied this organization.  It was founded by an Afghan.  When this Afghan person died, his student (a Pakistani doctor) re-organized and promoted the organization.  Hezbollah is an underground organization in China, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  In 1997, when Hezbollah first appeared in Xinjiang, it only had a few hundred members.  The data from the relevant departments last year said that this organization may already have 10,000 members in Xinjiang now.

On the day of July 5, I watched the rioters assault, smash and loot along Xinhuanan Road.  A hundred people gathered and dispersed in a highly organized manner.  They all wore sport shoes.  From their accents, they are basically from Kashar and Hotin.  I did not see them carrying knives.  I determined that they were Hezbollah because of the slogans that they used.  The rioters said, "Hans scram!  Kill all the Hans!"  Apart from those, there was also "We want to build an Islam nation!  We want strict enforcement of Islamic law!"  The goal of Hezbollah is to restore an Islamic government that enforces Islamic law strictly.  This is a branch of fundamentalism.  This organization is very tight and its membership is very peculiar in that they absorb young peasant men around 20 years old.  This organization is very backwards and have no social base within the Uighurs.  All those who have received even a slight bit of education would be totally uninterested in them.  The organizations that are infiltrated from the outside have only very small influence.  If the government goes after that, they can be completely eradicated.  There ix no need to have anti-terrorism in all sectors of society in Xinjiang.

Q: What do you think are the principal issues in Xinjiang now?
A: I do not think that the principal issue in Xinjing now is ethnic division.  The key problem in Xinjiang is still about economic development.  The so-called ethnic contradictions are ultimately conflicts of interests.  I have watched the video of Chairman Hu Jintao's speech to the Xinjiang delegation during the last two Congresses.  Chairman Hu also said that Xinjiang should pay attention to development, and he only mentioned "stability" in the last sentence.

It is believed that the case is closed when Hu Bin is sentenced to three years in jail (for speeding in a Hangzhou street and killing a pedestrian Tan Zhuo).  But after the trial, many people doubted whether the defendant on trial was really Hu Bin himself.  I think that this is a completely reasonable doublt.  I was reading the Beijing News report on the trial of Hu Bin.  But my initial feeling was fixed on the illustration, because I felt that this cannot be possibly be Hu Bin.  I got the same kind of feeling when I read the NetEase news story titled <The Central Government appointed Zemin as the Zhejiang province party disciplinary committee secretary>.  Did you have that feeling too?  So that feeling disrupted my thinking for reading the story.

Photo of the driver taken at the scene on the night of the incident

Photo of the defendant at the trial

As expected, the Internet broiled with discussion about the identity of the defendant at the trial.  First of all, I believe that most netizens saw the photo of Hu Bin in the form of the one where he sat in the far with his hand over the face.  He does not seem to have any other photo.  At the trial, the defendant was a small chubby man.  Therefore, the doubts are reasonable.  Secondly, for a long certain period of time, Baidu and GOogle had many other photos of Hu Bin.  But if you look now, there is only the one in the car and the one in the courtroom.

The Hu Bin case is a very influential case.  How is it possible that there is only one photo?  Is this case not worthy of news coverage.  Where did the information come from?  Did the Hu family made use of paid commentators?  Thirdly, why wasn't Hu Bin immediately arrested?  Why did he have time to update his QQ space (to say that he screwed up)?  He ran over someone in the street, did not provide any rescue effort and went home safely.  So how could the people not wonder about the truth of the case.

Of course, many people will say that these doubts are based upon a hatred of rich people.  This view has been successfully exploited to use against those masses who need to defend their rights.  If you have no money or power and you are up against a rich person who may not have power, then a bunch of people will say that it is only because you hate rich people.  Why talk just about hatred of rich people?  Why not talk about how people come to hate rich people?  If rich people earn their money by working hard instead of whether your relatives are important people, I think everybody will respect them ...

There is another group of people who think that the sentence on Hu Bin was too severe.  According to the People's Republic of China law: Article 133 of the Criminal Code of Law concerns the violation of traffic rules.  In the even of a major traffic incident that resulted in death, severe injury and/or property damage, a sentence of not more than three years may be imposed; fleeing the scene of a traffic incident or other especially appalling behavior may result in a sentence of more than three years but less than seven years; fleeing the scene of a traffic incident because of death(s) occurring results in a sentence of seven years or more.  So let us look at the law and see what Hu Bin did after the incident ...

All the doubts about whether it was the real Hu Bin on trial are reasonable speculations.  The photos are just way too different, and the information has not been very transparent.  For all we know, Hu Bin never entered the detention center.  Of course, it is also plausible that a new image was being crafted for Hu Bin.  After all, it is better to give a young man a chance than an airplane.

Here are some comparisons:

Who are you going to trust? The Hangzhou court or your lying eyes?

P.S.  Netizens issues this challenge: To dispel the almost universal doubts, why not run a DNA test by a trustworthy institution of the defendant against his parents?

Followed immediately by another report from APA:

True or not?  Look at the photo -- how likely are people to wear heavy winter clothes in the middle of the day in July in Xinjiang?  If you insist, here is where the photo comes from (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT): Link.

(Southern Metropolis Daily)

On July 12, a netizen wrote at the Tianya Forum: "I have just obtained employment.  I have obtained employment.  I am ecstatic.  I have obtained employment without knowing the facts!"  So that was how the term "being obtained employment" came into existence.  This post was then re-posted at NetEase and other forums under the title <July 2009: I graduated and then I have also been 'obtained employment'>.

According to the author, he was having his file transferred to a human resources center and decided to look at his own file materials.  Then was a <Employment agreement document> with many red stamps on it.  When he read the contents, "I was immediately stunned.  Heavens!  I have obtained employment.  The agreement documented stated the name of my employer in black and white, next to a big red stamp of that employer."  This employer was the XX Industrial Company.  He has never ever heard of this company.

"As of today, I won't be looking for a job.  I am going to XX Industrial Company.  I want my job and I want my salary!"  He wrote.

Another netizen had a very precise interpretation of "obtaining employment" -- it includes only assignment to the employer but it includes neither job position nor salary nor any other benefits.

This was obviously not an isolated case.  Another Tianya netizen said that his school arranged for him to visit a battery company after which he "obtained employment" there.  Another NetEase netizen wrote: "Just a few days before graduation, the university collected all unsigned employment documents.  When it was returned to me after I graduated, the agreement had been signed and I had been gloriously 'obtained employment'."

In the Heibei Science and Technology University forum, a netizen wrote: "When the employment agreement and assignment certificate were returned to me, there was the name of a certain Jinzhi Technology Limited Company based in Shijiazhuang.  I have never heard of this company.  I don't know what it does, and I don't know where it is located!  This stamp would eventually cause me a great deal of trouble in transferring my file around!"

But another Tianya netizen was envious: "You are better off than I am.  At least your school stamped your document.  We had to figure out how to do it ourselves.  If we don't have it stamped, we can't get our graduation certificate."  Another netizen said: "This is quite normal.  It is pretty good that your school is helping you to find an employer.  At our school, they force us to find our own employer: We must sign our employment agreement before June 20 or else the file will be sent back to our hometown and our graduation certificate and diploma will be delayed."

Such situations have been reported broadly in the media.  In June 2009, a reporter surveyed the new graduates and found that their schools insist that they obtain employment agreements first before issuing graduate certificate.  In 2003, the Ministry of Education had issued the requirements that higher education institutions must also be responsible for finding employment for their students.  This means that those institutes with low employment rates must accept fewer students.  With these kinds of pressures, certain higher education institutions had to force unemployed students to be "obtained employment."

On July 17, rumors abounded in Qixian county, Kaifeng city, Henan province that there was going to be a Cobalt 60 explosion.  Many citizens left their homes to flee to nearby cities to escape from the pending disaster.  The government tried various ways to dispel the rumors and make information open.  According to the local media reports, most of the citizens have returned home, the stores have re-opened and public order has returned to normal.

Yesterday, the Kaifeng police announced that they have arrested five rumormongers.  According to the Kaifeng Net report, certain persons with ulterior motives were spreading rumors on and off the Internet.  They said "there has been an explosion" in order to scare the masses who don't understand the truth and thus create social instability.  Once the public security bureau noted the situation, they investigated and have arrested five rumormongers.  Among them was Kaifeng citizen Mr. Zhang who copied a post from QQ.com to Tianya on July 14 with the content: "... the scientists are out of options now.  Many foreign scientists have been here too, but they too said that we can only wait for the calamity to occur!  There is nothing left that can be done ..."  After Zhang admitted his action, "the Kaifeng public security bureau held him under criminal detention for fabricating and disseminating false terrorist information."  "The other four rumormongers were given administrative punishment under the <Public Safety Administrative Penalty Law>.

The reporter noted that Zhang was the most severely punished out of the five, and his rumor was only cross-posting a post written by someone else with false information.  The reporter noted that this post had already appeared at the Tianya Forum on July 10 and has also been cross-posted by other netizens at many forums.  There is no obvious relationship to the "The Cobalt 60 is about to explode" rumor that triggered the panic on July 17.  Zhang made the cross-post four days after it appeared elsewhere and yet he was the only netizen to be detained.

When the official Kaifeng media suggested that "rumors hurt the people," many local netizens agree and condemned those rumors.  But many other netizens said that the rumors surfaced because the local government departments had been untimely and opaque with their information.

There was a malfunction on June 7, but the government refused to disclose the information.  When the whole thing became a mess on the Internet, the government finally released the first piece of information on July 12.  "The information was locked up for a whole month.  You say that you didn't want to create a panic!  Don't you understanding the concealing the facts will only create a panic?"  At 9:44pm on July 17, a netizen who had just fled from Qixian to Zhengzhou wrote at Tianya: "Rumors ... what are there rumors?  It is because you won't say anything.  If you don't say anything, someone else will say something; when someone else says something, it may be wrong.  Since nobody has personally witnessed anything, they can only pass along the information this way."

After the incident, a common saying was "rumors stop with intelligent people."  Some netizens made fun of how the local citizens could believe such crude rumors and blindly flee with the crowd.  This made certain local netizens very angry as in <July 17, Qixian is crying>: "There are no stupid masses in this society, only stupid leaders!  The people don't understand but nobody can make fun of them!  Where were the government officials and expert before the panic started?  When the young and old, women and children of Qixian fled under temperatures of nearly forty degrees centigrade, they had no idea what was happening.  They left their homes behind.  Did anyone who knows the truth come out and say anything?"

According to our understanding, the masses began to flee around 1pm on July 17.  By 3pm, the Qixian county party committee and government met to make plans.  This was when the exodus reached its peak.  By 5pm, many information channels such as television, Internet, mobile telephony and broadcast trucks were used to provide information, clarify the facts and calm people down.  Soon the citizens began to return home.  A netizen said that this showed that the people will believe when the information is open and transparent and the problems can be resolved.  "But wouldn't it be better if they did it earlier?"

Actually, two days before the rumor of imminent explosion on July 17, Henan TV's Metro Channel had a program on <Investigation of the Cobalt60 leak in Qixian>.  At the end of the program, the doubt was raised that the way in which the Qixian government departments handled the case was "incomprehensible."  This was one of the very few "critical voices" in the local media.

This Henan TV program showed that the reporter said "the local newspapers did not explain" and interviewed local citizens who said: "Who is explaining?  Nobody is explaining!"

The program also pointed out in a critical note: "Even when the reporter went to gather news in Qixian, the relevant Qixian leaders still stick to the Three No's policy: No information released; no interviews given; no reporting allowed.  At a time when the Internet is more developed and information is getting more transparent, it is incomprehensible for Qixian to behave this way."

Once again, there is another celebrity-creation miracle in China.  A comment titled <Jia Junpeng, Your Mom Wants You To Come Home For Dinner> without any other content has caused the person named Jia Junpeng to become an Internet celebrity.  Tens of thousands of people want to know who he is?  Where is he?  What happens after he goes home and have dinner?  This inexplicable entertainment firestorm is continuing and nobody can control its progress.

At around 10:30am on July 16, an anonymous website left a comment at the Baidu post bar for the <World of Warcraft> online game with just the title <Jia Junpeng, Your Mom Wants You To Come Home For Dinner>.  The content was simply the two English letters "RT" (meaning, "as in the title").  At first, some netizens asked who Jia Junpeng is.  The only known information is that the IP address of the poster is located in Nanjing city.  Therefore some netizens speculated that Jia Junpeng must have been too engaged in playing the online game such that he forgot to go home to have dinner and his mother is asking someone to post a message for him on the Internet.  But this has not been verified.

Since Jia Junpeng could not be located, people began to do "role playing."  For example, someone claimed to be a fellow student of Jia Junpeng and wrote: "He is playing in my home and he said that he is not coming home to have dinner."  Other characters such as the father, aunt, uncle and other family members of Jia Junpeng began to show up.  Someone claimed to be Jia Junpeng himself, but he was exposed to be a pretender.

So this unforeseen "mass horseplay" has caused the attention on Jia Junpeng to rise by several orders of magnitude.  As of yesterday afternoon, there have been more than 300,000 comments spread over more than 10,000 pages ...

Rumors are the co-products of mass group incidents.  The eminent social psychologist Gordon Allport is well known for studying rumors and he offered a well-known formula for how rumors are transmitted: The scope of rumor transmission = Importance + Ambiguity.  This formula says that whenever a rumor is more personally relevant and the facts are more ambiguous, the faster and wider it will be propagated.  In the July 5 Xinjiang incident, the various versions of the rumor in Guangdong and Xinjiang are the best illustration about how people are concerned about ethnic conflicts.

The rumor originated from the Early Light Toy Factory in Shaoguan city, Guangdong province.  People believed that a Han female worker was raped by Uighur workers in that factory.  This information quickly reached Urumqi.  With the embellishment of the locals, new details were injected which are clear distortions in terms of degree and reasoning.  This rumor of "Han girl being raped by Uighur workers" became "Uighur girl raped by Han workers and the young Uighur men who complained were beaten to death."

"Rape" is a minefield that can explode instantaneously.  The subject not only constitutes a personal insult to the rape victim, but it is also very easy to slur the entire group to which the rapists belong.  In 1946, if the rapist of the Beijing University female student Shen Song was not an American soldier, then that incident would only result in the punishment of a local thug instead of a 500,000 person demonstration in many Chinese cities calling for the expulsion of American soldiers.  No matter how the Kuomintang government explained that "it is just a rumor and the rape victim is not a student at Beijing University," it was useless.  People had reached the point where they must protest and rebel in the matter of Shen Song.

For the same reason, it does not matter whether the Uighurs raped a Han or the Hans raped a Uighur.  This was going to be an incident that occurred between two hostile ethnic groups and whose severity is enough to infuriate the other.  The people in Shaoguan and Urumqi did not know the details of the matter and the truth of the incident was vague.  Although there are many different versions on the Internet, accurate information was lacking.  The rumors therefore filled the space.  Either out of fear, or deliberate planning to incite a riot, or the desire to create chaos, many people joined in to propagate the rumors.  When the rumor went from Shaoguan to Urumqi, not only was the ethnic identity of the "raped" female worker changed, but the numbers were increased by plenty.  Certain Uighurs in Urumqi firmly believed that four hundred Uighur girls were raped by the Hans in Shaoguan.  Conversely, the Hans in Shaoguan firmly believed that the Han girl was raped by the Uighur workers.


After the July 5th riots, the Chinese government opened up Urumqi on July 6th and invited the western media to go to the scene and gather news in order to dispel the rumors.  They announced that no female worker was raped in Shaoguan and the individual who spread the rumor out of discontent has been arrested.  The media which represented the government reported that the alleged rape victim Huang Cuiling entered the male Uighur dormitory by mistake and was only teased as opposed to being raped.  However, the rumors did not seem to have abated as a result of the disclosure of information by the government.  People keep speculating and spreading rumors.  In Shaoguan, the rumors got even more exaggerated about the Han girls being raped; in Urumqi, those people who firmly believed that Uighur girls had been raped looked to assemble under the watch of the armed police ... For whatever reason, the moves by the government to open up Urumqi and clamp down on Shaoguan have only provided greater chances for the rumors to continue.

(Hao Cheng's blog)

On July 3, Wu Baoquan had already been found guilty previously for "libeling the government."  When he appealed his sentence, he was given an extra year of jail term.  So far, he has already spent fourteen months in jail.  Finally, on this day, he found out from the prosecutor that the complainant against him was the former city party secretary ...

On that day, the Ordos Middle Court rendered the decision for a second re-trial.  So this case about two Internet posts that resulted in a cross-province arrest of Wu Baoquan will await a third re-trial to decide.

When the "Wu Baoquan libel case" got reported in the media, people thought that it was ridiculous for the local court to come up the crime of "libel against the government" and "imposing extra sentence during a re-trial."  Shortly afterwards, the local court announced another re-trial which raised hopes among the public.

Yet on July 3, the Ordos court decision seemed quite distant from public expectations.  Legal experts point out that a re-trial implies that it will be a long, drawn-out legal process ...

"Ordos is creating a legal spectable!"  A lawyer who heard the case said.

By 10am, the 200 seats in the courtroom were already occupied with many standees in the rear.

"The waist band is too tight.  My heart is not well.  I have difficulty in breathing.  Can you ask the court police to help?"  Wu Baoquan who was held in cuffs told the president court.

"If the judges can look at the facts and judge in accordance with the law unlike what I had previously encountered ..."  This was what he said when the presiding judge asked him whether he was satisfied with the judges and the prosecutor.

"In this post, Wu Baoquan wrote in the tone of former Ordos city party secretary Yun Feng: 'When you petition, I am the Emperor.  Today, I am your leader.  Tomorrow, I will be your Emperor!  I own you no matter where you are.  A small citizen counts only for fart!'"  When Wu Baoquan heard that, he raised his head from reading the documents to look at the prosecutor.

This was the first time that he had heard the prosecutor saying how he had libeled a person with a real name.  Previously, it was always "the government and others" or "the government of Ordos and its main leaders."

"If I libeled Yun Feng in my post, then I am sorry.  But could you ask Yun Feng to sue me instead of making this a criminal case?"  Wu Baoquan explained: "When I made the first post, I mentioned the name of Yun Feng.  I was detained ten days for that.  When I made the second most, I did not mention any names.  The only reason why I repeated the content in the first post was that I wanted to tell how I got detained for that first post."

"The reason why this is a criminal case instead of civil case was because Wu Baoquan's post damaged the image of former city party secretary Yun Feng.  The image of Yun Feng is the image of Ordos city.   Ordos is a part of China.  Therefore Wu Baoquan's post was libel against Yun Feng; furthermore, it seriously damaged state interests ..."  This was the kind of reasoning that the prosecutor used against the challenge of the criminal case filed by the prosecutor.

Wu's lawyer asked the prosecutor to present evidence on the effects of the libel.  Did Yun Feng die?  Got mentally depressed?  Or something else?  Also, what are the concrete losses incurred by Ordos city?

"When Wu Baoquan's post went out, certain netizens who don't know the truth made nasty comments that damaged the image of the government.  The villagers made more petitions."

The assertion of the prosecutor was countered by the defendant's lawyer: The Internet posts of Wu Baoquan accumulated fewer than 1,000 page views and fewer than 20 comments; the image of the government is determined by the actions of the government and Wu Baoquan was only describing what the government was doing and later confirmed by the media.  As for the petitioning, there has been no large-scale petition.  The statistics provided by the local police has no direct relationship to Wu Baoquan's posts.

In discussing the evidence, Wu Baoquan objected to interrogation notes of himself: "The interrogation was held while I was being threatened and beaten, so the notes should be included as evidence."

After more than four hours of hearing, Wu Baoquan made his final statement at 2:10pm.  When he got to "I believe that this was a retaliation against me," he was interrupted by the presiding judge.  So he ended up with only saying "I believe that I am innocent and I hope that the court will release me immediately."

The presiding judge announced a recess of 30 minutes.  At 2:40pm, the presiding judge announced the decision: a retrial will be held due to lack of evidence ...

After the cases of Wang Shi (in Henan) and Wu Baoquan (in Inner Mongolia), the young man Duan Lei is being prosecuted in Caoxian county, Shandong province for libel.  Yesterday, the court trial took place.  The defendant's family together with four media reporters were present.  But after a while, the court declared that since the case involves certain private information, the defendant's family and the media reporters had to leave.  The defendant's lawyer protested because the six Internet posts that Duan Lei wrote did not have any specific personal information (one example was that he wrote "(Guo) had improper relationships with many women, including keeping a long-term mistress") and therefore it was absurd for the court not to allow an open hearing.

According to the regulations on criminal trials, it is the rule to hold open hearings and the exception not to.  The exceptions include: cases that involve state secrets; cases that involve personal privacy; cases in which the defendant is over 14 years old but under 16 years old; and possibly some cases in which the defendant is over 16 years old but under 18 years old.

After Duan Lei made those posts, the Caoxian public security bureau arrested him on April 4.  On April 20, the public security bureau completed its investigation on May 20 and referred his case to the procuratorate for the charge of libel.  At that point, the public security bureau should be out of the loop.  Yet the list of evidence produced by the prosecutor showed that three statements and two documents were obtained by the Caoxian public security bureau on June 16.

The defendant's lawyer also questioned the testimony from the Zhuangzhai town government.  This document stated that the Zhuangzhai town government had filed a complaint with the local government.  the defendant's lawyer said that the plaintiffs in libel cases should be individual persons "because how can an organization feel pain or insult?"

The defendant's lawyer stated that the focus of the case is not about whether the contents of Duan Lei's posts were accurate or not.  Rather, it is about how a case that should have been filed by individual persons became a criminal case filed by the government prosecutor.

According to Chinese law, libel cases should be civil cases "with the exception of those that involve severe social harm and the national interests."  Within the evidence presented by the Caoxian prosecutor, there is nothing about "the national interests."  As for those that might cause "severe social harm," some of the evidence had been obtained by the police after the case was referred to the procuratorate.

Yesterday, the prosecutor produced more new evidence in court.  The defendant's lawyer had to read the evidence right there and this took up so much time that the trial had to be adjourned until a later date.

(Beijing News

The Caoxian prosecutor charged that Duan Lei made six posts including <A letter to the provincial party secretary> at Tianya Forum, Sina blog and Baidu post bar between February 2 and 8, 2009.  The posts alleged that the Caoxian county Zhuangzhai town party secretary Guo Feng "kept a long-term mistress" and that his son was a "drug abuser and seller."

The reporter learned from the Caoxian county party publicity department that when the posts became known, the county party committee conducted an investigation of Guo Feng and did not find the aforementioned problems.  On the day before yesterday, Guo Feng addressed some of the issues in the posts.  One of the allegations was that he operated two cars.  He said that he only uses one car, which is a 10-year-old Buick left behind by the former party secretary.

Guo Feng said that when he saw the posts in February, he went to file a complaint at the local court.  But since he did not know the identity of the poster, he could not name a target for his complaint.  Therefore, he had to file a police report.

According to the Caixian Internet Monitoring Department's record which was presented as evidence: Three of the posts had no known traffic, while the other three posts were viewed a total of 79 times in total.  The lawyer of Duan Lei claims that this level of viewing does not constitute "broad influence."

Duan Lei is a worker at the Shandong Huiyin Company.  In April 2007, the Huiyin Company invested in a construction project to build a marketplace for forestry products.  The project was put on hold last July because of problems with land use.  According to Huiyin vice manager Wang Jun, this was the result of interference by the town government, which counter-claimed that the land use purpose had been established a long time ago.  This was the cause of bad blood between the town government and the Huiyin Company.

Guo Feng recalled that Huiyin Company owner Duan Qiang called him in February to tell him that there are attacking posts against him on the Internet.  When the police picked up Duan Lei, he said that Duan Qiang wrote those posts and told him to upload them.  Yesterday, Duan Qiang denied to the reporter by phone that he ordrered Duan Lei to do so.

(China Daily)  Officials: No radiation threats in Henan.  By Chen Jia.  July 15, 2009.

The leakage of radiation at a factory that sterilizes various foods has not polluted the environment in Kaifeng, Henan province, nor does it threaten public health, according to local environmental protection authorities.

Officials are responding to widespread panic in the online community, who question the circumstances surrounding last month's leak of radioactive isotope cobalt-60 at the Limin Radiation Factory in Qi county of Kaifeng.

The radioactive leak, which occurred on June 7, caused a fire at the factory a week later because workers were unable to control the radiation source.

"The news of the harmful radiation leak, which caused panic among some residents, is a rumor and untrue," said an official of the Kaifeng Environmental Protection Bureau, who refused to be named. "Even furniture gives out some level of radiation," he added.

The factory uses cobalt60 for the sterilization of pepper and the containers for the spice. The private-owned factory was built in 1997, and had been using cobalt60 with a permit to sterilize pepper, instant noodles, Chinese medicines and garlic.

The environment protection official said the average rate of radiation around the factory was actually lower than the average rate of radiation in Henan itself. "The radiation source was placed indoors and no radiation leak has killed anyone and it has not polluted the surrounding environment," Li Feng'gang, the chief of the Kaifeng environmental protect Bureau, told reporters on Sunday.

Administrators at the factory, which has stopped production, recently handed an application to the Ministry of Environmental Protection to use a robot with the help of the Southwest University of Science and Technology to correct problems that caused the leak.

Wang Shiqiang, manager of the Limin radiation factory, said the machinery creating the radiation was under working order for the entire month of June. "I vouch that it is safe, as I am sleeping in the factory," he said.

Zhang Yong'guang, a 26 years old Henan citizen, told China Daily that he was still worried about his parents' health yesterday. "I want to know why the government kept silent for the whole month, if no one had died and there was no pollution from the accident," he said. "We also didn't get any information about who should be responsible for the accident," he added.

People can get cancer when a small amount of Cobalt-60 is absorbed by the liver, kidney and bones with prolonged exposure to gamma radiation.

(Southern Metropolis Daily)

Yesterday morning came rumors that "the radiation source is about to explode" which induced great panic.  A large number of citizens began to evacuate towards surrounding area.  Our newspaper was contacted by several Qixian people now working in Guangdong province to say that there has been population movement in Qixian.  Mr. Zhao in Shenzhen said that his home village was about 10 kilometers away from Qixian and he has received many calls that everybody is moving towards Zhengzhou city.  The reporter called Mr. Zhao's elder brother, who was actually in the process of leaving Qixian because "he heard that an explosion was imminent."

At 17:29, a post at Baidu titled <Mass escape in Qixian today, Qixian has basically become an empty city> claimed that "nobody is left in Qixian except old people.  All the young people have ran away.  There are nothing but cars on the roads, licensed and unlicensed ones, motorcycles and tricycles.  It is a grand sight."  Local citizens elsewhere complained that the state highways are tied up.  "There is nothing but cars from Qixian.  Traffic is paralyzed."

At 17:30, Dahe and Xinhua forums published the official bulletin from the Kaifeng government to ask people not to believe in the rumors because there is no possibility of radiation leakage.


(South China Morning Post)  Villagers head home after nuclear scare sparks mass exodus  By Woods Lee.  July 20, 2009.

Tens of thousands of residents were returning to their villages and towns in Qixian county, Henan province, at the weekend after fleeing their homes over rumours of a nuclear disaster. The villagers began returning to their homes after local authorities convinced them that it was safe and announced that rumour-mongers had been detained.

"The residents started to come back on Saturday night. The majority of them are now at home and back to normal life again," said Chen Siwei , a county government spokesman.

The exodus started on Friday after a team of technicians sent by the central and local governments failed in efforts to put an irradiation device, used for sterilising chillies and red peppers, back in its confinement well at a local plant. The technicians abandoned the mission at noon after finding that the remote controls for the robots that were supposed to move the Cobalt 60 irradiation device were not working properly, Mr Chen said, "but people watching the process soon dramatised it into an accident with descriptions that the robots had melted because of the radiation and that explosions occurred".

Food is irradiated to destroy germs that cause it to spoil or cause disease. A variety of foods is irradiated in several countries, including the US and France. The only fatalities linked to food irradiation involve workers bypassing safety steps.

Within two hours, rumours about a nuclear accident flooded the town via mobile phones and the internet, and residents started to flee at about 2pm. "All my employees just ran away," said Du Jian , a manager at the Liyuan Food Co.  By 3pm, all major roads to surrounding big cities in the province such as Kaifeng , Zhengzhou and Luoyang - as far as 600 kilometres away - were congested with people fleeing on foot, and on farming tractors and trucks.

"About 80 per cent of the houses in the county are empty and the streets are just deserted," said a woman named Zhao in Qixian, a county of a 1.05 million people.

The exodus turned out to be a big surprise for the local government. "It's like a big fire that erupted from nowhere," Mr Chen said. But locals said the exodus was unavoidable because fear had been building for more than a month.

Statements on the Qixian government website said the irradiation device malfunctioned on June 7, but the public was not informed until July 12. "Repeated field checks by a squad from Beijing assured us of the safety of the device, so we thought it was unnecessary to stir up any commotion in public," Mr Chen said. But the public said the government was covering up the danger. "I don't trust what the government said," Mr Du said. "If the device is really secure, why not just send someone there and take it away?"

Frightened residents started to return after the county government sent cadres, staff and police to the roads, explaining the situation and guaranteeing their safety. Five men were detained on charges of spreading rumours via the internet and other means. The county government promised to fix the device before the end of next month.


Cadbury is an established brand of chocolate.  Recently, it produced the Eyebrows television ads in order to create a new image and stimulate sales.  The ad is simple enough -- there is no dialogue, just a couple of children who move their eyebrows to the electronic music.  This ad has won many advertising awards overseas.

When the Cadbury eyebrows ad began showing in Hong Kong this month, at least 20 citizens filed complaints to the Television and Entertainment Authority in Hong Kong.  The reason is that the ad may lead children into moving their eyebrows around in violation of proper manners.  One complainant is a Hong Kong University masters student who said that the ad made people uneasy and the advertising agency should never have hired children as performers.

TVB also confirmed that they received three telephone complaints.  TVB emphasized that all ads are screened by its internal review committee before airing in order to satisfy the relevant regulations.

I spoke to a housewife who said that this ad teaches improper things to children, at which point her son began to move his eyebrows around just like in the ad.  Some netizens even felt more strongly: "I have no idea what this ad wants to achieve!" "I really don't like this ad!"  There were even demands that the ad be pulled off the air; but there were also others who praised the ad for being funny, satisfying, attractive and creative.

... I believe that the creative industry in Hong Kong needs creativity as well as tolerance.  Hong Kong people, will you please lighten up!



(Southern Daily via DWnews)

In the afternoon of July 15, as many as one hundred black persons charged the Mineral Spring Street police station located in Meibo City on Guangyuanxi road, Baiyun district, Guangzhou city, Guangdong province, China.  According to a black person at the scene, they reside in Nanhai.  The reason for the clash was that one black man was trying to elude passport inspection and fell down from a height of 18 meters in the building.  After the incident, Mineral Spring Street had been placed under a lockdown.

According to information, the person fell out of the building about two hours ago.  When the clash began, hundreds of police reinforcements were sent in.  The anti-riot police held up shields and the police repeatedly said "Please leave" in English repeatedly.  The police is negotiating with the protestors, as the black people are gradually dispersing.

Images from the Internet:

(South China Morning Post)  Africans protest in Guangzhou after Nigerian feared killed fleeing visa check  By Ivan Zhai and Fiona Tam.  July 16, 2009.

A Nigerian is believed to have fallen to his death in Guangzhou yesterday trying to escape a police visa check. His apparent death triggered an unprecedented protest by up to 200 angry Africans, who surrounded a police station. The protesters carried Emmanul Egisimba to Kuangquan police station to demand an explanation. Witnesses said the clothes trader suffered fatal injuries when he leapt from the second floor of a building.

At least six witnesses confirmed to the South China Morning Post that the man had died, and the Post was shown video of him falling and of the man motionless on the ground with blood pouring from his head. However, last night city police claimed there had not been a death. After Mr Egisimba was taken to a nearby hospital by members of the crowd, the protesters blocked the entrance to the police station and stopped traffic on Guangyuan Xi Road.

Most of the protesters were Nigerians. Some 100 security guards and police - some in riot gear - guarded the police station, but there were no clashes and by about 6pm, four hours after the man's fall, the crowd began leaving and the road reopened.

A Nigerian who would only give his first name, James, said six plain-clothes police officers had gone to the Tangqi Foreign Trade Clothes Plaza in central Guangzhou to check visas at 2pm.  Mr Egisimba and another Nigerian man, surnamed Ndubuisi, began to run and were chased by police. The witness said the two were cornered on the second floor, which is 18 metres above the ground. "Then they had to jump off the building to avoid being caught," James said.

The video seen by the Post showed Mr Egisimba motionless as onlookers attempted to lift him onto a stretcher.

In a statement, police said a "foreign suspect who was doing illegal currency exchange" sustained a back injury while trying to break a window and climb out of the building and was being treated in hospital. The statement said another foreign man was severely injured falling from the building. It did not say what had caused the fall or name the men. The crowd was mostly Nigerian, but included men from Uganda, Cameroon, Mali and South Africa.

One protester said the crowd shouted: "We want to go back to Africa." Witnesses said the crowd was angry about tight visa controls ahead of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, which had prevented many from gaining visa extensions.  But Mmaduabuc Hukuu David, a Nigerian who runs a photography business in the city, said visa extensions had been a long-term headache for the community.

The city is home to 20,000 Africans. The protest is believed to have been the first by foreigners anywhere on the mainland.

(China Daily)  Africans protest in Guangzhou after passport checks.  By Qiu Quanin.  July 16, 2009.

More than 100 Africans protested outside a local police station yesterday after one of their compatriots died from jumping out of a building to escape police who were making checks of African passports.

The protesters took the dead body of a man, who they said was trying to evade local police because his visa was overstayed, to the door of the Kuangquan street police station to demand justice, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Police in Guangzhou, the provincial capital, conducted surprise passport checks at shops owned by African business people in Guangyuanxi Lu yesterday afternoon, leading to a brawl with people who failed to show their passports, protesters said.

Representatives of the African community said that they feel harassed by the police's frequent passport checks in their neighborhoods. The Kuangquan area, near the Guangzhou railway station, is one of the major communities where hundreds of thousands of African people holding permanent-stay permits are living and doing business.

The victim was a Nigerian businessman, said a protester who asked not to be named, to Xinhua yesterday. But a police officer at the protest site denied anyone had died. A press release issued by the police authority late last night said only two Africans were injured during the passport checks. One of the Africans was seriously injured after breaking through window glass, trying to evade the police, it said. Both injured men were immediately sent to hospitals, and the police are investigating the incident, the release said.

The unnamed protester said neither violence nor attacks took place - only shouting and occasional scuffles between the Africans and police. "There are about 200 African protesters, most of whom are from Nigeria," he said.

The protest resulted in hours of traffic jams on Guangzhou's major roads, such as Guangyuanxi Lu, Huangshidong Lu and Dongfeng Lu.

As of 8 pm, traffic around the police station resumed after representatives from both police and the protesters met to discuss the matter for several hours.

Mo Jun, director of the foreign affairs office under the Guangzhou municipal government, said she had not heard of the protest. "I was wondering what happened (yesterday) after work. Major roads around the Guangzhou railway station were so jammed," she told China Daily.

Guangzhou has a large population of traders and businessmen from Africa, reflecting the growing ties between this southern major trade city and the resource-rich African continent, she said.

For years, African traders seeking cheap goods directly from the source have flocked to Guangdong province, the manufacturing hub in South China, Mo said. "But some African traders stay here without legal passports," Mo said.

(South China Morning Post)  Feared dead after fall, Nigerian alive but critically ill    By Chloe Lai.  July 17, 2009.

The Nigerian man who was feared dead yesterday after falling from a window while fleeing police is still alive but in critical condition. A doctor at Guangzhou Military District Main Hospital said Emmanuel Egisimba had suffered severe head injuries. "His head is seriously injured. His life is in danger," said the doctor, who would not give his name.

When the South China Morning Post visited the hospital yesterday, he was not guarded by any police officers in the intensive-care ward and no friends or relatives were present.

Mr Egisimba's younger brother Richard, who also lives in Guangzhou, told the Post his brother's condition would have been better if he had been sent to the hospital immediately after he was injured. "My brother was sent to the hospital at 5pm. I believe he would be better off if he had been sent to the hospital earlier," he said, adding police had told him they would pay for medical expenses. Mr Egisimba was injured at about 3pm. Another doctor said he had arrived between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.

A video obtained by the Post showed companions carrying Mr Egisimba to a nearby police station to protest, instead of taking him immediately to a hospital.

Up to 200 angry Africans surrounded Kuangquan police station shortly after 3pm on Wednesday after Mr Egisimba and another Nigerian jumped from a second-floor window in Tangqi Foreign Trade Clothes Plaza. The identity and condition of the second Nigerian were not clear yesterday. According to a police statement, both men had overstayed their visas.

During the protest on Wednesday, which blocked a street and stopped traffic on Guangyuan Xi Road, the Africans complained that police checked their visas every day and would not renew them.

Police on Wednesday said the men were sought because it was suspected they were involved in illegal currency exchange. "Police officers were carrying out a security check at an apparel wholesale market when an African who was suspected of conducting illegal currency-exchange business hurt his back trying to escape from a broken window. "The police found another man lying on the ground later. He is seriously hurt," a statement said.

The protesters, most of whom were from Nigeria, refused to leave the police station until their consulate gave them assurances that the police would launch an investigation. The Nigerian embassy in Beijing would not comment on the incident.


At around 3pm on July 10, a naked couple were found dead inside a car inside a garage.  It was determined afterwards that the deceased female was Luannan TV hostess Fan Na and the deceased male was Zhu Jianjun, who is not her husband.  The police determined that the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning because the car air conditioner was running inside a closed garage.

The Audi car carried the license place NB999 and belongs to Zhu Jianjun, who is a well-connected local rich person.  He was young and handsome too.  By the way, NB is the standard shorthand for "Awesome" in Chinese.

(Tianya)  But this is China, so why would you believe any "news" story?  Instead, you are expected to work hard and examine the details.  The first flaw is that the car is a Volkswagen and not an Audi.  Next, the license number has been covered up, but it does not look like NB999 (because while the last digit could be a curly 9, the two other dicits in front of it is more likely to be 1). Meanwhile it was discovered that this photo actually came from the "Suzhou man and mistress dead during love-making" incident in June this year.  Here is the photo from that old news story:

(Modern Express)  But this is China, so why would you believe this so-called "old news story"?  What makes you think that the license plate number was not created by PhotoShop?  Well, you have to get on the Internet and find that the newspaper Modern Express had published story on June 16, 2009 along with this and other photos.

This shows that Chinese newspapers and websites are quite credulous on Internet "news" materials.





(Apple Daily

The Broadcast Authority held a mid-term hearing on the two free over-the-air television broadcast licenses to TVB and ATV yesterday.  The top leaders of the two broadcasters were present along with various organizations who are dissatisfied with the self-censorship being practiced at those two television stations.  Protestors raised banners and yelled loudly.  TVB general manager Stephen Chan was the favorite target as the situation almost spun about of control.

The hearing began at 7pm with more than 300 citizen participants including the League of Social Democrats and Momentum 107.  When the young DAB member Yeung Chun-wah said that the DAB also supported double universal suffrage and therefore the television stations should present the opinions of both sides, the protestors yelled aloud "Shameless!  Liar!"  The scene was beginning to get chaotic.

Stephen Chen became the target of everyone as many citizens addressed questions directly to him.  Why was it that when TVB sign up singers, they are forbidden to appear at other television stations?  Why is his interview with Gillian Chung on his paid television program being treated presented as news on TVB?  ATV vice-president H.Y. Kwong said that they are gathering information on the unfair competitive practices of TVB and will be filing a complaint to the Broadcasting Authority shortly.

As Stephen Chan responded, many protestors ignored the admonition of the organizers and surrounded him with placards in their hands while yelling aloud.  Stephen Chan said with a smile that TVB has never requested singers to do TVB series in return for awards and that the news reporting is completely decided by the news division itself.  After the hearing was over, the organizers arranged for a phalanx of security guards to escort Stephen Chan out.

On the left, four students from the Hui People's Elementary School in Beijing got their photograph taken together in 1970.  They wore the then fashionable green army jackets and held little red books in their hands.  Almost 40 years later in 2009, the four retired workers returned to Tiananmen to have their photograph taken again.  Tiananmen is one of the most important landmarks in the People's Republic of China.  Many Chinese people loved to have their photos taken there.  When these two photos which traverse time gets placed side by side, people seem to be able to see the two sides of time.  The different faces in different times in the same place show the different colorful lives during the growth of the republic.

There is no much substance in the accompanying stories.  First, there was the alert sent by the British security firm about possible Al Qaeda attacks.  Secondly, there was the warning from the North African branch of Al Qaeda about attacking Chinese citizens in places like Algeria.  Thirdly, there was a listing of popular Middle East tourist spots for Hong Kong people with the point being that this is the wrong season to go there because it is so hot.  Fourthly, more details were provided about the two Uighur killed and one wounded in Urumqi.  You can read more at The Urumqi Mass Incident - Part 3.

(Apple Daily)  More interesting is the story about the treatment of certain overseas reporters.  Reporter Hai Lan for the Cantonese division of Radio Free Asia was detained by the police last Friday in Urumqi while filming Uighurs being arrested.  Her digital camera storage card was confiscated and her computer and notebook was examined.  She had to spend the night in the detention center and told to stay in her hotel room the next day.  During that time, she was forbidden to have contact with her family and friends.  She was allowed to return to Hong Kong on Sunday.

Previously, an Apple Daily reporter arrived in the Urumqi airport on July 7 but was intercepted by Foreign Publicity Department workers and told to go back.  During the past week, at least five foreign reporters were detained by the authorities.  These were two Associated Press reporters, one South China Morning Post report, one Spanish newspaper reporter and one Japanese reporter.  These reporters attempted to interview Uighurs who were afraid of being arrested or attacked violently.  As of yesterday, the authorities are asking the reporter to re-register themselves.  Those without permits will be forbidden to gather news; those who are approved will be accompanied by official workers.

am730: Midnight street car racing; five hapless cars

Headline News: Police intercept car racing gang; citizens act as sandbags

Apple Daily: Police force citizens to put their cars and lives as roadblock

Ming Pao: Police intercept illegal car racing; stopped street cars to act as roadblocks

Oriental Daily: Human flesh road block to intercept speeding cars

(SCMP)  Human roadblock 'put public at risk'   By Clifford Lo and Albert Wong.  July 14, 2009.

Police used three taxis, a truck and a private car to form a roadblock on a Kwun Tong flyover in a bid to stop at least 14 illegal racing cars, causing a large pile-up early yesterday. The drivers were still in their vehicles when six of the racers ploughed into the roadblock just before 2am, leaving eight people injured. Five road racers were arrested.

After the crash, three of the racing cars damaged in the collision made U-turns and sped off into oncoming traffic before breaking down at Laguna City. But seven or eight other racing cars zigzagged through the road block or made U-turns to escape.

Legislator James To Kun-sun slammed the police, saying: "This was a total neglect of civilians' safety. They used civilians to create a human roadblock. "In everything the police do, civilians' safety should always be their priority. The officer at the scene cannot have thought of their safety before he acted like this. They shouldn't be creating a roadblock like this, even with police cars."

Police said they would review the operation and determine if changes should be made to procedures. A spokeswoman said they had stopped the road racers to prevent a "more serious traffic accident". Kwun Tong police last night were still looking for other road racers involved in the incident.

Early yesterday, police received several complaints about illegal racing in Cheung Sha Wan and Wong Tai Sin. One complainant said more than 20 cars were racing along Ching Cheung Road, Cheung Sha Wan, heading towards Wong Tai Sin.

Just before 2am, more than 10 speeding cars were seen coming out of the Tseung Kwan O Tunnel heading towards Kwun Tong. A police van was ordered to set up a roadblock at the Mong Kok-bound Kwun Tong Bypass near Kwun Tong Ferry Pier.

Mr To, who contacted three of the five drivers forced to join the blockade, said a policeman not wearing a reflective jacket had stopped them on the three-lane highway.

The truck driver, 26, said a police van had stopped in front of him and an officer had ordered him and the taxis to stop just before the cars crashed into them. "It's unreasonable that our vehicles were used as a cushion for the police," he said at the scene. "My vehicle is big. If it had been small it would have been crushed."

One of the taxi drivers, whose cab was damaged, was also angry, saying it was "unreasonable that our vehicles were used as sandbags".

The front wheel of one of the three cars that broke down after speeding away had fallen off. A policeman stopped its driver but he assaulted the officer and escaped on foot. An injured 24-year-old woman was in the car.

A policeman called to the scene was injured when he lost control of his motorcycle and fell on the Kwun Tong Bypass. The eight people injured - four road racers, a taxi driver, two policemen and the female passenger - were treated at Queen Elizabeth and United Christian hospitals.

(Oriental Daily)

(Ming Pao)

55-year-old taxi driver Kwok Ming-shing went through an experience that was like an episode in an action movie.  He did not forget the police for involving innocent citizens: "There was no reason to ask citizens to act as human sandbags!"

Kwok said that when he came down the Kwun Tong Bypass near Kwun Tong Pier, he saw a police vehicle with a blue light parked sideways in the middle of the road.  A truck and a taxi had been stopped in the slow and middle lanes respectively.  He was directed to go from the middle lane to the fast lane alongside the other two cars.  Another taxi and a private car came later and were also directed to park in the fast lane.  "I thought that there was an traffic accident up ahead, so I did not mind.  But I was curious why there was only one police officer without a reflective vest in charge."

"The police officer did not tell me anything.  I did not know what was happening.  About a minute later, I heard the sound of many cars coming over.  Then my car was rammed several times."  He said that he then saw many race cars bumped aside the taxi and the police vehicle in the slow lane and sped away.  Another wide car attempted to squeeze through the truck and the taxi and rammed right into the truck.  The whole sequence took only a few tens of seconds.  There was also the sound of cars braking in the back, and then those cars reversed themselves and sped off.

"I have been driver taxis for more than twenty years.  I have seen illegal car racing on Prince Margaret Road and Lung Cheung Road.  But I have never seen anything like the 20 cars today.  This is like a movie.  These people were going crazy and dashing around madly!"

But not all Hong Kong newspapers used this story on the front page.  Here are the alternate choices:

The Sun: Urumqi - Gun battle in the street

Sing Pao: Pretty young models charge into Book Fair; opponents say they are peddling flesh; supporters denounce hypocrisy

(The Standard)  Teen models face backlash   By Patsy Moy.  July 15, 2009.

Model agents and organizers of next week's book fair are on full alert amid a planned protest by netizens against the presence of teen models.

The weeklong Hong Kong Book Fair opens on July 22 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. About 40,000 netizens have so far signed up on the web supporting the campaign as they feel the presence of sexy teenage models promoting their books of photographs will distract serious booklovers.

The campaign was started by a netizen who wrote on social networking site Facebook: "We are against the book fair turning into a junk event. Teenage models, please get out."

Kim Chou, manager for top young model Angelababy, told The Standard that what worried her most was the motive and target of those who plan next week's protest. "We will be watching carefully when the book fair is launched. Of course, we will send more people down to the venue if we spot anything wrong," Chou said.

Another manager, Franky Tam, said: "We believe Hong Kong is a very safe city. But we will watch the situation carefully. So far, we still plan to let our models show up at the book fair and we will closely monitor the situation." Through the media, teenage models such as Angelababy, Chrissie Chau, Kama, Lavina and Rainbow have already beefed up the promotion for their books of photographs.

Form Seven student Isaac Cheung Chun-hoi will be organizing a silent protest outside the convention center. "Personally, I am not against the teenage models," Cheung said. "However, their appearance will very likely attract their fans who are also likely to create chaos. Unless the organizer can have better management ... the book fair is going to be a mess and will disturb genuine booklovers at the event."

One netizen identifying himself as Po Cheung wrote: "As many as 40,000 people have joined in. They simply want to send their message across, that is, those young models should not be in the book fair. What we are doing is for justice, please don't pass on any moral judgment." Another netizen, Hugo Leung, suggested inviting League of Social Democrats legislator "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung to join the campaign.

The Trade Development Council, which manages the convention center, said it is aware of the campaign. "We will make sure there is enough manpower to manage the [crowd]," a spokesman said.

I note that there is a group of people who never gets mentioned when they demonstrate en masse.  On one hand, when Hong Kong legislative councilor "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung and his April Fifth (4.5) Movement allies demonstrate, they will get media coverage even though their numbers are usually either four or five.  On the other hand, when thousands of people from this other group march in the streets, they get no mention.  Why not?  Because the media across the entire known political spectrum have collectively decided that this group has no news value one way or the other.  Hence, their name shall not be mentioned.

On Sunday, a friend visited me and said, "Oh, I got out of the subway station and I saw a big demonstration march.  There were banners calling for the heavens to destroy the Chinese Communist Party.  Traffic was all tied up."  Well, that group was marching once again.  On Monday, I checked all the online Hong Kong newspapers and, sure enough, nobody said anything about this.  So their name continued not to be mentioned.

Here is some information from the group's own newspaper:

Here is some translated text from the group's newspaper:

The assembly was held at the Cheung Sha Wan recreational center.  A big banner with the words "Oppression can only stop with the dissolution of the Chinese Communist Party" was displayed at the assembly area.  The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China chairman Szeto Wah gave a speech in which he expressed his great admiration for the persistence of the FLG practitioners and their fearless spirit for truth, kindness and tolerance.  "Not only did they refuse to blindly obey the evil theories of the Chinese Communists, but they had their own beliefs, unity, discipline and commitment to democracy, freedom, human rights and rule of law.  They are a powerful civic force, especially with their "three resignation" campaign (that is, resignation from the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese Communist Youth League and the Young Pioneers of China) which is critical and popular.  This campaign has the important effect of shaking up and dissolving the Chinese Communist Party, who is worried and scared.  Such is the naked display of the cowardice of the totalitarian dictators."

He continued to say: "I believe that all oppressed people to support each other.  All those who are fighting for freedom, democracy human rights and rule of law should band together to support the FLG.  I call on all good people and all those who oppose totalitarian dictatorship to support you.  I wish the FLG to expand, develop and contribute towards the end of one-party dictatorship and establish a democratic China.


Hong Kong legislative councilor Leung Kwok-hung said: "Although I do not hold any religious belief, there is no way that I won't support the FLG in its fight for freedom of belief.  I hope that the one-party rule of the Chinese Communist Party will end quickly.  All of us won't have to be so afraid then."

If you look at the photos, there are dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people out there.  It is definitely more than the four or five people in the April 5th movement.  This leads to the question as to why all the Hong Kong media are practicing self-censorship with respect to this group.  The so-called pro-Beijing media obviously do not want to give any mentions to a counter-revolutionary group unless there is a negative story such as a public disorder.  More interesting is the motive for the so-called "pro-democracy" media.  The speculation is that the group carries such negative connotations with the Hong Kong people in general that it is heavy negative baggage for the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China and the other individual speakers (such as Szeto Wah and Leung Kwok-hung).

In the July 12, 2009 issue of Ming Pao (Hong Kong), editor Lai Pui-fen wrote: "This has been a solemn week.  Although the recent news kept insisting that the situation in Xinjiang has stabilized, everybody knows that things are no longer the same ... In <Fresh flowers are better than wooden staves>, Gao Li spend all night to transform the wooden staves of the Han people in the Uighur area as shown in the news photo into fresh flowers.  The original display of terrorism was transformed into a sweet and wonderful wish."

A 360-degree presentation can be seen at Hey!Cookie (left click on the photo and hold down, then move around)

Time: July 4, 2009 evening
Place: Fuyikang Computer Store, Gongluanshe district, Wanjiang district, Guangzhou
Incident: Several men including one man who held a Guan Gong blade walked into the store and grabbed 7 computers in 55 seconds.

At 19:40:44, the robbers ended the store with one man holding a Guan Gong blade

At 19:40:49, the suspects began seizing computers

At 19:40:51, the three people turn around to leave



There were two surveillance cameras in the computer store, one towards the street entrance and the other one towards the back of the store.  At 19:39:50, a black sedan passed in front of the street.  Ten seconds later, the car reversed itself.  Five seconds later, three men got out of the car and pulled up the rolling gate that was half way down.  One man with his shirt opened held a one-meter-long Guan Gong blade in tin his hand and glared at the female store owner who was seated in the middle of the store.  She said, "I was scared to death.  I pretended that I was playing a computer game."  There was another customer at the time, and he also said nothing.  The two other men began to unplug the notebook computers on the counter and grabbed seven of them.  At 19:40:50, the three men left.  Ten seconds later, they jumped into the waiting car.  The entire episode lasted only 55 seconds!

According to the store owner, the seven computers were used model worth between 1,000 RMB and 1,900 RMB.  Therefore, the total loss was between 9,000 RMB and 12,000 RMB.  When he dashed out after the men, he saw the car license number.  But the police said that it might not be too useful, because the plate might be fake.

Progress report: Three suspects have been arrested and two more are fugitives

Netizen comments:
- (militia police case investigator): I was speechless after viewing the video.
- The guy with the Guan Gong blade was too "handsome" including a Buddha tummy!  I think Steven Chow should hire him as an extra for his new movie.  All those "Axe gang" and "Lord Hong" characters cannot match up to this one.
- The robbers have that look of antiquity.  But if they are so talented, what couldn't they might something better to do?

(Rose Luqui's blog)  Prejudices and mistakes.  July 12, 2009.

(in partial translation)

I have read several dozen western media reports (I have to thank the EastSouthWestNorth blogger for his meticulous aggregation)




It is clear that many of the articles exhibited prejudices.  For example, when Han people carried sticks, they are a "mob"; when Uighur people carried sticks, they are an "angry crowd."  The reader will not know that some Han people are doing this not for revenge but because they are scared and need to defend themselves.  Different media interviewed the same experts and end up with the same voices: the words from the Chinese government officials are characterized as "hardline" etc; Rebiya Kadeer is a "human rights advocate" etc; the deaths of innocent citizens are glossed over lightly etc.

But it must be acknowledged that certain western media have heard the true voices of the local people during their news gathering.  The New York Times report on the Henan migrant family losing their son made people keenly aware of the brutality of the rioters and the innocence and helplessness of ordinary citizens.  The focus was truly put on these vibrant lives and the voices of these ordinary citizens who only wanted some place where they can make a steady living.  Of course, this same article will appear to be biased to those readers who believe that the western media are biased because it is ultimately critical of the government's migration policies.


It may be the case that certain western media have pre-established positions.  But apart from prejudices, they may have different priorities on different values on different issues.  Is economic development more important, or cultural preservation more important?  Is engaging in society at large more important, or emphasizing unique ethnic identity more important?  So this leads to the following phenomenon.  The Chinese government thinks that economic development has been good to the local people whereas the western media see the other side.  That difference is not important.  What is important is how the people arrange those priorities and whether the government can satisfy the majority of the people.

When the western media make mistakes in their reporting, it is meaningless for the Chinese audience to boycott them.  Those media will not go out of business as a result.  It is better to be more pro-active.  If there is a mistake, you write to them and point it out.  If you have a different point of view, you write an essay to express that.  If you think that they are prejudiced and will not publish what you write, you can go to their website and publish that opinion.  Of course, you should not be just heaping abuse.  You should articulate your own viewpoint.  When many people do the same, the voices will be loud.  This is no longer a case of shutting your eyes and pretending that you can't see it.

On a matter such as the Urumqi riots, no media can give the truth to their readers.  They only have bits and pieces of facts.  What the reader can do is to combine the reports in various media and make a judgment for himself/herself ...